Hello! This is my first post and I am in the crunch time preparing for three packages of bees arriving tomorrow. We were gifted two Warre hives from Beethinking last year, but too late to really get them started. We also have an old abandoned top bar hive, not sure who made it. We are trying to populate all three with packages, which we are scheduled to pick up tomorrow. I am reading the David Heaf "Natural Beekeeping" book, which I have found to be deceptively straight-forward and more often descending into a labyrinthine trap of options and vagueness. So, I turned to the Internet, but have been almost equally as perplexed in the lack of clear explanations. And so here I am, appealing as a total n00b, clearly in way over my head..
1) The underside of the bars on both types of hives are beveled. Does this mean I can just put in the bees, put the bars on and they will figure it out? Or do I need to futz around with starter wax or something?
2) The section in the Warre book on fixing or not fixing the bars and the implications for introducing the package bees was utterly confusing to me. The Warre hives did not come with any nails or spacer. Their customer service also has left something to be desired. Can someone explain what I should do tomorrow? We only have two boxes for each hive and I am feeling like we should space out the bars using nails of some kind that can be acquired easily from a hardware store.
3) The Warre book also says to oil the tops of the bars. We haven't done this and probably don't have time for it to cure before the bees arrive. The hive manufacturers said not to oil anything inside the hive, only the roof. In this situation the book suggests liberally smearing the bars with Vaseline. Is this necessary?
4) It is also supposed to get really cold this weekend, dipping down into the 20s overnight. The bee package folks suggested being ready with ~75lbs of pure cane sugar, made into syrup in 5gal buckets. The Warre book recommends using "candy" instead and warns not to make more than a day's worth of syrup ahead of time. Thoughts on this? He also says beet and organic sugar are fine, while the package bee folks warned against anything but pure cane sugar. They said it sounds like the book is outdated. Is there a better book with more straight forward and current advice?
I appreciate that there are a multitude of opinions and options out there, but it isn't helpful when I am just trying to visualize how it all works and what I need to be doing to make sure I get off to a decent enough start. If anyone can just take sympathy on me and straighten me out with some basic "what you need to do" kind of advice, I am happy to just follow some step by step directions at this point. Thanks!