I'm a newbie to the forum but have, in the past, had a few hives. I live in Melbourne and i'm looking at getting back in to the hobby.
I was wondering - is it too late in the season to start a hive? I'm wanting to set up an 8 frame full depth hive and was thinking of just having a brood super over the winter months with supplemented feeding. I figured putting a honey super on this late in the season might stress them out too much not only trying to establish the brood and winter stores but also trying to draw the wax in the honey super, fill it, cap it etc.
In terms of sourcing the colony i have two options:
1) Purchase a colony and have it put in to my hive
2) Purchase a queen and obtain some frames of brood, honey & workers
I'm keen to start with a nice docile italian queen - option 1) will give me a colony but i don't know what the queen will be. Option 2) ensures i get a young queen of my choosing but she will be a virgin - i wonder if it's too late in the season for her to mate? and as i will be adding frames of brood, honey and workers would i have enough new drones or would she have to rely on 'hopefully' finding one in the field? I live in the suburbs and it's not common to see a huge number of bees in my area. Also, as i would likely be adding 4 frames of brood/honey/workers is there enough time left in the season for them to draw out the other four frames of foundation, fill it, cap it and also get sufficient brood to maintain the hive over winter?
Can anybody recommend places in Victoria where i might be able to buy a nucleus hive, or some frames of brood/honey/workers or even purchase a colony?
Obviously over winter i would ensure i provided some supplementary feeding
Thanks for your time