Re: chemical free package bees
Well, virtually all the worker bees in a package are destined to die (and be replaced) within about six weeks.
In my opinion, starting out with two hives (or more) is much more likely to affect your success than whether your bees come from a beekeeper who may use chemicals. Also, some consider that local bees have an advantage over non-local bees.
However, I did choose to buy bee packages from a relatively local producer who says he hasn't used chemicals in 10 years.
My bees are doing well, and I was pleased with my interactions with Tess Arnold.
USDA Zone 7a - elevation 1400 ft