I have an existing hive that I have not worked. I got in in late 2013 and only opened it once to see how the girls were doing. Was hoping to learn all I needed to know over the winter so I could begin working the hive in the spring. Short version of the story - we found out we were pregnant again, and life got in the way. Only able to watch them buzz around in the summer and the fall, and obviously did not harvest any honey. I also did not know to put a super on to let them have room to expand, so I feel very lucky that they have not swarmed! On warmer days I do see them starting to emerge now, so they did survive the winter all right. Until it gets a bit warmer than it is now, I can't open it to see inside - and that prompts my question.
I have ordered 2 packages through my local club, and I have 2 hive boxes on order. Each has a deep and 2 medium supers. From reading the comments on here, I think watching a package start small and grow would be awesome. But in my New Beekeeper's Class, they showed us the results of a recent club poll, and most members say that they would recommend Nucs to the new beekeeper as the preferred way to go. One suggested starting a Nuc *and* a package to see how both compare. That is what has me thinking.
In the For Sale section of this site I see someone selling Nucs locally. I contacted him and he does have one for sale. Should I get one? Right now I will have an existing hive and 2 empty hives with packages. If I get a 4th hive, I would have the option of trying to split my existing hive or adding a Nuc to it. Perhaps the smartest thing would be to not do a 4th one at all, but I don't want to miss out on anything that will give me bee experience! If you were a new person in my position, what would you do? (Or, what would you do differently if you were new?)