Building a backyard apiary that won’t break the bank!
This page has been recently updated with items from amazon due to price and “Prime Shipping”. If you don’t already have an amazon prime account, you should seriously consider it. Click here to learn more!
This page contains all the different equipment and estimated costs to buy or make each pieces. Along with links to other posts and pages that go into more detail on how to make each piece. I’ve made a handy spreadsheet with quick access to everything here at the top, and below you can see more details.
A home for your bees:
- Hive Body: Using 3 10 foot 2×8 boards and a table saw you can build 5
deepmedium boxes! I recently switched to all mediums, because it is easier to keep track of and cheaper. Plus, they are lighter to move around when they are full of bees and honey. You’ll need 3 medium boxes for the hive body as opposed to 2 deep boxes. I don’t use finger joints, I use pocket holes so they are a lot easier and faster to make. Here are the videos I used to get my plans: (costs = around $30)
- Bottom Board: A few 8 foot 2×4’s and some 1/8″ hardware cloth and you’ll have enough screened bottom boards for 6 hives. (costs = around $25 with enough hard ware cloth left over for all your future needs!) See Video
- Outer Cover: If you’re really cheap and its summer you can use campaign signs cut to size (costs = Free!!!)
Or for a more permanent cover you’ll need 1 sheet of 3/4″ plywood and some left over pieces from your hive body work to make a telescoping outer cover (costs = around $40) Ouch! We need to come up with a cheaper alternative here!
- Inner Cover: Who needs them? But if you want one you can use a campaign sign and left over pieces from your hive body cuts (costs = Free!!!)
- Nuc Hive 1 sheet of 15/32″ plywood will make you 4 nice 5-frame nucs! Instructions here! These are deeps, I’m working on plans for a double-stack medium nuc, but you can put medium frames in them, you just might have some comb built off the bottom of those frames you have to trim off when you move them to hive. (costs = $11)
- Frames: I used to buy from Mann Lake, but have since switched to buying from Amazon for their prime shipping. It is still from Mann Lake, but fulfilled by Amazon. I do all mediums to make things easier! 100 pack of Mann Lake FR812 100-Pack Unassembled Grooved Top and Bottom Endbars without Holes, 6-1/4-Inch will run you around $120.
- Foundation: We don’t necessarily need foundation! Going foundation-less is more work and it can be daunting for a new beekeeper. However, its a lot cheaper and some believe its better on the bees for mite control, though this isn’t proven. I bought 10 sheets to cut into starter strips to give my bees a straight start on their foundation-less frames.
So for around $220 you have enough equipment to for 5 medium hives boxes, 4 nucs, an extra bottom board and lots of #8 hardware cloth which comes in handy for most bee projects. If its fairly warm out you can hold off on the 3/4″ outer covers until later and that will drop your cost down by $40. You could probably paint up one of the hives and or a couple of the nucs and sell them on craigslist and recoup a big portion of your money!!!
Top Bar Hive: (Coming Soon)
Protection and tools:
- Bee Smoker for Beekeeping – Heavy Duty Stainless Steel with Metal Heat Shield and Metal Hook another item we have to give in a buy. This is a steal at this price and prime shipping! (costs = $16)
- New Professional White Medium / Large Beekeeping / Bee Keeping Suit, Jacket, Pull Over, Smock with a Veil by VIVO (BEE-V105) Buy this as well. You can probably make one, but not for much less than what you’ll buy one for. This is a steal at $19! Comes with a veil and long-sleeve smock (cost $19)
- Goatskin Protective Gloves for Beekeeper with Vented Sleeves LargeThese aren’t too expensive and are nice to have. You don’t always have to wear them, but when you need them you’ll be glad to have them! (cost $12)
- KINGLAKE Steel Hive Tool: If you’ve got a nice putty knife you can use that, if not they’re cheap (costs = $8)
- Lemongrass Oil, 1 fl oz You’ll need this to catch your bees later on. It seems a little expensive for 1 oz, but It’s a lot cheaper than buying a box of bees by the lb! (cost $6)