Thank-you so much for the advice and encouragement and info, Phil! I really do like the guy who is helping me. He owns a very large company that created a patented system for filtering water for kidney dialysis clinics, so he's a smart guy. Yet most of the things he teaches me he says "now this is the way I do it, but that doesn't mean it is the best way. Other people may have better ideas and methods so it never hurts to read and listen to others. I can just tell you how I do it". I really like that attitude in a teacher, rather than someone who thinks they are the world's foremost expert and anyone who disagrees is just wrong. ANd in spite of him traveling all over the world to install his filter systems in dialysis clinics, he has been extremely generous with his time and genuinely seems to enjoy mentoring me. So yea, its a good thing to have a good teacher. Thanks, also, for the vocabulary tips- if I'm going to be a bee keeper I might as well sound like one!
Oh, Muddy, to clarify, I bought 2 packages of bees that included 2 queens- not 2 extra queens. Should I have got 2 extra queens? Also, since the price was only a few dollars more, I went ahead and got marked queens. I'm not sure if I'll ever see them or not once I put them in their hives, but I figure if I do I'll have a better chance of knowing which one she is. I know experienced keepers can easily spot her, but I'm not sure I could so it was worth a few extra dollars for me to have a better chance at finding her. BTW...I got Italian bees on my mentor's recommendation.