Honey bees are usually very gentle busy little creatures who mind their own business and usually don't worry about people or other animals.  
Honey bees live in a nest, called a "hive." The hive is ruled by the queen and it may contain tens of thousands of bees.  The queen is the largest bee in the hive and she is the only female to mate.  She may lay more than a thousand eggs each day and she can live for several years.  When needed, worker bees select one or more young larvae and feed it with a special food so it develops into a bee which becomes sexually mature and becomes a queen.  Typically, queens will sting only to fend off other potential queens.
Males (drones) live only to mate with a queen, and after mating, they die.  Drones do not have a father because they develop from an unfertilized egg.  The drones do not have a stinger.  At the end of the season, the worker bees remove the drones from the hive and let them die.
The females (workers) do all of the work inside and outside of the hive. They feed the larvae (babies), make the wax, build the honeycomb, clean the hive, remove the dead, store the pollen, make the honey, guard the hive, and collect the pollen and nectar.  During the summer months, they work so hard that her wings wear out and she only lives for about 6 weeks.  It takes 12 bees a lifetime to make 1 teaspoon of honey.
When a bee finds a good source of pollen and nectar, she goes back to the hive and does a little "dance" to tell the other bees where to find it.  Her dance tells them the direction and distance to go, and the direction is based on the angle to the sun. 
Regardless of the outside temperature, the workers surround the queen throughout the winter and twitch their muscles to keep her warm (93F). They survive by eating from the honey which they stored during the summer.
A small percentage of humans are allergic to bee stings and some even believe that bee venom may even help relieve arthritis pain.  The worker is usually the only bee likely to sting anyone and she does it only to protect her hive and honey.  After she stings, she will die. 
Becoming a beekeeper can be an educational, fun, and an exciting hobby or a business. You may produce and sell honey, candles, wax, pollen, and many other items. Our club usually meets each month throughout the beekeeping season and we have many people who will go out of their way to help you.
Beekeeping is practiced all around the world. Amazingly, honey has been recovered from the pyramids dating back thousands of years and it is still edible. Honey does not decompose like other foods, it may become a stable crystallized structure which can be warmed and be turned back to honey.
We encourage you to learn more about the honey bee.  In recent years, the honey bee has been experiencing many difficulties.  Each winter, a large percentage of the hives have been dying.  The cause is still being determined and it is commonly called the Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).
Beekeepers may purchase bees in a "package".  Packages usually contain 2 or 3 pounds of bees and each pound has about 3500 bees.  Read, read, and read some more to learn about this exciting little insect.
The practice of honey collection and beekeeping dates back to the stone-age, as evidenced by cave paintings.  Early settlers brought honey bees to North America from Europe.
We hope you take an interest in this fabulous little creature and we invite you to become a member of our beekeeping association.