A Beginners Guide to How to Start a Beehive for Cheap

Learning how to start a beehive may help save the environment because preserving our bee population should remain one of our priorities.

Our reliance on pesticides and the build-up of urban areas means that entire bee colonies risk extinction. An essential solution to the decline of the bee population is learning how to start a beehive from scratch.

As well as preserving the bee population, the thought of producing your own honey in your backyard feels too delicious a prospect to miss.

When you learn how to start a beehive, you also experience the ancient art of honey making. Plus, learning how to start a beehive in your backyard doesn’t have to cost a fortune, and you may achieve excellent results with only a modest budget.

How to Start a Beehive

If you wonder how to start a beehive, the answer may not seem as daunting as you expect. With a little bit of space and some spare time, you can quickly build your bee colony from scratch without a considerable investment.

However, some states have strict requirements when it comes to the legality of keeping bees, so you need to check that out before you begin your new adventure.

You will require some essential equipment to begin beekeeping, including a smoker, protective equipment, and a beehive. The crucial factor remains the colony of bees itself, whether you chose to collect bees from the wild or purchase a colony.

However, you decide to start your colony, learning how to start a beehive from scratch may prove a fascinating and rewarding hobby.

Photo by Timothy Paule II from Pexels

How to Start a Beehive Without Buying Bees

Before you start your hive, you need to understand how you source your colony. You can buy bees, but if you want to learn how to start a beehive on the cheap, then gathering your bees from the wild remains your best choice.

When practicing how to start a beehive with wild bees, you first need to start collecting them.

Gathering your swarm

You will need a breathable container such as a cardboard box in which to catch your bees. You may also require a bee brush or a bee smoker to coax the insects into the container.

Bees on a flat surface such as a fence post may be difficult to catch. The easiest way to catch bees from the wild are bees on tree branches. By gently shaking the branch inside your cardboard box, you may easily collect your first bees.

Tools of the trade for collecting bees

While gently shaking the branch into the box to collect your specimens remains a cost-effective method, a small investment in some basic tools can make for speedier work.

A bee brush

A bee brush has long, soft, non-ridged bristles that gently move the bees into your container. Coaxing the bees into the box with a bee brush will not harm or injure the bee.

Furthermore, the bee brush is useful to remove bees from honeycomb when harvesting honey. However, this method is time-consuming, and you might find a bee smoker more beneficial and quicker.

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A bee smoker

A bee smoker is a device that beekeepers use to calm the bees. The handheld device generates a calming smoke from the smoldering of various fuels and gently envelopes the bees. Consequently, using a smoker makes for easier collection of your wild bees.

So, when it comes to collecting honey from your hive, the smoker will calm the colony and aid with removing the bees from the honeycomb to collect the nectar.

Sweet enticement

Whether you shake the branch, use a bee brush, or a smoker to collect your bees, a little sugar solution inside the box will attract the bees. Then, once in the box, they remain inside the container, feeding on the sugar solution.

When collecting a large swarm of wild bees, the smoker may serve as an invaluable tool because you can use it to control the bees’ direction.

By pointing the smoker in the direction you don’t want the bees to go, you may corral them. Learning how to start a beehive may make you a bee whisperer yet!

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Preparation of your bees

Misting your collected bees with sugar solution will stop the bees from flying while moving them to their new hive. Use only a little solution as you don’t want to drown them!

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How Much Does It Cost to Start a Beehive?

You want to learn how to start a beehive on the cheap, and the good news is that it won’t cost you a fortune. To successfully start your colony, you need some basic items.

The hive

Once you collect your bees, they need somewhere to live. A beehive starter kit with 8 to 10 frames is the best place to start without spending a fortune.

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The smoker

We now understand that a bee smoker is one of the most useful and essential pieces of equipment. Because the smoker calms the bees, you remain less likely to receive stings from your colony.

Entrance reducer

The last thing you want is rodents getting into your hive and destroying your colony. Therefore, an entrance reducer will lessen the risk of rodent invasion.

Protective gear

Most starter kits come with protective gear. At the very least, you need gloves and a veil to start your beekeeping hobby safely.

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Recommended Read: Beginner’s Guide to Urban Backyard Beekeeping

Choose Your Kit Wisely

Prices vary from kit to kit. So, it remains imperative that you choose a kit pertinent to you, especially when working on a tight budget. Some kits may contain items you don’t need initially.

Remember, once you learn how to start a beehive on the cheap, you can always add to it later.

Hive build

We have all seen images of the classic wooden beehive. But, synthetic materials are on the rise and might just be the perfect choice for you.

Plastic Hives

Plastic hives remain tough and durable and don’t require as much maintenance as a wood hive. However, a plastic hive remains susceptible to warping when exposed to heat. Plus, you may find that your hive rejects the plastic.

Keeping bees is an environmentally friendly past-time, and a plastic hive is not environmentally friendly because it doesn’t bio-degrade.

Wooden hives

Wood remains the preferred material for hives by professional beekeepers. You may find that the bees take to the wood naturally, and the colony will establish easier.

Not only that, wood hives prove economical compared to their synthetic counterparts and remain the ultimate in ecofriendly materials.

Still, wood has its drawbacks. Wood degrades over time and will need replacement. And natural wood material remains vulnerable to weather conditions. Also, wax moths love wood and may chew their way through your hive.

Hybrid hives

Synthetic wood hives blend plastic and wood fibers and have all the benefits of plastic hives with the biodegradable friendliness of wooden hives.

But before you just to this option, keep in mind that hybrid hives remain an expensive option.

Location Remains Key

Where you place your hive is crucial to its success. Consider the following when you learn how to start a beehive.


You will need easy access to your hive for maintenance. Give the hive and yourself ample space in which to work and feel comfortable.

Recommended Read: The Best Bee Suit to Start Your Hobby


Bees require the sun to start their activity but not too much to damage the hive’s health. Provide sun in the morning but shade in the afternoon.

Make a beeline

Bees tend to make a beeline for the same favored location. A garden or field remains ideal as long as humans don’t traffic the area.

They gave me water

Like all living things, bees require water. They use water to keep hydrated but also use it to regulate moisture content within the hive.

The clever little bees use droplets of water to dilute their honey.

So, it is worth providing the bees with a natural source of water that keeps them away from your pool!

Photo by Timothy Paule II from Pexels

How to Start a Beehive Explained

Learning how to start a beehive may not seem as daunting a task as you think. Besides, you can achieve excellent results on a tight budget.

While you may mail-order colonies of bees for your hive, collecting bees from the wild is the most economical way to start your colony. With some basic equipment, you may collect your bees in a cardboard box to start.

A basic beekeeping kit will help you begin without costing a fortune. Most beekeeping kits come with the basics, including a smoker and protective gear, to get you started.

Remember to start with a hive containing 8 to 10 frames.

Choose a suitable location for your hive and ensure you follow any local regulations regarding beekeeping.

Do you have any experience with beekeeping? Leave a comment below!

Sean Kerr lives in Cardiff, Wales, and is a published author with over 10 novels to his name so far and still counting. You can read his other garden and landscaping articles at Simple Family Preparedness and GardenAware.com As well as writing his next bestseller, Sean also runs a successful jewelry making business and sells his creations online.

Featured Image by Pixabay from Pexels

Last update on 2021-04-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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