Most people realize that beekeeping is important to world-wide agricultural production, because bees pollinate fruits and vegetables valued in billions of dollars. Without the honey bee, our food supply could be in serious jeopardy. The economic value of honey, wax and other hive products is continually increasing as we find new uses for bee-related products. People of either sex or any age can keep bees almost anywhere. When asked why they become beekeepers, people’s responses are variable, including “to pollinate my garden,” “to make honey to sell,” “to teach my children something useful,” “to put honey on my biscuits,” “as therapy,” to understand “what makes bees tick,” because they thought it would be fun and “because I just like foolin’ with ‘em.”
There are many factors to consider before becoming a beekeeper and setting up your own honey bee colonies. This section contains information on the more important ones and may help you decide if beekeeping is right for you.
The first step in becoming a beekeeper is deciding if you actually want to be one. It would be a shame to commit a lot of time, effort and money in setting up a few bee colonies only to discover that you really don’t enjoy beekeeping. There are several good ways to find out what’s in store for you as a beekeeper. These include reading some of the vast amount of literature on the subject; attending local, regional or state beekeeping association meetings; attending beekeeping educational classes; visiting beekeeping Web sites; and establishing a relationship with an experienced beekeeper.
"PB1745-Beekeeping in Tennessee," The University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Service, 05-0015 PB1745-6M-8/04 E12-4615-00-002-05, http://trace.tennessee.edu/utk_agexdise/2