Min menu


How Much Does It Cost To Start Beekeeping? (Updated for 2022)


According to a Fortune report, lumber costs have increased dramatically since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak and have been changing ever since. What does this have to do with beekeeping costs? Beginning beekeeping expenses include a substantial amount of hive components, sometimes known as woodenware.

We try to keep the information here up to date when other expenses rise across the board.

A crucial action step in our essay on how to start beekeeping is choosing a budget.

For the first year, the cost of starting beekeeping with one hive is about $760. A hive's worth of parts costs roughly $270. A bee bundle costs about $175. Protective equipment and basic tools cost $165, while supplies and sales taxes cost about $150.

These figures are based on a study of many large online beekeeping sites, and they do not include shipping charges or other expenditures specific to your position and area. You may be able to save money by shopping around. However, depending on the decisions you make, your expenses may be greater.

On the positive side, many of your early investments will pay off over time.

In this post, we'll go through the costs of getting started with beekeeping and the many decisions you'll have to make that will affect your first-year spending.

The Cost To Start Beekeeping Is Affected By Cost Estimator Variables

The following factors will influence your overall cost to start beekeeping:

  • What is the total number of beekeepers involved?
  • What type of hive setup do you intend to use?
  • How many colonies do you intend to start with?
  • What kind of bee bundle do you intend to purchase?
  • What will be the location of your hives?
  • Do the hives need animal protection?

The calculator's unit prices represent moderately priced items from reliable vendors. Because they aren't always the lowest or most costly alternatives, your real expenses may differ. However, you'll have a solid idea of where to start shopping.

How many beekeepers are there?

Clothing to Keep You Safe

The cost of protective apparel is mostly determined by the number of beekeepers.

We started out as a couple, so we needed two coats and two pairs of gloves. Are you in a relationship? Is there a family? I'd make certain that everyone who is going to be actively involved in beekeeping has their own equipment.

On YouTube, you may observe a number of competent beekeepers who aren't wearing any protective gear. As a newbie, I suggest erring on the side of caution until you feel more at ease with the bees.

The following items are included in protective gear:

  • A complete bee suit or a bee jacket is available.
  • A veil to keep your face and eyes safe (if not incorporated into your suit)
  • Gloves

See this article: Do Honey Bees Sting? for more information. For additional information on how to prevent bee stings, see Yes, They Do (What You Should Know).

Your expenses are influenced by the amount of protection you choose and the design of the goods. Our pricing estimates are based on "budget" goods, but you may upgrade to more costly things like vented suits and jackets.

The cost of protective equipment varies greatly, but we estimate that it will cost between $90 and $120 per person to begin beekeeping.

The Mann Lake Economy Jacket (pictured below) has been a terrific deal and has served us well for years. Consider the Ultra Breeze ventilated line for the hot summer months.

I'm going to presume that although there will be many of you surrounding the hives, only one of you will be working the bees at any one moment. One set of tools (smoker, hive tool, etc.) should be enough in such a situation. Because they are low-priced goods, adding a few more won't have a major influence on your final cost.

If you plan on giving non-beekeepers a close look at your hives, you should provide them with some protective clothes as well. At the very least, give a veil.

With Veil, Ultra Breeze Beekeeping Jacket

Ultra Breeze Beekeeping Suit With Veil is available on Amazon.

It's available on Amazon in the category of Beekeeping Tools.

Beginning beekeepers should have the following "must-have" tools:

  • A bee smoker (about $30)
  • A hive tool ($8) is a useful tool for beekeepers.
  • Brush for bees ($5)

Even with several beekeepers, one set of tools should be enough to get started. Extra hive tools, on the other hand, are an excellent idea since they are simple to lose and will have a little influence on your first beekeeping costs.

See our articles on bee smokers and hive equipment for additional information. Also, have a look at our list of "must-have" and "nice-to-have" tools.

Configuration of Beehives

For beginners, we suggest the Langstroth hive. In North America, Langstroth hives are the most widely utilized hives.

Langstroth hives are made up of identically sized boxes stacked vertically. Honey bees use frames and foundation to construct wax comb in each box.

Langstroth boxes are divided into three sizes based on the number of frames they can contain (5, 8, or 10) and depth (deep, medium, or shallow). Deep boxes are frequently referred to as brood boxes, whereas medium boxes are referred to as honey supers.

Our cost estimate is based on a 10-frame box hive layout that is very common:

  • The bottom board serves as the foundation (with an entrance reducer)
  • There are two deep brood boxes.
  • There are two honey supers
  • Covers on the inside and outside
  • With foundation, each package has ten frames.

Commercial, choice, economy, and budget quality categories are used to sell Hive components. We've discovered that inexpensive crates from trusted providers are more than enough.

Assembled and unassembled boxes and frames are available. Boxes that have been assembled may be painted or left unpainted.

Components that have not been assembled are less costly. Fully completed and painted kits, on the other hand, may be more cost-efficient for a beginning beekeeper searching for a whole hive.

What is the number of colonies and the format?

Many newcomers begin with only one colony. If everything goes according to plan and nothing goes wrong that is beyond your control, you may never need to purchase another bee. Don't put your money on it.

Things happen, and you may lose a colony for a variety of reasons. If it's within your means, we suggest beginning with two colonies to maximize your chances of not having to start over totally in your second year. However, we recognize that this will have a big influence on the expense of beginning beekeeping, so be sure you can afford it.

You may purchase bees in two different ways:

  • Package bees are tiny packages of bees with a caged queen that weighs around 3 pounds. (She's in a cage while the colony adjusts to her presence.) Shortly after you get your package bees, they are all moved to your hive in bulk.
  • A bee nuc, also known as a nucleus colony, is a tiny colony that has already begun to grow. A nuc is a little hive that typically consists of 5 frames and includes a queen, bees, nectar, comb, and other items. Because nucs contain the frames, they are more costly than packages and take more time and work to make. Get a local nuc of overwintered bees if they're accessible and reasonable. This might help to strengthen your gene pool and raise the colony's chances of surviving the winter.

Packages for bees

Our first nuc is being installed.

The cheapest choice is bee packets, while the most costly one is overwintered nucs. Here's a look at some of the most recent online vendor pricing. Depending on the source and the time of year, prices and availability vary significantly.

What Does it Cost to Keep Bees?

A bee bundle costs around $175 on average. Spring nucs cost about $200, whereas overwintered nucs cost around $250. Prices vary greatly depending on where you live and whether you pick up or send your bees.

Treatments for Varroa Mites

You'll have to deal with Varroa destructor mites, which are a severe honey bee pest that may wipe out your colony. You'll have to determine how to handle this when you learn more.

When the time comes, you may employ a number of treatments to reduce the Varroa population in your colony. Mite Away Quick Strips and Oxalic Acid are two examples of such products that you'll need to purchase. Some treatments need the use of additional equipment. Expect to pay that in your first year and every year after that.

The yearly cost of treatment for Varroa (and maybe additional pests like tiny hive beetles) is estimated to be $25 per hive. This is a yearly cost that should be weighed against the cost of relocating a colony that has been lost.

If you choose to treat with vaporized oxalic acid, this expense might be much greater in your first year. A vaporizer may cost anywhere from $50 to over $500. Furthermore, vaporizer safety necessitates the use of a face mask intended to prevent vapor inhalation.

For more information on varroa mites, see our articles Varroa Mites: A Complete Treatment Guide and What Is Treatment-Free Beekeeping? (A Controversial Topic).

Costs of Miscellaneous Items

Miscellaneous charges of $75 are included in our launch cost estimate. This is an approximate estimate for a variety of products that are fairly ubiquitous, such as:

There are a variety of extra charges that vary greatly based on your location and circumstances.


When you're searching for your first beekeeping supplies, images of spring and summer come to mind. Winter is a huge concern in the Hudson Valley of New York, where we dwell. Winterizing your bees is a crucial aspect of beekeeping.

In places like ours, it's critical to take precautions to ensure that your bees survive the winter. To reduce the amount of wind that enters the hive, some beekeepers simply cover the hives with tar paper. We take it a step further.

We lay a screened board with sugar bricks (as an additional food supply) and burlap to collect moisture just beneath the inner cover. We added some more insulation above the inner cover. We also use a Bee Cozy, as shown here at Nod Apiary Products, to cover our hives. In fact, none of these expenses are included in many "start-up" estimates. However, in a difficult region, winter colony losses may be substantial, so plan on doing something to assist the bees make it through.

Winter bee hives

If you live in a warm region, the expense of winterizing your home may be small. Winterizing might add $50 to $75 to your expenditures in colder locations, depending on what you do. Seek guidance from beekeepers in your region.

Stand for the Hive

Your hives should not be placed on the ground. Make use of a stand. What works in your area may differ from what works elsewhere.

There seem to be a lot of bee yards where the hives are just sitting on a pallet (pallets can be gotten free). In the northeast, though, hives on that low of an elevation would be buried by strong winter snowfall. Our hives are at least 18 inches above the ground.

With some timber and cinder blocks that are more than suitable for the task, you can get your beehives off the ground for a low cost.

Low hive supports, such as this one from Amazon, are essentially just a landing place for the bees. I created my first few myself, but I've since stopped doing so. I don't believe it's necessary to pay for it upfront. If you want to, you can always add them afterward. This isn't the type of stance we're discussing.

You may raise your hives with a nicer hive stand, such as the ones shown below, but this becomes prohibitively costly as your bee yard grows. Such positions are purely a question of personal preference.

Keep in mind that with a few brood boxes and some honey supers, your total hive weight might approach 200 pounds, regardless of the kind of stand you choose. Make sure you're using a sturdy stand!

Protection of animals

Intrusion by smaller creatures such as mice, skunks, and raccoons is another reason to raise your hives off the ground. These critters may irritate your bees or possibly knock down your hives, inflicting serious damage. Mice may enter your hive, construct a nest, and raise a family (particularly in winter). Fencing, in addition to raising the hives, may be beneficial.

Ratchet and lashing straps are affordable and may keep your hive together if it's flipped; they're also useful for tying down your coverings if you live somewhere with cold, windy winters or powerful windstorms, as we do. Freestones thrown on top of the hives could help.


Your bees might be harmed by bears. Honey isn't the only thing that bears like; they also enjoy bee brood. An electric fence is the greatest technique to keep bears away from your hives. A standard fence will not suffice since bears may climb over it or tunnel beneath it.

Bears are deterred by electric fences because of their high psychological barriers. Bears learn to keep away after receiving a good zap.

This will be an extra cost that no one informs you about when you purchase your starter kit if you need it. The price of an energizer and its installation might mount up quickly. A simple electric fence can set you back between $200 and $300. Consider the expense of losing your bees and causing damage to your equipment.

For more information on how electric fences operate, how to put one up, and cost estimates, see our article How To Protect Beehives From Bears (Set Up An Electric Fence).

Other Things to Consider

In addition to the goods stated above, there will be other costs that accumulate over time. Do you need a convenient location to store your frames for inspection? Consider using a frame holder (available here on Amazon). I own one and use it practically every time I check a hive.

Are you looking for a location to store your tools? Ours is kept in an old nuc box. If you like, you may get a toolbox specifically intended to contain your smoker and other items.

For roughly $10, you can get a clamp to hold and raise frames. Personally, I do not believe it is essential, but it seems that some people do purchase them and like them.

Equipment for Honey Extraction

Honey gathering is not recommended in your first year. Your main aim is to increase the size of your colonies and see them through their first winter. Honey should be left for the bees.

As a result, the cost of honey collecting equipment was not included in our first-year cost projections. In your second year, you should be able to gather honey. Extraction may be done in a variety of ways. The equipment you'll need depends on which one you choose, therefore prices may vary.

If your first-year bees are very prolific, you can extract a few frames of honey without spending a lot of money. Simply scrape the wax and honey into a container (such as a big saucepan), smash them together, and filter the liquid honey into jars.

Time is money.

When people ask me how much beekeeping costs, they are referring to dollars and cents. There's also the expense of time.

Many factors influence how much time you spend learning: how committed you are to learning, how much assembly work you perform, how long it takes you to complete a hive inspection, what problems you face, and so on.

It's just a pastime. Relax and take it all in if you've made it this far. Allow enough time for your apiary to be healthy and thrive. You'll have months to unwind after you've put your bees to bed for the winter.

How To Save Money When It Comes To Beekeeping

Many of the things you'll need to start beekeeping are included in so-called "beginning kits," which are less expensive than purchasing everything separately. Some of the components in the kit may be of inferior quality, but they should be enough for a novice.

Some kits, however, are deceptive. A beginner package with just one deep hive box will get you started, but as your colony expands, you'll need to acquire extra boxes. Don't let yourself be tricked into believing that one package would be enough.

Check suppliers for offers on a regular basis. Mann Lake, for example, is now offering a 12% discount on a 10-frame kit in our basic configuration at the time of this update. The pieces have been put together and painted.

You could appreciate several DIY projects if you have some basic equipment and woodworking abilities, such as:

Using scrap wood and old mason jars to make top feeders.

Scrap wood was used to make the bottom boards. Just make sure you take accurate measurements for bee space.

For winter feeding, I'm making handmade candy boards.

To safeguard your colonies amid nectar shortages, make your own robbing screens.

For more information on robbing issues, see our article What Is Summer Nectar Dearth? (What To Do For Your Bees).

Buying locally might help you save money on shipping.

We advise against purchasing secondhand hives unless they are from a reputable beekeeper with disease-free colonies. Even so, they should be completely cleaned to prevent contamination of your colony.

For a thorough discussion on saving money, see this article Beekeeping On A Budget (Money-Saving Tips).


The cost of starting a beekeeping business is determined by a variety of variables. One beekeeper's estimate of how much it will cost to get a new hive through the first year is about $760.

There will be unexpected charges in addition to continuing costs. It's not uncommon for colonies to die over the winter. It is costly to replace bees.

This is not intended to be discouraging. We understood there might be extra expenditures when we began, but I don't believe we have the complete picture.

You can better budget for prices and make educated decisions about where your money is best spent if you know what to anticipate. Additionally, as you acquire expertise and knowledge, you will be able to identify methods to cut costs without jeopardizing your apiary.

To get an estimate of how much your first year will cost, use the cost calculator below.

This post is part of a series on How To Start Beekeeping, a step-by-step introduction to beekeeping for the first year.