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Beehive’s & Beekeeping Supplies on a Budget

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Beehive's & Beekeeping Supplies on a Budget

Good News- with my tips You can beecome a beekeeper and get your Beehive’s & Beekeeping Supplies on a Budget.

If you have read my post about Beekeeping For Beginners, then you already know that getting started with beekeeping can be a pretty expensive initial investment, just two hives and safety equipment for two people can cost around $1,000-yikes!

You’re going to get stung enough over the years with beekeeping you shouldn’t get stung by the cost too.

What you won’t learn in this article is why you should keep bees, where to buy bees, the different types of bees, beehive maintenance, beekeeping in general,  and so on- you get the picture. 

What you will learn is How to Bee a Frugal Beekeeper & Getting started on a budget with tips and how-to links.

** Disclaimer: Cheap, Frugal & FREE do not always = Easy.

If you want easy, refer to my article Beekeeping For Beginners, where I include all of the links to get you started and where to buy equipment (but it’s gonna cost ya!)

My tips are just that, tips. They are not guarantees, promises, and they don’t come with a warranty.

They are possibilibees (hee hee) of places and ways you can save money.

Beekeeping Supplies

This is the bare minimum supply list that I recommend as a new beekeeper

  • Beehive’s
  • Frames
  • Foundations
  • Veil
  • Gloves
  • Bee Suit * Optional but I’m allergic to bees so this is a must have for me
  • Smoker
  • Smoker Fuel
  • Feeder
  • Water Source
  • Hive Tool
  • Brush
  • Resource Book- (Beekeeping For Beginners, First Lessons in Beekeeping, Natural Beekeeping, The Backyard Beekeeper, The Beekeepers Bible)

The supplies mentioned above would cost around $400-$600 new, but I’m going to share some cost-cutting tips under each category to help you save $$$ (you can thank me later)


Beehive’s on a Budget

  • Beehive(s)
    • Make Your Own Beehive with scrap lumber (This will require Intermediate Carpentry Skills). You really can save a small fortune making your own beehives, if you’re good at it you could start selling them and make some money. Locally made beehives are in demand because shipping cost from supply companies are expensive.
    • Resources for further information.
      DIY Top Bar Beehive.
      DIY Langstroth or Warre Beehive.
    • Barter your labor with a beekeeper. Any commercial beekeeper has extra supplies laying around and a long list of chores that need to be done, offer your labor in trade for a beehive.
      I can’t imagine anyone not willing to trade some equipment for labor during a time of need.
  • Frames
    • Make Your Own with scrap lumber. Again, this will require Intermediate Carpentry skills.
      Here is a video showing you how to make your own frames.
  • Foundations
    • Foundations are the wax foundation in which the bees build their comb. Many natural beekeepers like to install foundationless frames claiming they like the bees to have a more natural environment and draw out their own combs. In order to do this, you need to add a pure wax starter strip to the top of the frames.
      Here is an excellent video showing you how (and why) to make foundationless frames.

Beekeeping Supplies on a Budget

  • Smoker
    • Every beekeeper will tell you if you’re going to buy one, buy a good one; so I can not offer you advice on a cheap smoker. However, a friend of mine who has been a beekeeper over 20+ years doesn’t use a smoker at all, instead uses a mix of essential oils in a spray bottle to keep them calm. Her results? Amazing. After reading more about the effects of smokers on bees I am inclined to follow her advice.
  • Smoker Fuel
    • Alternatives to buying fuel for your smoker are Pine Cones, Pine Straw, Pine Chips, Cardboard Egg Cartons, Wood Chips, Dried Herbs, Peanut Shells, Corn Cobs, Cardboard, and Cotton Fabric, just to name a few. Whatever you use, make sure it is free from chemicals, burns cool, and is non-toxic
  • Feeder
    • There are many different types of feeders. Initially, I bought a front feeder but 90% of my Beekeeper Association members all use a large Ziploc bag with a couple of small slits on the top and place in a box on top of the hive.
      Video on how to make a zip lock feeder.
  • Water Source
    • If you do not have a water source nearby you will have to give your bees water almost daily. We use a birdbath and the bottom of a planter tray. Make sure you add sticks or marbles so the bees won’t drown
  • Hive Tool
    • Pry Bar (yard sale, Home Depot). Make sure you clean any used tool you buy and designate it for beekeeping only.
  • Brush
    • Dollar Store Dust Pan Brush
  • Resource Book
    • Library or Free Download on Kindle

Beekeeping Protective Gear on a Budget

  • Veil
    • Mosquito Net Over a HatA bee sting to the eye could permanently blind you, so while there are plenty of YouTube videos of these brave (reckless) souls not wearing a stitch of protective gear, I HIGHLY recommend against it. A simple over the hat mosquito net over a wide-brimmed hat should work just fine.
  • Gloves
    • Surgical Gloves. Surgical gloves are puncture resistant and fit tight to the hand, unlike beekeeper gloves. Many beekeepers use their bare hands because they don’t like the limited mobility and the bulkiness of beekeeping gloves. These puncture resistant gloves work great for inspection task (not so great for honey extraction).
  • Bee Suit
    * Optional but I’m allergic to bees so this is a must have for me
    • Tyvek SuitWhen buying our beekeeping equipment we had to get two of everything (because hubby and I were in this together) two sets of gloves, two hats, two veils, and two suits.

      A good bee suit cost over $100.00 each! We are contractors by trade and have used the Tyvek suits on jobs before so hubby suggested we buy them for our bee suits (he’s a frugal genius but don’t tell him I said so).

      They cost less than $10.00 each and work great!

      The only cons are: #1 They are hot and offer no ventilation whatsoever so you have to work fast and when it’s not in the heat of the day #2 They are designed to be disposable (but they can last a very long time) so you need to be careful not to rip or snag them.


Did you know bees are expensive? Well not if you buy them individually, but when you order a pack, nuc, or complete hive, they cost a lot of $$$.

Luck for you, I have some free and frugal tips to help you save some major money on honeybees. Check out Top 5 Ways to Get Bees Cheap or Free

Do you have any budget-friendly beehive tips for the frugal minded?

Please share! Send us a message or email so we can help spread the word.

Beehive's and Beekeeping Supplies on a Budget.

Want to get free bees?

Check out this next article 5 ways to get Honey Bees for FREE!

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Beekeeping For Beginners - My Homestead Life

Sunday 7th of July 2019

[…] Beekeeping isn’t a cheap hobby to get into right off the bat. In fact, the up-front cost can be a little hefty. However, after your initial investiment, you rarely have to spend money on your bees. When we purchased our first two hives, bought the basic beekeeping suit, vail, etc. our initial investment was just over $1,000.00! Ouch. Keep in mind, you probably won’t see a return on your investiment for the first year. Meaning you probably won’t extract honey until year two of your beekeeping adventure.  Before you start to close the pocketbook and give up on the idea of becoming a first-time beekeeper, I have some GREAT moeny-saving tips for you. I’m a frugal kinda gal and wrote an article to show you how to save a TON of money on your start-up cost. Beehives and Beekeeping Supplies on a Budget.  […]

AnnMarie Lewellyn

Tuesday 21st of May 2019

These are some great ideas Amber! Enjoyed this post as always!

Feeding Your Bees- When Do You Need To Feed Them? - My Homestead Life

Sunday 14th of April 2019

[…] If you would like to learn more about beekeeping, we encourage you to read our article Beekeeping and Bee Supplies on a Budget.  […]

How to Start Beekeeping for Cheap

Monday 20th of August 2018

can also make your own hive frames with leftover lumber from other projects


Wednesday 21st of February 2018

What does your friend use for essential oils for their bees?

Amber Bradshaw

Wednesday 21st of February 2018

The recipe is for Honey Bee Healthy, she uses 1 tps of the concentrate and puts in a spray bottle with distilled water and uses it. She just did a complete hive inspection, removing the frames and all, and said they were as calm as can bee. Here is the recipe: Honey Bee Healthy recipe Here are the ingredients: 1 cup water 1 cup honey (You can substitute sugar/water in a 1:1 mixture. Just make sure the water is not boiling when you add the sugar because caramelized/burnt sugar will make the bees sick) 1 cup ice 0.5 oz lemon grass oil – Available at Whole Foods – Go on Tuesday and get 15% off. 0.5 oz spearmint or wintergreen oil- Available at Whole Foods 0.5 oz lavender oil (optional) also Available at Whole Foods 3 lecithin capsules or one cap full of liquid lecithin 1 drop hand dish soap Take 1/4 teaspoon of lecithin granules or one cap full if liquid and mix it in one cup of boiling water. Add one cup of honey and one cup of ice to cool it to room temp. Put it in a blender and put on low setting. One-half ounce of each wintergreen/spearmint, lavender and lemongrass. Add the oils drop by drop until you have a yellow milky looking mix. Add one drop of hand dish soap and mix for 15 more seconds. The Lecithin and soap are both emulsifiers and will help keep the oils mixed in suspension. Add water to make up difference to total one quart. Mix one or two tablespoons to the gallon of feed. There has been some evidence that lavender oil is very offensive to Varroa D. You may want to add some to your blend. It won’t hurt.