First time buying bees
Hi Martin, I suggest that you attend a local bee club meeting to find a source of local bees. Sometimes club members go together to make a bulk purchases. A bee club is also an excellent place to learn from other beekeepers and to get all your new beekeeper questions answered. Typically clubs have an educational portion to every meeting.
I’m including a link to the Oregon State Beekeepers Association “affiliated regional clubs”. The clubs you might visit are the Portland Urban Beekeepers, Portland Metro Beekeepers, and/or The Willamette Valley Beekeepers.
As a beekeeper, you will be responsible for taking steps to keep whatever bees you purchase healthy. The Honey Bee Health Coalition released an excellent publication a year ago that is free to download. You will find this very helpful. The title is “Best Management Practices for Hive Health”.
Another tool for you from the Honey Bee Health Coalition is their “Tools for Varroa Management”. This also includes video links with information about testing for and treating for Varroa mites. Colonies that are not treated will typically die within a year or two.
A final resource that I’ll give you is a new website, “The Bee MD”. This is “a diagnostic application for use in the field to diagnose honey bee health problems”. This program is a collaborative effort of several universities, pollinator health groups, and the USDA. It will be useful for your entire beekeeping journey.
Enjoy your new adventure of beekeeping.