Beekeeping is a leisure project that can yield much pleasure in return for such a small investment with your labor and money.
Once set up, a single colony can easily make 30 pounds or more of pure honey each year.
It is more than enough to provide the needs of the standard family of four or five and plenty to give away or even sell.
The colony will require only minor attention and a small amount of feeding to carry them through the wintry weather.
Also, check out these Apiarist books which will provide additional help.
Keeping Bees and Making Honey tells where to acquire your bees and how to care for them.
Honeybees collect food from an amazing diversity of vegetation.
Wild plants, such as crop blossoms, bushes, foliage, even weeds are a supply of nectar. They change this nectar into a sweet-scented honey which provides their essential protein requirements.
They also carry out the priceless service of pollinating most vegetation.
They are an effective labor force and money-making fruit growers and green house operators often import bees to pollinate their crops.
Apiary in America dates back to the beginning of the colonial era when British settlers initially brought bees to their Colonies. Honeybees were not inhabitants of America until that time.
Swarms began to fly away and establish themselves in the natural; these liberated living bees increased gradually westward to the border of the Great Plains, where the need of hollow trees for nesting was not available.
During the 19th century, bees reached the Far West, by pioneers carrying them in their wagons.
In colonial times, and long after that, they used straw hives. They were called skeps. In my part of the country they were kept in hollowed out trees.
Apiarist repeatedly found their hives destroyed by illness. Honey yields were frequently small to nothing. And often farmers would take all the honey leaving the bees to starve during the winter months.
But, thanks to a succession of advances since the 1850's beekeeping now is a methodically based, completely up to date venture.
History of Apiary and beehives is outlined here.
Apiary Equipment for the Bee Keeper