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Best US equipment supplier


What is everyone’s favorite online store in the US? I’m looking for good prices but want good quality too.


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Stephen Mann Lake is American


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Love Mann Lake, just 70 miles from where I am! I guess one benefit of living in Minnesota. :slight_smile:


I’ve had good luck with all of them. You have to figure the total cost delivered to compare prices. Some have free shipping but of course they build it into the price. Some have cheaper prices but shipping is expensive. It’s a good idea to start by looking for things that are more local as the shipping is likely to be lower. If you are in the West I’d check out Western Bee Supply. If you are in the Southeast I’d check out Miller Bee Supply. Other common places to do business are Mann Lake Ltd., Brushy Mountain Bee Farm, Walter T. Kelley, Dadant and Sons, Rossmans, Simpsons etc. Often only one place will have the actual item I’m looking for. All of them have the usual boxes, frames, bottoms and tops…


I recommend Capital Bee Supply which is based in Madison, WI. They are one of the larger manufacturers of bee equipment from what I’ve seen, but you don’t hear much about them since they seem to keep a very low profile. I found out about them by accident when I was driving semi delivering freight. I’ve hauled a lot of loads of bee equipment from a couple of their facilities in Wisconsin to various other bee suppliers in the midwest. I had a chance to get a behind the scenes tour at one facility late one afternoon while waiting to get loaded…they have some mind-blowing machinery. In the last few years they have begun a retail operation as well and the folks are very helpful. They have the retail side geared to backyard beeks.


I use a bunch of suppliers for different things. It seems they all make one thing or another that I need better than the others. For instance, I like the BIG Dadant smoker, I like the Brushy Mountain ventilated beesuit over all others, I like my local suppliers bee boxes (at $6.00-$10.00 per box who wouldn’t), I like Brushy Mountains top feeder, and I like Kelly Beekeeping Queen Castle. We also use Mann Lake for glassware.


I guess if you want to house your bees in 6-10$ boxes it is to your advantage if that’s what you want. Me on the other hand would be able to build the premium boxes using the Cedar at no cost I have plenty of it enough for many hives. Matter of a fact the cost of hinges,screws,glue,handles,staples and other materials would probably run me over the amounts you posted per box. My other costs would be much more than what some others could get them for so it’s use your best judgement and look for a way to cut your expense. Who would be the best on line distributors of equipment to trust with Bee supplies? We all live in different areas all over the globe is there a company who’s brand name stands out as the best? I would like to hear from everyone on who they would trust with supplies, cost and quality. That should be important you are investing into something you want to have for a long period of time.


I’ve housed my bees in pallet wood built hives. I just didn’t tell them.
Before I discovered my local bee supplier I used cypress hives from Brushy Mountain. They warped in the first year. Brushy made good on them and sent me all new hive bodies at no charge. I trust them.
Based on what I’m seeing with the 40 hives I have, the pine is lasting just as long as the tung oil treated red cedar, and they are both lasting longer than cypress. The pine is treated with deck stain though. Shipping should be better on red cedar though because it is so light.


I have worked with Pine and Western Red Cedar for many years and I can easily say that the Cedar is way more resistant to decay,warping or having an equal to any other outdoor application for resistance against the elements. Pine will attract more impending and harmful insects to a hive than Cedar will, as a matter of a fact Cedar will repel most insects just because they don’t find it as a benefit for what they need. This has been well known by many people who have worked with that specie of wood for many years. Pine needs to be painted with several coats of paint to keep moisture out ( It’s a sponge if you don’t ) while Cedar just needs a light application of oil it has its own moisture characteristics that repel water. You really need to understand the composition of these fibrous materials and how well they resist to decomposition and decay. IMO anyone who claims they think Pine and Cedar have the long lasting residual time frame are very incorrect with that statement. Cedar will outlast Pine X2 if treated properly and looked after. That I know.


Correct, cedar is a natural insect repellent.


I’m just getting ready to head west to buy a small truck load of boxes made of poplar. Since I’ve built furniture by hand before and have used various types of wood, I’m intrigued that the guy I’m going to buy from is using poplar. To me anyway poplar has a better quality to it than pine as it is less likely to warp, doesn’t attract bugs near as much as pine and seals better when painted. Not to mention, the boxes I have bought were from Brushy Mountain and I’ve had no problems to date, but they are pine and for the cost alone I’m getting 2 to 1 for my money and includes frames with foundations like BM. At any rate, I will post photos of these when I get them home next week.


@ Tony

Poplar is the biggest sponge on the planet if it’s within the US and you get it for half the price it might be worth it but expect to make that trip every year they will fall apart. I know you work with wood and that would really be my last choice for making the hive boxes, frames or anything out of Poplar.(Un poplar). What do people think about making Frames out of Douglas Fir? It is much more durable than any other wood that I have seen mentioned in here so far? It’s classified as a soft wood (Fir) but has more structural strength that pine,cedar.spruce or poplar it’s more like a hardwood and does not split like Cedar or pine will.?


Really? I never knew that about poplar. The times I’ve used it in furniture, I was very pleased with the way it worked for flat pieces in a basinet and a couple cribs. of course these weren’t exposed to moisture so if you say it’s a sponge I better make sure I double coat them with an oil based exterior primer instead of one coat and at least two coats of paint.


Try Biegon Mountain or Brushy Mountain I have bought from both with good results.


I’ve got a line right now on about 60 new deep boxes 10 frame. They were made for a large commercial outfit but for some reason 100 of the boxes weren’t needed and the name of their company was ground out. For commercial keepers this doesn’t do well if they ship their boxes out to California because the sheriff’s check boxes and any found with ground out names they might consider boxes stolen but if you don’t ship they will be fine. I bought 32 of them and the frames too. If you want it’s a pick up but you’d save some money if you were looking to expand your colonies. Just pm me for cost and location.