Honeychick Homestead

Homestead, Health, and Happiness

New Hive Start Up Cost

6 Comments

Recently, a blog subscriber asked me how much it cost to get started beekeeping. Thank you Anita for asking, and inspiring a blog post! Overall, the most expensive thing has been the equipment. The bees are relatively inexpensive.  Here’s a breakdown of what I spent to get my first hive started.

Bee Package $65

Start up equipment was $427, that purchase included

  • Two assembled eight frame, deep hive boxes
  • Sixteen assembled frames
  • Sixteen pieces of wax foundation
  • One bottom board
  • One inner cover
  • One hive cover
  • One hive tool
  • One hive brush
  • One entrance feeder
  • One smoker
  • Two jackets with hoods
  • Two sets of gloves

There are a couple things you can do to cut start up costs. Unassembled boxes, and frames are less expensive. The day I went to purchase my supplies at Mountain Feed only assembled boxes were available. Plastic foundation is less expensive than real wax foundation. The bee guild president recommended starting with wax foundation because it’s natural and easier for the new bees to build out comb. Bees from a package have a low immune system, and wax foundation is better for them.

You can sometimes find used jackets and hoods from local bee guilds. The bee keepers guild doesn’t recommend buying used hive equipment unless you know the seller, and their bee keeping practices. Equipment can have foul brood disease, that would spread to your bees. The only way to get rid of foul brood is to burn the boxes!

Since I decided to have a second hive, I ended up spending more money on bees! Here’s what I spent for the second hive, it was significantly less than the first hive.

Bee Nuc $165

A nuc is more expensive than a package because it’s a small version of a hive. It takes the seller a lot more work to develop a nuc.

Equipment for second hive was $174, that purchase included

  • Two unassembled eight frame, deep hive boxes
  • Sixteen assembled frames
  • Sixteen pieces of plastic foundation
  • One inner cover
  • One hive cover
  • One hive tool

As you can see, the equipment was much less expensive. I’ve also spent about $100 on 50 pounds of organic, white sugar, and $25 on a top feeder.  I stocked up on sugar because bees can eat a quart of sugar syrup a day!

It’s important to keep extra boxes, and frames on hand. The bees build fast, and you may need to add more space in a moments notice. Another thing I learned, is to use a different hive tool and brush for each hive. This keeps you from spreading mites, or any disease between the hives.

I chose to start two hives because it’s difficult for a new hive to make it through the winter. This is why it’s important to get bees in early spring so they have plenty of time to forage for pollen and nectar before fall arrives. The nectar flow in my area was short this year because of the drought so I’ll be feeding my bees until fall, and will probably need to feed them in the winter.

If you don’t have a local store to purchase bee keeping supplies you can buy items from Brushy Mountain or Mann Lake.

Overall, I think the start up costs are reasonable. I personally think bees are easier than chickens. I look forward to having chickens, but I have to say, the bees have been a fascinating experience!


Was this post helpful? Hopefully it’s inspired you to take the plunge into the world of beekeeping!

Author: Jen @ Honeychick Homestead

Honeychick Homestead is about more than urban homesteading. Here you'll find a mix of diverse topics, about health, real food, Lyme Disease, and my newest adventure, urban homesteading!

6 thoughts on “New Hive Start Up Cost

  1. Thanks Jen! This is very helpful. Now we can think about budgeting for bees next year.

  2. Jen, thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience as they grow!! So helpful for those of us whom share your passion but don’t know how, where, when to start! I’d like to hear more about endangered chickens! This is news to me… 😉

  3. Yes, initially it can be a bit pricy. But we were able to economize in that, through our local association, we got our first colony of bees for free and got a flat-packed hive which the association helped us put together (flat-packed much less expensive then a hive all set up). I can’t stress enough the importance of belonging to a local association!

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