This is only our second year keeping bees, but one thing I'm really glad we did was to start out with two hives last year. Believe it or not, things can go wrong. We ended up with a sterile queen in one (my) hive, while the other hive (my wife's, of course) flourished. We did get a new queen, but the hive never recovered. Had we been more experienced, we would have supplemented the weak hive with brood from the strong hive. In the end, my hive died off, while my wife's produced 100 pounds of honey. Had we only started with one hive, and things were to go wrong, we might have decided bees weren't for us. Fortunately, our supplier stands behind there bees. We received a new package of bees this year, so we are back to two hives again.