Complete beekeeping kit at Costco

No doubt about it, beekeeping has made it into the mainstream of American life. You can now order a complete beekeeping kit—instructions included!—at Costco. Or in some places, like here in Olympia, you can walk into your local warehouse and pick one up.

For just $274.99 at the warehouse or $299.99 online, you can get a complete hive with window, honey super, bee suit, hat, gloves, hive tool, bee brush, uncapping fork, liquid smoke, and complete instructions. Bees are not included.

Wonders never cease. Actually, I think the honey super is pretty cool. It is two boxes, each holding four frames, that sit side-by-side. It seems like these would be a lot easier to handle than conventional boxes.

Click on photos for complete image.

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  • In my opinion, a bargain!

    Over here a reasonable one piece beekeeping suit will run you $130 alone, kitset FD box around $20, 20 FD frames around $35, 20 sheets of heavy brood foundation $50……….. so $275 for all you need bar the bees is a pretty good option.
    The “split super”with the manufacture of two roofs and floors could be utilized as two four frame nuc hives, or run a Cloake board kind of system above the main brood chamber, with a two piece inner cover and you could start three packages in that one hive.

    Next time you are in ask if they will do a price for just the hive without the keeping equipment, better to start with at least two colonies and if the “bee bug” takes hold, folk that buy this package are going to require extra hives.

  • Ten frame deeps are so heavy that looking after the hives is a pain. The problem isn’t just the lifting, it is fitting the boxes back together on top of each other. I can get 8 frame boxes, but then none of the other stuff will fit.

    Can I stuff the ends with styrofoam without anything bad happening? Do I need to do it at both ends to create balance in the box?

    I am in Auckland NZ. We get two or three light frosts a winter, a lot of rain in the winter, and a temperate and often a dry summer.
    Buzzing off,

    • Debbie,

      Certainly. Styrofoam on the ends is similar to using follower boards. Whether you want balance in the box is up to you. They are easier to lift if they are balanced.

  • oh ya … just what I wanted …. cheap bee boxes from China ! oh Joy … can’t wait ! hope they hold up as well as the wonderful boxes sold at farmer’s exchanges !

  • “For just $274.99…” Sorry but I think that is quite a lot of money. In my country the Netherlands, generally considered quite an expensive country. From an apiarists shop I can by a beginners set; suit/smoke/hive tool/smoke pellets and brush, and a complete hive (polystyrene) two deeps and a super all for 11 frames, including all the frames for a combined cost of €192,50. Combine the beginner set with a wooden hive for 10 frames for a combined cost of €250.

    The wooden hives may look better but I really like the polystyrene hives, they are light, big and quite well priced. If and when I perfect box joints I may transition to selfmade hives as that is way cheaper still and the bees don’t seem to care, but for now I’m sticking to my poly hives.

    In summation, I don’t think a set from Costco for $275 is cheap or preferable.

  • I haven’t seen this in my local Costco. I have been looking for it just to gawk. I don’t understand how one would use the liquid smoke…

    Also I was thinking, if you used the “honey super” apparatus as the brood chamber you could get 2 queens in the hive. 🙂

    File under “fun with bees” and “money is no object”.

    • Diana,

      Our Costco has them just inside the front door. I would have gawked much longer, except for getting run over by carts barreling into the entrance. I didn’t see anyone else looking at the hive, but I would have liked to take the thing apart and peered inside. I filed it under, “Now I’ve seen everything.”

  • Hi Rusty,
    I have been a fan of yours for a long time now. I would like to send you a paper I wrote on how I got my first year bees through the winter. It is a heater in an inter hive feeder and keeps the bees warm in the worst weather. How can I attach it to an email for you to read? I think it is a brilliant idea and I am just a beginner. I know you are probably very busy but could you give me a reply.
    Thanks, Ray

  • I rarely disagree with you Rusty, but in this case, I was personally appalled to see this in my Costco. In northern climates where I live, an unsuspecting newbie would buy that not knowing it could not possibly sustain a colony of honey bees through our winter. I wish beekeeping had not become so popular. Between this and the Flow Hive, everyone who doesn’t keep bees thinks, “no sweat, I can do that.” Then they buy the kit, and bees. Maybe they read a book, but usually not, and they don’t take a class, and then come begging us to fix all the problems they have. I was also astonished to see a smoker listed as one of the components of the kit, only to find the “smoker” is a bottle of liquid smoke. Wth?

    I am always happy to help a new beekeeper who has taken the trouble to try to learn how to care for bees, but people sucked into beekeeping with these cute kits don’t know what they don’t know.

    • JoAnne,

      Maybe it’s time for me to retire. I’ve lost my touch if my tongue-in-cheek comments don’t come across that way.

      • Whew! I was probably pre-programmed by the comments I got from non-beek friends about how wonderful the Costco hive was, so my tongue in cheek detector was in slow motion. Definitely “reader error” here.

        Please, please, please, don’t retire! I love seeing new posts from you and frequently laugh out loud at your delightful writing style. I also send my students to your blog for thoughtful, well written discussions about so many beekeeping topics.

        • JoAnne,

          I guess I’m feeling frustrated. The website keeps me from my bees! I’m in here and they’re out there. Some days are like that.

          • Portable computers! I just got a little one that’s so small and light I can take it anywhere, including outside. How far does your wifi reach? Of course, you can always write in a document offline and come back to the house later to paste it into the blog.

            I can just picture you typing into your computer as you are surrounded by your bees. Makes me want to take my work outside, except that it’s raining today.

            • JoAnne,

              I actually do write outside quite a bit. Last year I put a lawn chair in the center of a patch of lemon balm that was so loud with bumble bees that I just couldn’t stand being away from it. It was only about twenty feet from a triple deep hive but the honey bees ignored the lemon balm. Something for everyone, I guess.

              And yes, it’s raining. I need to build frames and I’m trying to design a better robbing screen. And I’m baking bread. And I need to plant things. And people keep sending me things to review. And now I need to stop complaining and just do. Sigh.

              • Ooh, I can’t wait to see what you come up with for a better robbing screen. The one I have is good for robbing and moving. I just wish it could be attached to the hive so I don’t keep losing it.

      • Rusty,
        I got it. You haven’t lost your touch. I think it’s more that people have lost their sense of humor.

  • It’s funny. I looked at that kit the other day. It claims to be teak. I’d always worry that I’d come home from work one day and my husband would have commandeered the wood for his boat.

  • This is at my Costco, well into center of warehouse. Two days ago I was the only one checking it out. Pretty gimicky’ in my opinion. Tried to justify 50% worth of value in it, would have picked one up, could not. Has anyone actually taken one home? A search of their web site shows no results 5/10/2018 8:45 AM east coast.


    • Bobbee,

      My local warehouse had them this spring and they sold out quickly, but I don’t actually know someone who has one.

  • I am a teacher and I want to thank you for your wonderful list of Bee Books, I just ordered most of them. I am excited to start teaching about bees, and pollination.