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What Car to Buy?

Dear Mr. Click, and Mr. Clack,

Without going into all the sordid details of what happened to my last car, suffice it to say that I am in need of a new one.

I am a beekeeper hobbyist, and I will sometimes need to move a hive or two, so I need a car that will fit at least one hive in the trunk. My beehives are at least 4 feet long. A hatchback will not work because it is not safe to have bees in the same area that you’re driving. Ideally I would love to find a diesel car that I could burn biodiesel in. Unfortunately, many of the small efficient cars in both gasoline and diesel do not have a trunk big enough to carry a beehive. This seems to leave me with only the option of buying a truck. Buying a truck seems a little bit like overkill to me. I don’t really feel like I need that big of a car most of the time. I also need to occasionally haul a load of compost or straw bales for work. What should I do? Should I buy a truck? Or is there a Honda that could accommodate one of my beehives?

Julia, Mr. Click & Mr. Clack Seldom Visit This Forum, But Rather You Get A Bunch Of Car Enthusiasts.

I’d put a hitch on my car and either buy a small covered lightweight trailer (Remember you said “sometimes”) or rent a U-Haul. Personally I’d want the bees in their own vehicle.

Why make a mess of your car with compost and hay bales ?

CSA

I agree. The best alternative is to buy a small enclosed trailer. Most are vented. They are also one of the handiest items to have around.

How about a small pickup truck, equipped with a “cap” over the bed?

Dear Common Sense,
Wow. I didn’t even think of that!!! Where would I buy a lightweight trailer? Can you suggest a brand name? Would it be a really bumpy ride for the bees? You truly deserve the name common sense!

A trailer is a good idea but it will bounce more. Not being a bee expert I have no idea how tolerant bees are of bouncing.

I will second VDCdriver about a small pickup (Ranger, S-10, etc.) with a cap over the bed.

I have an aluminum 9x5 Thule trailer with ramp that weighs 220 lbs, is rated for 2000 lbs, has torsion bar suspension and seems to ride as well as my truck, even when not loaded. They aren’t cheap, but they may offer an enclosed model, and almost ANYTHING can tow one if the total weight is under 500 to 700 lbs.
A small truck as VDC suggests is a good option too.

Dear ok4450,
I may look into purchasing a small pick up. I’m going to check out a 2002 Toyota Tacoma today. The reason I would prefer hitch would be so that I could get a smaller more efficient, and possibly biodiesel car. I’m very concerned about global climate change. I read that biodiesel emits 70% less carbon than diesel, and diesel emits even less than gasoline. I love the idea of leaving a smaller carbon footprint because I commute 40 miles a day round trip to work. However, the bouncing is a concern for the bees. I will need to do some research on the compatability of bees and trailers. Thanks for your thoughts.

http://accessories.etrailer.com/trailer/Thule%20Trailer

Toyota made great small pickups up until about a dozen years ago when they turned them into girly trucks. the bed is too far above ground level to put things in or get things out of, and all that sissy suff like heated seats and other nausea causing car parts just dont fly with me anyway. It is a personal opinion, but the other thing Toyota did was to dump the 22r engine and go to the v6 and automatic tranny and so on all because the older trucks just refused to die and the main market of working guys was saturated. In the mean time, Ford finally began to catch up the the once famous Toyota quality, and so I would advise a Ford Ranger over a Toyota Tacoma.

Dear Dagosa,
Thanks for your link to a trailer web site. All of these trailers look kind of small. One beehive of mine is about 48" in length, and about 20" in width. Do you know any companies that make larger trailers?

Hi Dagosa,
I just saw this posting. It sounds as if your trailer would definitely work to haul my bees. I didn’t see the 9x5 initially on the link you sent me, but I will look again. Hooray for trailers. I called a bee supply company and asked about bouncing. He said the bees probably wouldn’t like being bounced, but that they would probably be okay. I could also move the bees at night, or in the very early morning when there is little traffic, so I could drive slowly.

Just google ‘trailers yourtown’ and you’ll get lots of trailer dealers. Trailers are available in all shapes and sizes, you shouldn’t have trouble finding one. What is your tow vehicle?

Dear Ignoramus9,
I really appreciate your comments about the changes in the Toyota trucks. Too bad people don’t make things that last anymore. I was just wondering if you really meant to refer to the impractical changes in the truck and heated seats as “girly” and “sissy” What does this imply about women? I am a woman, and I would prefer a lower level bed, a well made, long lasting truck, and I have no need for heated seats. I don’t know for sure, but I am guessing that all these “girly” and “sissy” changes were probably made by men. At any rate, thanks for the suggestion about looking at the Ford Ranger.

I like women first off. But, most of the trucks made by Nissan and Toyota from 1980 till the mid to late 90s were bought by guys, and were marketed to guys for use as handyman, gardener, building maintenance, light ranch work etc. Only when the male (not just macho, as macho guys tend to go for the full size v8 fords and gm and ram trucks,) market was saturated with trucks that were going to last for 30 years did Toyota make a marketing descision to fancy up and make impractical trucks tricked out to appeal to the female market nitch and to compete with suvs did the general quality fall and the massive accesorization take place. It was indeed most likely men who made this decision, and they were Japanees execs and focus group marketing guys, not truck driving guys and women like me and you.

One thing I would advise is to leave the climate change angle out of your decision. I fully understand your line of thinking on this issue as it’s been pretty much progpagandized into everyones’s head by the media but there is much to this issue that is never reported.

I say this because my oldest son is a Climatologist in the field of long term climate trends and so both his view and mine (he dumbs it down for me) are at odds with the majority who have no knowledge of this area other than what they see on TV or read in Time magazine, etc.

When you hear the following terms or phrases (consensus, most scientissts believe…, many climate scientists say…, etc, etc,) keep in mind that out of that bunch of believers very, very few of them are actually climate scients. Ask real climate scientists without an axe to grind (research money can skew your opinion) and you’ll find a vastly different view. About 87% do not subscribe to this man-made global warming theory at all by the last poll.

Many of these “climate scientists” are biologists, psychologists, social scientists, etc.
That’s like going out on the street and asking sales clerks, attorneys, policemen, and veterinarians for an expert opinion on what’s wrong with your car.

Back to the car issue, keep this in mind. A pickup bed is expected to get scuffed up by moving beehives in and out. A car or cross-over vehicle will end up with a badly scuffed interior more than likely and this will kill any sale or trade-in value later.
The house I’m living in was purchased from a gentleman who used to have a half dozen beehives out back (number of apple trees, lilac hedgerow, etc.) and he used a small truck to move those around now and then.

Why, Thank You, Ma’am ! I Always Try And Live Up To The Descriptive Pseudonym.

Dagosa’s got a nice trailer, but I wonder if you even need one that large. 9 X 5 is pretty big.

What about a couple of old mattresses or those inexpensive queen (bee - sorry!) size inlatable beds to cushion their apiary ? You could cover these cushions up with a tarp or something to protect them from possible damage moving the hives around on them.

I would go with an aluminum trailer. They are light, rust-free, and hold their value even if more expensive initially. Put a little fold-up wheel (made for boat trailers) on the trailer tongue and it makes it easier to move around when it’s unhitched.

CSA

Is it a viable option to buy an econobox for daily use and an old pickup for moving the beehives?

Iggy, I agree about the Toyota pickups. I’ve owned two, a '79 and an '89, both standard cabs with no options other than a radio, and wish they still made them in that size.

I agree with OK4450 about the climate change issue too. But that’ll be another thread.

Forget the diesel. The only small trucks with diesel are cab-over commercial rigs. I’m sure that you don’t want to ride around in this every day:

http://www.isuzucv.com/nseries/index.html

It’s not the only brand, but they are all basically this class of vehicle.

The only Honda that I’d feel comfortable with putting a beehive in would be the bed of the Ridgeline. Keep in mind also, that the bees could sneak in through the seats in the back and come in through the trunk area of a car into the cabin. So, that leaves you with the option of a pickup truck or/or an enclosed trailer.
If you’re wanting a diesel truck, then you’re stuck with a heavy duty pick up like an F-250/350, 2500/3500(chevy or dodge versions). Since you say you feel it unnecessary to have such a large vehicle normally, then you may want to look at a brand new truck coming out soon:
http://www.mahindrana.com/