I would like to share some of my thoughts about what to advise a newbie what/how to start, please include your ideas.
I initially wanted to use all mediums. I have a bad back. I am recreational. I currently have 4 hives. I started with 2 packages.
Both packages did not make a full year. I moved to nucs.
Start with a 5 frame nuc, especially if your weather can be iffy in spring or flow time. Nucs mostly come in deep frames. My first nuc is the strongest hive I have. From that hive I have a split. The second nuc was purchased this year from the same bee yard.
This forced me to go to deeps for the brood area for the nucs. I then noticed that in the brood area the bees made really nice consistent comb (as they should for brood) and kept a moderate amount of honey and plenty of pollen along the top crescent of each frame.
I don't plan on harvesting any deep frames as a routine. If the queen has enough down there to lay in, and the hive is not over crowded, the supers will be all honey and nothing else. Mind you this comb will not be consistent. Little buggers want to use every bit of space to store the honey. Even a full super is too heavy for me and I harvest a frame at a time.
Unless you are really sure you are going to be involved with cutouts, or if you live close enough to have to worry about Africanized (AHB) bees, you only need a jacket and jeans. I strongly recommend the Ultra Breeze or equivalent 3 layer type especially if involved with the AHB.
Bees can sting easily through goatskin. They can also penetrate and sting regular hide gloves....thus killing the bees and not getting you. But I got some gloves rated for chemicals at Home Depot. They suck to wear as they really don't fit. They are thicker than dish gloves but not as thick as some, green in color, kind of cloth on the inside. The exterior is smooth and the bees cannot get a stinger in, thus they live and I don't have an allergic reaction.
Smoker and hive tool. Long hive tool for leverage. Some have an offset on the hook end so you can use as a fulcrum to slowly break the proplis on the frame to remove it. Biggest smoker you can get. Because when you forget to puff it to keep it going, it still keeps going. Anything works, dry grass makes them just go nuts on gorging on honey and really calms them better. I don't have many pine needles but I would assume the same....use natural stuff, easy to get. I use mostly sawdust as that is my commodity. Grass isn't always burnable here.
You don't have to see the queen! Look for eggs, brood, capped brood. You have visible eggs and your hive is okay. Don't bother them any more than necessary to keep track of ... 1. space - do they have enough. 2. signs of illness. 3. eggs and brood pattern. 4. signs of superseceedure or swarming.
It takes a experience to be able to tip a box or hive to determine if they have enough honey. At first that is not a good way to check until you have learned the 'feel'. You don't need to look at every frame either. Lifting a super of honey will suffice in most cases. Ask yourself what your reason is for inspecting the hive before you inspect. It saves time.
Benadryl for when you get stung
So, I am still really a newbie, but