If you use conventional Langstroth bee hives by the time you have purchased your bees, a new beehive, frames, wax, a smoker, hive tool, veil and gloves there will not be much change out of $500.

Then you will need to buy an extractor unless you want to just cut the honey out.

The alternative is to go for a Top Bar Hive, which uses no frames or foundation and is not harvested for extracted honey. the combs are cut and crushed, and the bees wax marketed separately, or used at home to make furniture polish and a host of other useful items.

This type of hive has almost completely taken over in the developing world due to the simple construction and very low comparative cost.

while I do not have any precise details on cost of a TBH here in Cambodia, most people put the cost of the actual wood ware at about 25% of a Langstroth hive exclusive of the bees themselves.

I will be building these hives shortly. I guess that they may be built for something under $100. Let me know if you want one!