It is that time of year that those who are getting ready to start beekeeping are hopefully doing research. So I thought it would be a good idea to start a thread with early on mistakes made so others may avoid the same ones. I myself have killed thousands of bees, I wish I could have avoided that.
I think probably the number one mistake made is underestimating the Varroa mite. First year I was naive and thought I could get away with sugar dusting only. This past year I thought I was doing good by using hopguard. This year I will be sampling and using MAQS as needed. Packages are ok, but do a little research and try to find local nucs. Definitely start with at least two. Since you really should not count on getting honey the first year, I would let them build up and source some queens and split them. If average losses are 40%, then I would imagine that beginners losses are higher and more likely 60-75%. Why not try and give yourself a better overwintering chance. When spring comes and you do not want to have that many sell off extra colonies. As I said packages are ok, but from here on out I am treating them asap to knock down the mites to give them a better chance to tolerate mites. Breed is entirely up to the individual, after this year I will continue to use Carniolans. I feel they are more user friendly for beginners. They build up fast and make a lot of bees great for splitting. Make sure you feed your bees. Keep them fed during dearths and well fed going into winter. Along with feeding build robbing screens, they are very easy. A cheap investment that will save your bees. First year I did not recognize robbing soon enough, my colonies were already weak from varroa and it did not take much to kill off a few.
I am sure I missed something. Read, read, and watch YouTube videos. Be prepared to treat your bees!!