If you want bees this Summer, you have to start now.
You need to order your bee packages or nucs now. If you live near me, North Jersey or Southern NY, the best bet is to pick up a couple of packages from http://azapiaries.com/ The bees will be sold out in February. Reserve now.
The bees from AZ Apiaries are coming April 8 to the Palisades Mall Parking lot. Probably 4 or 5AM. Put your order in now. The other dates on the website are for Connecticut pickup only. (The date is usually delayed depending on weather, but the word is that a mild winter has resulted in large bee populations and the delivery might be on time this year)
These are very good bees from Wilbanks Apiary in Georgia. I have bought bees from 4 different sources and these were the best by far. They are healthy bees with low verroa counts. The queens are vigorous and the hives build very fast.
If you are a first time beekeeper you should order a Starter Kit. This includes the wood, frames, some tools, gloves and a veil. They have all you need to get started, but don’t assume that it has all you’ll ever need. You will be buying more wood and frames as you bees fill their hives with honey. These are for standard beekeeping boxes. You can also build your own boxes using some interesting styles. If you want to harvest honey, however, these are the best choice.
(seems to be most for your money)
(The one I bought because the shipping is lower.)
(you get much more stuff, but you have to it buy anyway. In NY you have to pay tax.)
This year I will be building a bunch of hive boxes out of cheap plywood and I’ll see if they hold up. The plans to build hive boxes are all over the place, just do a Google search. The plans, however, all require some woodworking equipment and expertise. I am going to see how far I can get with just a ruler and circular saw.