Ok, based on the replies, I have the following for action items:

  1. Continue to read/learn/watch instructional material
  2. Ad on CL seeking space for bees.
  3. Attend local and state bee club meetings (volunteer and seek mentor once comfortable)
  4. Consider DIY top bar hive instead of Langstroth (need lumber pricing; find out considerations for management, especially in subsequent years)
  5. Research commercial and/or independent operators for different perspectives
  6. Find out hidden beekeeping costs, especially for years 1 & 2


Have I overlooked anything? After reading the replies, I feel more optimistic that we can work things out with adequate planning. As far as that's concerned, for equipment purposes, the plan is to get smokers and commercial veils, but go with TIG welding gloves (husband already has these) and painters' suits (cheap) - at least in the short run. For the hive, we were originally thinking about contacting Dadant or Virginia Bee about 8-frame medium hive bodies. I have RA, so lifting anything heavier by myself is a no-go without my other half. (I'll have to do some research on the top-bar hive to see if that might work out.)

Are there any ways to potentially save money when buying packages or nucs? I'm kind of assuming that we don't want to skimp on bee quality, but have to ask.

Thanks again, everyone, for your time.