You have decided to be a keeper of honey bees; that is Awesome!
First, educate yourself!
A honey bee colony is a living animal that deserves to be cared for properly. You are beginning beekeeping at a time in which honey bees are struggling to stay alive. Beekeeping is more difficult than it was prior to 1990’s when invasion of the parasitic varroa mite. In addition, the bee population now faces the additional novel stressors of persistent European and American foulbrood, Nosema, loss of forage, the effects of climate change (shorter winters), and pesticide exposure. It is more difficult to keep healthy bees than it is to care for a pet (for which you generally need only to provide food and water). The more you understand the biology of colony health and dynamics, the more successful you can be at beekeeping. Bees see and respond to environmental cues very differently than humans. In order to be a better beekeeper it will be essential to learn to see the world through the eyes of the bee and to “think” as a honey bee.
The following links are to sites that can help you to first be educated and how to get started:
Micheal Bush: The Practical Beekeeper
Natural Beekeeping Trust
Eco Bee Box
Dancing Bee Garden
Mother Earth Articles on Beekeeping
Parker Bees: Treatment free guide to keeping bees
Keeping Backyard Bees/