A beekeeper is a person who keeps honey bees. Honey bees produce commodities such as honey, beeswax, pollen, propolis, and royal jelly, while some beekeepers also raise queens and bees to sell to other farmers and to satisfy scientific curiosity. Beekeepers also use honeybees to provide pollination services to fruit and vegetable growers. Many people keep bees as a hobby. Others do it for income either as a sideline to other work or as a commercial operator. These factors affect the number of colonies maintained by the beekeeper.
Apiculture is the science of beekeeping. Humans have collected honey from wild bee hives for more than 8,000 years, as shown in Mesolithic rock paintings dating from 6000 B. C. E. By 2500 B. C. E. , Egyptians were keeping bees in artificial hives. Hives exploit the honeybees’ natural tendency to build nests in cavities, and allow apiculturalists to easily move (via boat, wagon, truck) and manipulate bee colonies. This mobility has allowed beekeepers to introduce honeybees around the world: The first hives were brought to the New World in the 1620s by European settlers.