Building Your Own Hives or Buying a Kit?

Today we built the last five hive bodies: five medium supers (cf. building the hive boxes and building the frames). I just need to assemble the frames and they’ll go onto the hives and collect honey. Finally, after two dry years, I will have honey, because the bee season and the honey flow so far have been amazing. So, time to see if the decision to build the boxes and to assemble the frames ourselves was a good one. Of course I made the calculation before, but there are always surprises to be reckoned in afterward.

Each of my two hives has:

  1. screened bottom board: I had these lying around ($0)
  2. two deeps, built from two 1×12-8 common pine boards ($30)
  3. 20 wooden frames, bought from  my local bee supplier, unassembled ($22)
  4. 20 sheets with Duragilt foundation brought from my local bee supplier  ($28)
  5. two medium supers, built from two 1×8-8 common pine boards ($20)
  6. 20 wooden frames, bought unassembled from my local bee supplier  ($22)
  7. 20 Plasticell (plastic and beeswax coating) foundation – unavailable from  my local bee supplier so got it online, so add shipping ($28)
  8. one  inner cover: bought this from my local bee supplier ($12)
  9. one telescoping outer cover: bought this from my local bee supplier ($25)
  10. 2 boxes of 6d 2″ nails ($9)
  11. gallon of exterior paint (not counting this because the kit I am comparing this to come unpainted)
> That makes for $196 total

A similar kit from the local bee supplier (Dadant’s kits, for instance, would be cheaper, but the shipping kills the deal) costs $280.

In the end we saved more than $84 * 2, because we put together some extra boxes and frames, and the bulk-buy of planks, frames and foundation cut the price even more.

Of course this doesn’t reckon the hours DH and I put in, together figuring out box joints and having fun hammering away, but those are priceless anyway. As for the cost of electricity to run the saws and of gasoline to drive to the shops to buy the planks, etc, I doubt they amount to $84. On the whole , I reckon this was a successful venture. I’m happy they’re done, though, and hope they will last many, many years.

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