Synopsis: Think laterally, use your imagination, hoard stuff … there’s lots you can repurpose to make both your beekeeping and bank balance better. And it’s something to fill the months until the season starts.
The big equipment suppliers – Thorne’s, Abelo, Dadant etc. – are very happy to sell you everything you need for your beekeeping … and a whole lot of stuff you probably don’t. A ‘hard sell’ approach to marketing isn’t needed, they simply provide an enticing catalogue or website and rely upon the long, cold, dark, wet and windy winter to do the rest.
It’s disturbingly effective … I’ve got the receipts.
An enthusiastic beginner might need a second mortgage after a trip to Rand or a winter afternoon in front of the fire browsing the catalogue.
Beekeeping is not an inexpensive pastime 1 when starting from scratch. Hives, beesuits, bees, smokers, hive tools, multi-purpose eke/clearer/insulated crownboards 2 and other essentials leave little change from a substantial chunk of moolah.
Of course, with certain exceptions, buying shiny new kit makes things easy. Equipment is compatible, it’s been tested, built to a high standard and ‘just works’. It’s one less thing to worry about when starting out, and – midseason – it provides a quick fix to rectify an urgent problem.
However … as well as sometimes being painfully expensive 3, it turns out that the suppliers don’t sell everything you need. With a little effort, some opportunism, a sprinkling of imagination and those long winters you can rectify this and save money.
Today I’m going to discuss repurposing things you beg, borrow or
steal find (or perhaps buy cheaply) to enhance, or even improve, your beekeeping.
And your bank balance.