In late February of 2009, I decided to go for it. I ordered a starter pack of bees from BetterBee up in Greenwich, NY. I will be picking up the bees in May. I chose Betterbee because they are in an area I know. They are three hours drive from my house, but I don’t think that I mind that. There were other places around, including an ad on craiglist, but the Betterbee starter packs were less expensive and they seemed to be more together than the other locations.
I bought the hive from Brushy Mountain Bee Farms. They had the best prices (although their shipping was high). I bought a starter package from them, which was a great value when added up. I think it was quite a bit less than the other websites. They shipped it and it has arrived. I will get pictures of it this weekend.
The Brushy mountain box included a DVD from 1991 that was a little slow moving, but still had some interesting information. It included the book First Lessons in Beekeeping by Keith S. Delaplane. I must say that I thought the book was excellent. It covered everything very clearly and I recommend it highly. Order it through Brushy Mountain because it costs over $40 on Amazon.
The book did not downplay the problems that beekeepers have. I had some sleepless nights worrying about my future colony of bees. I want them to succeed, but the book listed so many things that can go wrong. There are problems with the bees and mites and diseases. If you hive is too successful it can split and half the bees run for a new home. If the queen dies it can mean disaster. I am seriously worried.
My next step is to order some “supers”. These are boxes that go on top of the hive. After reading things on the internet and Delaplane’s book, a single hive box is not enough room for the hive to thrive. I have to make some more room. I am also considering getting another hive box and starting a second backup colony. The odds are pretty good that the hive will die, and I want to be prepared with a second colony, just in case.
I will call Betterbee today and see if it is possible to get another starter package of bees.