There are a number of ways of starting a colony but here are the most common:
A small NUC (nucleus) hive can be bought from beekeeping suppliers. A NUC consists of four or five frames of brood and honey along with a few thousand bees, including a queen bee. You buy these in the Spring, then place the frames in your own brood box with a divider which can be removed as the colony expands. As a member of Yalding Beekeepers you would be able to purchase a NUC from our apiary.
An alternative to a NUC is to purchase a package of bees. The package consists of several thousand bees and a queen but does not include any frames. You will probably need to pick up your packaged bees from a supplier. You tip the package of bees into your brood or NUC box and nurture them as they build their colony.
A third option is to catch a swarm. For this you will probably need the assistance of an experienced beekeeper or bee association member who would be happy to set you up with a swarm when they catch one.
Lastly, you could purchase a ready established hive complete with bees from a local supplier.