First year keeper. Should I plan on ordering new bee packages over the winter, or are there other options?
I started with two hives as my first year in the hobby. Currently one looks like it is queenless with laying worker/s. I have tried to put some brood from my healthy hive, and just added a new queen. However, I know there is still a pretty good liklihood I lose the hive at this point. My other hive looks good.
So I will go into my first winter (in the PNW) with a single hive healthy, and an empty or dying hive. I am also planning to buy a new empty hive as well, to have 3 total next year.
For the second year, should I order packages again in advance assuming I will lose my good hive? I'm not sure how common that is to lose the hive over winter, but I was told to expect it my first year.
And for the two empty hives, do I have any options that are reasonable for a new keeper to learn over the winter so I can make my own queens or packages to save on costs next year? Or would just getting new packages bee (ha ha) the way to go.