Sensible purchase of equipment

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BoStor 

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Have my 1st colony on 2 BBs down for the Winter and want to order equipment for an additional planned 2nd colony or enough for possible unplanned 3rd colony for next year.
Would it be sensible to get enough for 2 hives (1 new) each of 2 BBs, 4 Supers, frames/ foundations etc for the planned 2 colony apiary?
For the unplanned/ possible 3rd hive, do I need to get another complete hive as above or would a 5 frame Nuc be sufficient?
Thanks in advance
 

ericbeaumont 

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For the unplanned/ possible
You may have one or two or three next year but a good season, swarm control, bee-fever and misssion-creep (the unplanned/possible) is likely to find you short of kit in June.

Yes, buy well in advance of need rather than run around online in season, when suppliers may have less stock and longer supply times. Consider buying boxes in 10s, frames in 100s, more than several poly nucs, and a bigger shed.

Cost can be recouped next year (maybe not the shed) from selling your honey at a proper price.
 
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pargyle 

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Buy what you can afford ... certainly if you are going to be a two hive apiary next year you are going to need enough brood boxes for three hives and a nuc or two if you can manage it. You are not going to get massive savings on those quantities but you can save a few quid by buying in the sales or watching out for seconds.

If you are running double brood you will need extra brood boxes but you could make up some extra timber floors and roofs and have those as spares as well - you may not need all double brood until later in the season and making floors and roofs can give you more options. Supers ... in a good year you will never have enough ... but you can extract and put them back on if you run short. It looks from your avatar as though you have poly hives which are quite bulky to store so there comes a limit as to what kit you can accommodate with the storage space you have available,

The only thing you can be certain of is - you will need more kit.
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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Too many - but not nearly enough
Always buy your frames in packs of 50 second quality, the savings are substantial and you won't often find any 'rejects' in the pack and you will never get to the point when you have got too many
 

Wilco 

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If you can't justify extra supers then have extra frames so at the very least you can swap them out.

As said above, always have extra kit. Work out your ideal plan then buy more kit than you need for that plan. It is better to fall short and have spare than need kit and be unable to get it.
 

Newbeeneil 

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As above, have a plan and buy more than you need for that plan.
Buy seconds in the winter sales as they are very good quality and the bees won't notice the difference.
Good luck. (From someone who went from 2 hives in his first season to 7 in his second and 17 in his third!!!)
 

Boston Bees 

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Have my 1st colony on 2 BBs down for the Winter and want to order equipment for an additional planned 2nd colony or enough for possible unplanned 3rd colony for next year.
Would it be sensible to get enough for 2 hives (1 new) each of 2 BBs, 4 Supers, frames/ foundations etc for the planned 2 colony apiary?
For the unplanned/ possible 3rd hive, do I need to get another complete hive as above or would a 5 frame Nuc be sufficient?
Thanks in advance
If I could go back in time and put myself in your position, I would just buy brood boxes and brood frames (i.e. use brood boxes for supers). Just having one frame size is a lot easier. But that's just me.
 

pete_allotments 

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If I could go back in time and put myself in your position, I would just buy brood boxes and brood frames (i.e. use brood boxes for supers). Just having one frame size is a lot easier. But that's just me.
Would you consider only using supers, and using a double super as a "brood area"?
Is a full brood box heavy to lift?
I'm expanding my hive count and interested in your comments on this method
 

Boston Bees 

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Is a full brood box heavy to lift?
Yes, it can be if full of honey, though you can take frames out individually of course.

Would you consider only using supers, and using a double super as a "brood area"?
Personally, no, just too many boxes, and thus too many frames to inspect, and too many gaps between boxes for the bees to cross, etc etc. Also, it makes giving/selling nucs difficult (no-one wants a nuc on super frames) and buying nucs impossible (none available on super frames) But on the other hand I have heard it has been done, and can work well, so horses for courses!
 

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Thornes usually have a good sale after Christmas. If you sign up for their newsletter, they will email you when it is imminent. Be aware that they sell out of some sale items really quickly so it is best to have your list ready. If you can't afford enough supers, buy lots of frames. You can always knock up super boxes from off cuts or bits of plywood. The bees don't mind if they are badly made, so long as they hold the super frames in place. You can replace them with proper ones as funds allow. I still use my warped ply ones as spacers if I need to feed a colony or unite colonies now that I no longer use them as supers.
 

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... If you can't afford enough supers, buy lots of frames. You can always knock up super boxes from off cuts or bits of plywood. The bees don't mind if they are badly made, so long as they hold the super frames in place. You can replace them with proper ones as funds allow. I still use my warped ply ones as spacers if I need to feed a colony or unite colonies now that I no longer use them as supers.
This is also what I have done, the number one goal for a new beekeeper ( or any beekeeper) is drawn frames.
 

Arfermo 

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Would you consider only using supers, and using a double super as a "brood area"?
Is a full brood box heavy to lift?
I'm expanding my hive count and interested in your comments on this method
Bad idea. Try and you soon see.
 

BoStor 

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Great and mostly consistent advice so thanks all for taking the time to share your good experiences.
 

ericbeaumont 

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Bad idea.
I don't disagree with you, Arfermo, but would like to hear your reasons.

A hive can be any format of boxes and is really only a hollow tree sliced for the convenience of the beekeeper (though because it's thin-walled, not for the convenience of bees).
 

0bee-1 

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Thorne's ... Winter Sale: starting from 27th December online and 4th December by phone
am sure other sales will be available ;)

cut n paste via email today
 

masterBK 

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Usually lots of second hand equipment around for sale every year (with usual warning about buying secondhand in terms of disease). Lots of beginners losing their bees over winter often give up and sell up in spring. Many beekeepers don't start beekeeping until after retirement and some get too infirm (even die) to carry on after a few years leaving their non beekeeping spouse with the job of sorting it all out. In one association I know they have a"widows comforter" who helps them out by taking everything away for a pittance and then sells it all on for big profit!! Same person charges hefty sum to householders to remove swarms and sells swarm on for another hefty sum to beginners within days.
 

Arfermo 

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I don't disagree with you, Arfermo, but would like to hear your reasons.

A hive can be any format of boxes and is really only a hollow tree sliced for the convenience of the beekeeper (though because it's thin-walled, not for the convenience of bees).
Too many reasons to enumerate them. Best try and see if it is a good idea. And then be willing to think again if what I expect happens and revert to traditional practices going back donkeys years.
 

Mabee 

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Too many reasons to enumerate them. Best try and see if it is a good idea. And then be willing to think again if what I expect happens and revert to traditional practices going back donkeys years.
well I for one am intrigued… just a quick list?
 

PeaBee 

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Too many reasons to enumerate them. Best try and see if it is a good idea. And then be willing to think again if what I expect happens and revert to traditional practices going back donkeys years.
Never tried only supers myself but know there is a commercial outfit in Lincolnshire running a shallow only system,seemingly successfully and profitably
 

W0otz 

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Never tried only supers myself but know there is a commercial outfit in Lincolnshire running a shallow only system,seemingly successfully and profitably
I wonder if a "double shallow" frame size would work. Would be in between national and 14x12 brood frame size.
Only have to buy 1 size box, but number of frames to inspect would be like running a regular brood+supers setup. Only thing I'm not sure of is how much of a mess the bees would make in the frame rails space between the 2 shallows used as a brood box.
 
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