>Three mediums for the usual two deeps? Does this mean a longer wait to be able to add the honey super(s) ?
Not at all. I start packages in five frame medium nucs that hold a total of five frames. They build up faster than in a ten frame deep because they can mainatain the heat and humidity to raise brood and they can control the space they have from wax moths, ants, robbers etc. You will just add space in smaller increments.
>I really did not know there was a choice in foundation cell size. I am learning already.
Bees naturually, typically build worker brood cells somewhere in the range of 4.8 to 5.0mm with a few outside that at either end. Standard foundation is 5.4mm. "Small cell" foundation is 4.9mm. I run mostly natural cell by using starter strips or foundationless frames, so the bees build what they want.
Varroa are the biggest problem in recent years and they reproduce in the capped cells. Since bees on natural sized cells cap them sooner and emerge sooner there are less Varroa reproduced.
>you don't like top feeders either? Drowning?
About the only feeders I've really liked are a mason jar over the inner cover or, my favorite, a Rapid Feeder from www.beeworks.com
. I have most every kind of feeder except maybe a candibox and the new Mann Lake hive top feeders. There are several things I don't like about a hive top feeder. If it's a "miller" with the screen to keep the bees out of all but a small amount of syrup I like them better, but they still sometimes find an entrance to the syrup from the top and drown in large numbers. They are hard to take on and off the hive without spilling syrup. They have a large surface area that gives off a lot of smell and tends to set off robbing. Still I like them better than most. The Brushy Mt style with floats has even more drowning. Then if they leak (which sooner or later they will) you have a LOT of drowned bees who where even in the feeder.
>In the northeast, I assume it is time to buy and set up equip and tools for the spring bee delivery? Too late to start a new hive?
If you can find someone selling an established hive, you could start now, but a nuc or package you should wait for spring now.