There are bee keepers and there are honey producers. I never wanted honey. I was a 25 year old computer programmer when I started noticing flowers. Then a science book by Gould and Gould hooked my facination with these tiny creatures. I could hardly believe all the mysterious gifts for memory, navigation, and learning that they demonstrate. I started noticing crawling honey bees on the street and would pick them up and study them.
I have trained wild honey bees to a feeder on my window sill. One certain bee I will never forget came every morning for many weeks, and I found her dead inside my room on the window sill, as if she meant to die there. If she had been trapped by the window, I would have heard her buzzing. That really blew my mind. Then I knew that the honey bee has a heart and that the honey bee knows love.
My first hive was destroyed by carpenter ants in 2003. After that, I started drinking. I became an alcoholic. But I kept on training the wild ones and visiting a local bee yard regularly. Last year, I decided to get sober. Six months into my recovery, I put another hive together with a Georgia queen and two honey supers covered with workers. After only 5 months, I witnessed my first swarm. It was a nuc swarm, so it was a small swarm.
I am pleased to find others in this forum who are more interested in bee keeping than honey producing. That is to say, more sensitive to the needs and even the preferences of the honey bee, rather than only what they can get out of it. I bet there might also be a few here who cringe at the thought of artificial insemenation of queens, chemical treatments and such. And that's probably enough of my story for now. Thank you.