We are members of our local county bee club which is cool because we can order bees through them with a discount, and they provide you with an experienced mentor to help you through the first year of keeping the bees.
To order the bees, we have a few things to consider. We have to decide if we want a nuc, packaged 3 or 4 lb of bees, or a pallet of bees. We have 3 hives that we are working on setting up. For the types of bees we can order we most likely with get Carniolan bees (Apis mellifera carnica) and Italian bees (Apis mellifera ligustica) since they’re common and easy to get.
We have two langstroth hives that we just got from a friend, and a flow hive (don’t hate just yet). The three hives need to be painted and the structure to keep them dry before we can really move forward.
We are still considering what kind of colony to buy. Nucs are pretty reasonable, but we take the risk of the hive rejecting the queen. This is our first year so the rejection of the queen would be catastrophic, but with the nuc we get a few frames of brood and food which would be nice. The packaged bees kind of run the same risk with the queen potentially being a dud, but we can always try to re-queen with a local queen later on.
We live in Washington so the shelter is the next giant step we need to figure out. We can always place a roof on top of he hive to help keep it dry until the area is built. We order our bees next week so there’s a lot of things that we are gonna need to decide.