Getting started with bees is not exactly cheap, but when I see the expected boost in garden production and start getting good honey and wax harvests, I hope to be happy with the return. I can also add more hives for around $250 without needing a new beesuit and hive working tools. Half of the initial expense is in one time purchases for keepers of 1 or 1000 hives.
The pic above is all of the gear for one hive. The location is slightly hilly, so I have it propped up on a semi-level pallet. There is a slight slope to the back side of the hive.
The bottom plate is set on a raised base. The base must be raised to keep ground bugs out of the hive. You will still have some bugs to worry about, but many, many more if you keep it on the floor. I usually do not confuse floor and ground, but that kind of rhymed.
The brood box is what houses the queen bee and the eggs she lays. It stores the honey for the colony over the winter and it is where the colony spends their winter. In this location, I will use two deep boxes for the brood over the winter and two medium boxes for them to store extra honey for me. Each of the bee boxes I use contain 10 frames, but another common size is 8 frames, which would be better suited for people like me with a bad back. I am incredibly stubborn, so I will go with bigger is better and snag more honey!
The pic above shows both deep boxes in place for the main brood along with a queen excluder going into place. The excluder will allow the smaller worker bees to get through to store honey in MY boxes, but the queen cannot fit through and will not be able to lay eggs in my honey supply.
The feeder box is going on top of the excluder. It lets bees come up the middle and drink sugar water from the tanks on either side. There is a raft that floats on top of the sugar water to prevent drownings, but some bees will always drown. This is why I am keeping the queen out of the feeder.
A few weeks after the nectar flows and the bees no longer require special feeding, the feeder box can be replaced by the two medium supers (above the excluder screen).
An inner cover is used to make a good air seal, but to still allow airflow through the hive. It also provides something called beespace, which is the comfortable space for a bee… Smaller gaps entice the bees to fill in the crack, larger gaps will entice bees to build comb between the walls of the space. Either of these will make it more difficult to remove frames for inspection.
The telescoping or outer cover is in place and this hive is ready for bees in the next 2-3 weeks.
The beehive is on that weird angle on the pallet because this helps aim the bees towards my garden areas and away from my sidewalk or front door.