Re: e) Buying nuc vs. package bees
IMO the risk of disease is less with packages. Packages only come from commercial producers, it is very easy to research what sources people have good luck with and what sources to avoid. With a nuc it is more important to get a good recommendation for a supplier... Anybody can raise a nuc and they may be full of disease.
If I wanted to purchase a nuc as somebody who was new to beekeeping I would ask on here who to go with. Buy from the members who have a long history on the forum and frequent posts. It shows that they have a reputation with the forum which they value so they are less likely to sell a bad product that word of will resurface on the forum. Members with few posts and/or a short history can just as easily sell a bad product and then resurface under a new user name.
Avoid searching for random websites when looking for nucs... you never know what you will get. I know of one person selling "Northern Survivor" stock at a premium, but on their website it states that their mother queens come from a supplier in Southern California. There are all kinds of shady deals out there... which is why I would only go with good recommendations from either this site or your local bee association.
Always question Conventional Wisdom.