Second Hand Beekeeping Equipment – Is it worth it?

 In Bee Health, Beekeeping Equipment, New Beekeeper, Tips & Tricks

Bees are remarkably adaptive and effective at changing with the times. Given the speed of transfer of pests and diseases brought about by modern beekeeping is it really an issue to buy second hand beekeeping equipment? Or are you adding to the problem and signing you’re bees up to a death sentence?

Recently I saw a Facebook post from a new beekeeper asking if it is okay to buy second hand equipment from other beekeepers. Hmmmm, I thought there will be a dozen different opinions within the first few replies to this post.  I confess that I have bought second hand beekeeping equipment before, but I was much less aware of the risks than I am now. I’m not sure I’d do it again but there seems to always be an exception in beekeeping

Think about this…

If you wanted a reliable and predictable smoke detector to look after you and your family when you sleep would you take a dusty, slightly average looking second hand one from your neighbour?

Or this…

If you could buy a second hand, slightly run-down car for not much less than buying a new one which one would you buy? I am certain that there are people who would want the new car and would not accept any risk in the preloved vehicle and I have no doubt that there are others who would think that the cost saving lets them buy an extra tank of fuel or the roof racks they need.

There are beekeepers who would also think the exact same way and would choose the cheaper option to save a few dollars. I’m not casting judgement on anyone I just want to put the discussion on the table.

It doesn’t just end up being a risk assessment that you are ultimately responsible to conduct on behalf of your bees, it ends up being a risk assessment you must make over the health of all the bees and beekeepers in your area. Would you risk it???

The lure of buying second hand equipment as a new beekeeper is not surprising as it is quite costly to get started with bees. To make a good assessment of second hand beekeeping equipment on offer and what to do if you purchase some you need to check out this blog post by Amanda from –

Now the decision is ultimately up to you but like with anything to do with your bees you should always err on the side of caution.

PS for the record the overwhelming response to the Facebook post was to burn the second-hand equipment or to report the person selling the gear to the authorities! Is this what you would do? Post below to tell us your thoughts…

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Showing 2 comments
  • Eddie

    To buy second hand or not depends a lot on the position you are in, if the price is about a third of the new price then I may consider it and how many will I buy, upon buying old equipment I would then soak it in pool chlorine to sterilise it and burn the rubbish

    • Greg

      Mmmmm – I am not sure pool chlorine would eradicate AFB spores. I have been told that gamma irradiation is the only guaranteed method to sterilise your gear.