« Last post by little john on April 26, 2015, 02:13:04 PM »
I sympathise with anyone about to begin beekeeping, as there are so many options available 'out there' and just about every beekeeper has his or her own opinions about what kit is the best to use ...
I would say it's important not to tie yourself to one supplier, no matter how local he might happen to be - if he should ever stop trading, what would happen then ? My advice would be to choose the most common format used within your country - especially as you are considering selling a few nucs yourself later on. Boxes and frames can always be delivered 'flat-pack' - so distance needn't necessarily be a crucial factor when deciding.
How are your wood-working skills ? With beekeeping it really pays to be able to make at least some of your own kit.
For example - in your situation, if faced with choosing either deep or medium boxes - I'd always go with the shallower of the two. Then, if you ever needed a deeper box, it can always be created by simply making an eke to fit underneath whatever depth box you already have.
You seem to be concerned about the possibility of wasting money on unsuitable gear - and I certainly understand that one ! - and yet you talk about buying a Flow Hive. That's a very expensive and unnecessary piece of kit for any beginner to be talking about purchasing.
I'd advise - buy some standard kit - and get yourself started. See how it goes with just a couple of hives, and only THEN think about enlargement, Flow Hives, selling nucs, and all the rest. Do you have any neighbours who are beekeepers ? There's a lot to be said for copying the type of equipment used by neighbours, especially in the early days, as any rescue missions would then be simplified.
If you already have a bad back - it would certainly be wise to consider hives which do not require the lifting of full-depth, or even full-width boxes. So - we're talking Long Hives (where individual frames are lifted out, not boxes of frames); conventional hives with full-width shallow boxes; or conventional hives with half-width boxes above the bottom box - of whatever depth you can easily manage the weight of.
I'm currently converting all my conventional hives to half-width upper boxes, but I still run a large number of Long Hives. There's nothing to stop a beekeeper having several such formats in an apiary, as each hive type has it's own merits - although it does make life so much easier if just the one size of frame is used throughout.
Best of luck with the decision-making ...