I have read in more than one publication that it is better to start out with 2 hives (and 2 packages) than with just one hive, in case the one is weak or something happens. Is that true? If so I will go ahead and order another package and a hive.
More than one! Really though, having more hives within reason, gives you options that you don't have with one. Adding green brood if you need a queen or if you're working on a laying worker hive, monitoring health between hives, honey, etc. More than one is good.
Two is the way to go, order another and it will help you by being able to compare the progression of both plus if one gets into trouble you can help it along by taking a frame or two of brood if needed.
Ok, the place I ordered my first package, Rossman Apiaries, is out of packages now. If I order from another place, should I get Russian hybrids or Italians? From what i have read, the Russians are more resistant to mites, but are more prone to rob. I do not know what kind of bees the Rossman bees are.
I doesn't really matter what you start with; by the end of the summer you'll likely have mutts.
Another reason to start off with more than one hive is because it's just more fun. You will find watching Bee TV very enjoyable.
I started last year with 2 hives. One hive stayed strong and the other hive weakened at the end of the year. I will requeen her this spring. Had I only had 1 hive I would not have been able to compare the two and would not know that there was a problem with the weak hive.
Two is balanced. One is "iffy". Now I'm getting two more for a total of 4. Just make sure you stay ahead of them and have at least one extra hive for expansion, if needed. Stay ahead of the weather, have more supplies on hand.
"Get two, learn to work them, keep them alive thru the winter,.."
Other than the added expense of setting up more than one hive,..there is always the possibilty [given the mites/other diseases] that a new beekeeper might lose both [or two or three] hives come spring and be,..2 times,..3X,..4X,..as disappointed [depressed ] that they all died over the winter.
With more than one hive, one tends to spend less time inspecting/learning about each hive and that may be better for the bees in general.
thanks everyone for all the info and ideas.
I don't think I would ever capture a swarm here from someone's property if called, because we have AHB here.
I will probably just try to stick with my bees, and re-queen every year to try to keep bees from getting hot/AHB'd.
If you have any other ideas though, keep posting! Thanks again!
Read my post 'winter losses' on the bee forum thread. If you like your chances and feel that the added expense for an additional hive is too great - that's what I thought and now I have none. I neither had the ability (had I been experienced), nor had the immediate resources to resolve my weak hive issue going into winter - ie combining hives.
If this is an experiment to see if you like the experience (like me), maybe the 1 is enough - if you feel like you are going to stick with it (like me), start with 2. The additional bees, comb and other resources can come in very handy. Plan out your configuration (deeps vs mediums) tho so you can use your resources - a deep brood frame doesn't fit easily into a medium box.
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