I have been wanting to get bees for quite a while, but have been putting it off because I'm afraid. Not of bees, mind you. On the contrary...I LOVE bees and each year I have extensive gardens and fruit trees that are just teaming with bees. What I'm afraid of is failure. I'm afraid that if I buy a hive, I will end up losing/killing them due inexperience and/or sheer ignorance. :( Even though I have several books on beekeeping and have read them over and over again, I feel totally overwhelmed and even more confused then ever. Some seem to go overboard with the equipment requirements (full suite, gloves, veil, etc.) and a host of medicines and chemicals (my gardens and trees are all chemical free), and others not so much. But while I don't want to use anything that is not necessary or make things any harder than it needs to be, at the same time I don't want to not do enough and risk harming/killing the bees.
And as yet, I am still undecided as to the type of hive to buy. While I like the idea of an 8-frame garden style (it may be silly, but I like the pitched copper roof) and it would easier for me to handle, I have read from some that unless you keep buy from the same company that made the hive, it's hard to find frames and foundation that fit, and that even then it's subject to change. It seems as the 10-frame Langstrom is pretty much universal, no matter what company you buy from, but the 10-frame set up is heavier and would be much harder for me to handle. :-\
Not only do I have to decide on the woodwork (8- or 10-frame, garden or standard, etc.), but I also have to decide on what strain of bees I should get. I really need your expert advice here, folks! And what about the bees that currently visit my gardens? They may be from a neighbors hive, but I don't know of anyone nearby that has any so they could even be wild, I simply don't know. What I do know is that they are very tame and they will crawl on my bare hands if I put my hand out to them when they are on the flowers. In the summer there are literally hundreds of them in my gardens and around the shallow water fountain I have set up. But what happens if/when I get my own hives, will they compete and fight? Will there be enough food to go around? I have a 5 gallon container of raw dark honey that I recently bought at an estate auction (the owner raised bees before he passed), and have that available to feed them if needed.
What I do know is that if I'm going to get my own bees this year, I'd better get a move on before it gets to late to order. So I'd appreciate any and all feedback that would help me in my decision making. :)