Buying established colonies
Purchasing established colonies is not recommended for beginners, but experienced beekeepers may find this a practical means to increase their number of colonies. Problems associated with buying used equipment and bees include determining the true market value, the potential of picking up disease, and getting equipment that is highly variable in condition and possibly not of standard dimensions.
While financial returns from an established colony can be realized in the first season, beginners usually are not adequately experienced to manage a full-strength colony. Purchasing smaller units such as packages or nucs in the spring allows a beginner to develop better beekeeping skills and grow in confidence and managerial skills as the colony size increases during the season.