19 thoughts on “Approximate Beekeeping Start-up Costs in Newfoundland

  1. Man oh man. I just placed my order from beemaidbeestore.com for everything I’ll need for the next year, and brother, it ain’t cheap. The items came to just over $300, but the shipping was $200, and that doesn’t include taxes. I was checking out the same items in other stores, and even with the shipping costs, the price I’m getting from Beemaid is still the best I can find.

    After this, I need to find a way to build my own supers.

    In most other provinces in Canada, I could drive to a beekeeping supply store. Not in Newfoundland.

    I can see regular non-rich people having a hive or two in Newfoundland as a hobby, but to expand beyond that, it’s not cheap. It’s still not cheap to get everything you need for two full hives, but man… we need a supplier in Newfoundland, or at least someone who can mass produce supers.

  2. I was thinking about looking at the supers construction business. I’m in talks with a local saw mill to get raw material to make standard and medium supers out of fir. Local spruce is in abundance, but spruce twists. Fir on the other hand does not. Another option to fir would be happs wood.

    I think getting into jigs for frames could be expensive but making the supers is something that can be done locally.

    My order arrived yesterday $486 including shipping. Shipping was $156.
    The guts of the order was 100 standard frames, 100 foundation and 100 shallow super frames. In total there was 5 boxes. I forgot to order the nails.

    I have come across a plan for rabbit jointing supers. I may look into that for myself for next year. Also I have an order placed for the metal sheeting for the outside covers. Looking at 100 roll. By all accounts a roll is 3′ wide and assuming 2′ long per top I should be able to get close to 100 covers.

    I’ll keep you posted on how everything works out.

    So I guess I’d be looking at covers, supers and bottom boards.

  3. Cutting frames to size looks like intricate work. They’re not too expensive to order. So skipping the frames seems right. It’s weight of the wood for the supers. That’s the killer. If I could purchase hive pieces locally around the same price Beemaid sells them, beekeeping in Newfoundland would be much more affordable.

    I don’t have a clue about carpentry, and I don’t know anyone who cuts wood. So, yeah, I’d be interested to see how it works out for you. If you can produce them to sell, I’ll be your first customer.

    Later this fall, I’ll post some info on all the money I spent on beekeeping this year.

    I have a friend who wants to get into beekeeping after seeing my set up, but I don’t think he cares about the bees. He seems more attracted to the idea of getting something for free (honey) than anything else, and making money from it. That might not be the right reason to get into beekeeping. People should realize how much goes into it, the money, the time, the effort, especially during the first year when the colonies are establishing themselves. It’s not just a matter of throwing the bees in a box and forgetting about it. That may be the case for some beekeepers in warmer climates like California, or even Ontario for that matter. But I think Newfoundland is a different ball game. It’s harder to keep bees in a cold, wet climate like this. It has to be. And the total lack of beekeeping supplies on the island doesn’t make it cheap.

    I’d like to see more people get into beekeeping on the island, but for the right reasons and with full knowledge of what it means.

    How’s that for a rant?

  4. I’ll keep you in the loop regarding the supers.

    I have a friend out here that all he sees is dollar signs and not the work that goes into it. Once he realizes the work that goes into to keep the bees alive, let alone overwinter. His tune will change. The same as your friend.

    I have a plastic shelter out in the woods where I store things. Anyway over the last 2 days I have taken about 50 bees that have flown in there and brought them back to the base on the hive.

    They way I look at it I wanted them so I have to take care of them to ensure they survive. The same as you would a pet.

  5. Once he realizes the work that goes into to keep the bees alive, let alone overwinter. His tune will change.

    I’m kind of annoyed by that attitude, people looking at beekeeping like it’s easy money. If I have more honey than I can handle and I can sell it, it would still take me years and years to break even.

    I like beekeeping because it feels right. When I get my first harvest of honey, it’ll be fantastic. But that’s only part of the reward. Hanging out with the bees, that’s where it’s at.

    I have a plastic shelter out in the woods where I store things. Anyway over the last 2 days I have taken about 50 bees that have flown in there and brought them back to the base on the hive.

    That’s interesting. I wonder if that means they need to expand. Though that doesn’t make sense if you still have an empty frame.

    But having to fetch the bees and bring them back — that’s a good example of the kind of thing you have to keep an eye our for. It’s probably not as bad once you have several established hives, but at this point in the game, if anything went wrong with the bees, it’d be devastating.

  6. I think I know the problem as I have only started noticing it the last week or so. Now that the nectar is drying up and the bees have a very sensitive nose I think they are smelling the frame that is in there with pulled comb. That is what is drawing it in. I bet if I move the frame indoors the problem will go away, or drastically reduce.

    As for the bees I enjoy going out with a beer, while sitting in the bench next to the hive and watch them come anf go. Especially when bumble bees and wasps try to get in.

    I need to make a couple boarman feeders. I’ll have to get at that Wednesday night. My wife has meat the teacher tonight so I’m daddy day care all night. Which is cool too.

  7. Hi Phillip. I wanted to post a thank you for the information you’ve collected up here on the site. I don’t have bees…yet. I am looking at setting up my first hives this summer once I can buy the local nucs. I really got alot of information here. You’re right, the distance and lack of bee keeping (farming in general) makes things hard to get into dollar wise. Thanks for the details on your first order, it really will save me an incredable amount of time. I like the fact you’re doing this because it gives us newbies a realistic idea of costs and weather related care.
    Thanks-i will beeeee in touch : )

  8. No problem, Jennifer. I did another cost breakdown after this post, but a rough record of all the money we’ve spent can be found under the Costs category too. I hope you get your bees.

  9. Hi Jeff, i have only been checking into this idea very recently. I had thought of it in the past but never really looked into it seriously. I have a farm and clover fields for my grazing animals. I have only begun to check into this possibility. I don’t see any real downside to adding bees to my farm, as long as i place them correctly away from the animals/barn area for their peace/animals peace etc. I may find as i further research them that it may not be a good addition to my farm, but right now i am investigating. How many hives do you have? How long have you been keeping bees? Do you build your own supers and buy the frames?I D
    Take Care.

  10. Started last year. The same as Phil. I only have one hive now but by the end of this year I will have 4 – 6 hives, depending on circumstances.

    Keep in mind if you have red clover fields that is not much ue to honey bees as their probiscus is not long enough to reach in and get the nectar. On the second cut of the red clover the flowers are a little smaller and they can utilize it a bit better then. So I have been told.

    Either way the bees are fun. I will be building all my wooden ware except for the frames. Which I have ordered. That being said the only real saving are on the shipping portion as the rough pine lumber to buy locally is ~2.75/board foot.

    I have 10 acres that I will start clearing this spring. Initially some will be used just as a bee yard and moving hives around.

    Good luck and have fun.

  11. Jeff, that sounds exciting! I did some land clearing the past two years and it feels so good to stand in the middle of a pasture you’ve accomplished. Are you thinking of berries,pasture,hay for your acerage? How long did it take you to feel ‘comfortable’handling the bees? I expect it will be a very unnatural feeling at first.Everyone says the bees are peaceful and it’s a very peaceful experience to be around the hives.
    My field has alot of white clovers.Plus there’s tons of trees and wildflowers and raspberry bushes in this area. Congradulations on the land clearing project and going from 1 to 4-6 hives in just one year. Have you tasted your own honey yet? I’ll bet its delicious!
    I havent priced the rough pine here yet. Have any trouble with bears/mice? I think i’m going to run a few strands of portable electric fence around the apiary area because i’m in a wooded area and bears are around. What has been the best part for you starting this beekeeping project?

  12. Best part beekeeping was in last August last year. It was a hot day in Clarenville, that night was the low 20’s. Abuot 60 feet from the hive I could strongly identify this sweet sickly smell of nectar being evaporated. It was amazing. I could not imagine that we 40 – 50 mature hives on what it would smell like.

    White clover (Duranna clover) is really good for honeybees.

    I am considering putting in a Orchard/pumpkin patch. Fist will be clearing the land followed by planting clover and vetch. I am talking with some nursaries in Ontario regarding apple trees suitable for newfoundland and I have already had great success with sweet cherries (minus the moose issues).

    I just finished eating my last carrots from the garden last week and I gave close to half away.

    The electric fence is a good idea. The people on the west coast that sells the nucs have electic fences around there hives due to bear issues.

    As for handling the bees I dove right in. All I would use was the hood, no gloves, no coveralls. It worked great all summer until the derth kicked in. Then the bees became defensive. So I started wearing gloves again.

    Coming the spring I will go back to not wearing gloves.

    Keep us posted.

  13. Jeff’s my hero. I want to go live with Jeff. My urban beekeeping is a different ball game. I have a field on our property with room for loads of hives, but the criminal element in my neighbourhood would have the hives destroyed in a week. I hope to expand or move out of the city eventually.

    I didn’t try that no-gloves trick, but I might this summer once I see how the bees are behaving. — If they survive this crazy weather we’re having. It was -20°C yesterday. Now we have high winds, freezing rain and the temperature going up to 6°C, and then snow on top of all that tonight.

  14. ware do you get all your supplies im looking for a bunch of fundations and more supplies the nerist supplier is green witch ny i wont to buy in bulk

  15. I probably won’t place an order until May. I can’t remember what I need to get, but I know there are a few things I could use once bees get really active.

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