You're in the right place for bee info, thats for sure!
This is what I know.....I really like the kind of hive you got and I would like to get a couple like it but they cost more than the regular square hives.I think the only differences are the tops. I like the pointed copper tops better than flat but the bees dont care.
Beekeeping for Dummies is a GREAT book! The reason I believe this is that sometimes, like I did, reading some bee books leave you with questions like "whats that mean?" or "How do I do that?", or "Whats that?"...With the "Dummie" book, once you've gone thru it the other books start to make much more sense!
I started bees last spring and had a bunch of the same questions as you do now. I rememberd fishing with a guy named Luke so I called him and he helped alot and explained alot of bee terminology(Not enough to O.D. on tho.).
You probably should get another hive before spring. Like people here said, It helps with 2 hives so you can tell if somethings not quite right. If I hadnt had 2 hives I may have lost all my bees pretty quick.(of course, again, Luke told me about doing some tricks with the 2 hives and my bees were saved)
I got my bees(2 3 lb. packages with queens, costing about 200$) from R Weaver and they were a very informative Co. (Risa was the womans name who helped me when I called(several times) about what to do....But, remember this if you can.You should order bees now as R Weaver is supplying people with THOUSANDS upon THOUSANDS of bees and queens and they WILL run out. I ordered mine in November and got them in April. Im going to order more this year but I havent placed the order yet. I hope I dont have to wait too long for them to arrive.
Oh boy!!...And talk about exciting!!!..I was THRILLED driving down the road from the post office with 2 packages of bees in the front seat with me!!It made me feel like I felt when, in the movie" A Walk In The Clouds" when they all were fanning the air airound the grapes to keep the frost away!!...ok, enough of that... I, after all the reading and looking at pictures about installing package bees , just went kind of stupid...wasnt sure of what to do but did it anyway!
If you have a cell phone maybe you can find someone to kind of help you along while you're installing bees...Hmmmm....This is your husbands project right??LOL!!..I'm lucky enough that my buddy Paul helped me...My wife filmed it!!
If you come to this forum regularly you'll get tons of good advice! And I think you did real good getting a bee hive for your husband for Christmas, Especially if he's been showing an interest in beekeeping! I would like to get lots of people bee hives for Christmas but that would get pretty expensive. My wife thinks I want to do this just to get all the hives back!
Well. Thats all, and hope to see you here again!