I got my first hive about 5 years ago and I've been stung by the bee bug. I built my colonies up to 12 hives over the first few years but lost them all last Spring when my neighbors tented their house for termites and left their rain barrels under the tent. Once the tent was removed my bees watered there and piles of dead bees were heaped in front of each hive. I had just invested in a new 18 frame extractor and 20 new supers and all my bees were now dead. Instead of giving up I bought 7 nucs Easter Day and resurrected my apiary. Over the Summer I built up hives, made splits, caught swarms and did removal cutouts and once again have 12 hives going into winter. I even managed to harvest 350 lbs. of honey from about 5 strong hives during the Fall Brazilian pepper flow. There is a big demand for local honey here and not really any other beekeepers in the city with enough hives to sell honey. I'm hoping to build up to 20 hives by the end of next Summer. Lord willing. Most of my lessons so far have been through trial and error but I'm hoping to glean from those with more experience.