Re: AHB in packages?
As a first time beekeeper, there are a lot more "real" issues for you to worry about than the remote possibility that you might be buying AHB bees. Most package bees are raised in the southern states, partly because its easier to raise bees "earlier" in a warmer climate. But reputable package vendors know what they are selling, and its not likely to be AHB bees. If you don't have confidence in your proposed vendor, buy elsewhere.
I personally would recommend you see if you can find someone local to your area that raises and sells bees that are already suited for your apiary location. If the vendor is close enough that you can do a local pickup, that avoids the cost and risk of package shipping. As each package incurs an additional shipping cost, the more packages you are planning on buying, there greater savings in doing a local pickup. There are lots of horror stories on the forum of bee shipping experiences "gone wrong."
USDA Zone 7a - elevation 1400 ft