It was great! Well, maybe not so great for the bees. And my husband got stung. But I had a great time! LOL Hives were all set up - dry place, but near water, electric fencing, hives facing the morning sun but getting late afternoon shade, close enough to the house for observation with binoculars but far enough not to be disturbed by kids or pets or livestock - pant legs inside the socks, hoods on, gloves on, hive tools in the pockets - a couple of nails for pricking the sugar plugs - quarts of sugar water - we were all SET, right? We opened the first package - lifted the can and the queen slipped out of my grasp and fell down into the package. NOW WHAT?! Well, there was nothing to do but dump them all into the hive, which we did, then reach down into the swarm and retrieve the queen chamber. Boy, were they ticked off at this point! Anyway, sugar plug pricked, queen installed, really confused and angry bees flying everywhere! We were practically covered with bees. We walked away to give them some space for a while, but then we needed to something with the second package before it started raining again! Second package went really well. Didn't droop the queen - no bees escaped when we took her out thanks to my slide-that-bit-of-wood-back-over-the-hole-really-fast trick. Hung her up in the super and dumped all the other kids in - feeders in, lid on, no fuss no muss. One of the confused and angry bees flying around from the first package got under Tim's hood and got him right on the adam's apple, but he was fine and it was no big deal. So, we went down a few hours later to take a look - see how they were settling in and guess what... while Tim was trying to get the bee out his bonnet I put one of the hive tops on backwards so the bees are coming and going out of the back of the hive instead of the front! Oh well, at least they are the calm and happy bees who couldn't care less. I'll fix it eventually. Any advice at this point? We're reading like crazy, and have a couple of old bee-guys around here we've talked to briefly, but we are novices for sure. I know it's considered a no-no by some folks to buy used equipment, but I think I might be able to get a really nice, old extractor for next to nothing - I don't think I can afford to say no - unfortunately I haven't seen it yet and can't give you model/maker info - it's a friend of a friend and it looks promising. How best to clean/sterilize it - is hot water and bleach enough? Are there parts I should definitely replace immediately? Thanks and happy beekeeping, Liz.