There seems to be a lot of hives and hiveware for sale at the moment. This is possibly due to the low honey price as well as the fact that there are now far too many hives in some parts of New Zealand to be sustainable.
We advise great care when purchasing beehives as there is a risk of inheriting disease that even the seller may not be aware of. Things to look for :
- Check the woodware – Have the boxes been paraffin dipped or treated? Are they sound with no rot?
- Are the frames plastic or timber? If timber, are they sound? Timber frames have a limited lifespan.
- Hive lid – is it rusty or bent? Remember, this is what keeps your hive dry.
- Hive base – timber or plastic? If timber, is it ventilated or solid? Check the floor – is it clean or coated in debris?
- Queen excluder – is it clean enough for the bees to get through easily?
- Bees – Is there plenty of capped brood with a solid pattern? Eggs and larvae? Is the queen marked and can you find her?
- Food stores – is there much honey and pollen?
- When was the hive last checked for varroa levels and AFB?
Checking these things will tell you if the beekeeper you are purchasing from is someone who knows how to care for his bees.
Only purchase from a registered beekeeper and note his registration number. If you are not experienced, we strongly recommend you have the hive inspected by an experienced beekeeper and preferably one who has a DECA certificate.
We do not recommend purchasing second hand used hiveware components at all as there is no way of checking for AFB spores and the cost savings are outweighed by the risk. AFB spores can live for 40 – 70 years.
The best time to buy is always in spring as it gives you the whole season to establish and care for your hive before autumn and winter.
See link to a sale and purchase agreement form – https://afb.org.nz/sale-and-purchase-of-hives-form/