Re: First Time Questions (4.9 cells and more than one hive)
welcome to beesource ce!
getting started with bees is somewhat challenging even in the best of circumstances. sounds like you may be plowing new ground there if there aren't any established beekeepers to show you the way.
a couple of thoughts:
1. i agree with gmc that getting enough comb drawn might be difficult if your season is short.
2. regarding cell size, the evidence is inconclusive regarding advantages of small cell and mite control. having said that, i am transitioning my standard cell brood combs out and putting in foundationless frames to get the cells drawn naturally to the size they want.
3. look at the colleges and universities up there and find out if there are any entomologists on faculty. email them and ask if honeybees are occurring in the wild in your area. if yes, you have a shot at it. if no your colonies may not survive without extra care, and you'll have little to no chance getting queens mated meaning you will have to purchase queens any time your colonies lose theirs. if your queens can't mate anyway, having the extra colonies to donate eggs and brood from to a queenless hive is not as important.
4. here's a good thread about how those in the far north bring their hives in for overwintering:
5. although i don't have one, and it's not what santa brought you, observation hives are pretty cool. you may want to do a search on them.
i accidently got into beekeeping when some hives got left on my property and the gentleman that owned them passed away. the challenge of it all is what i enjoy the most. if you have that type of personality and don't mind the trial and error that it's going to take to see what works in your location, you will probably end up just as addicted as most who are posting here. good luck!
beekeeping since june 2010, +/- 20 hives, tf