Beekeeping starts in the spring, so we're using our time until then to do some research before we commit $500+ for the start-up costs. Also, you don't get any honey the first year (the bees need it for themselves). So if we start keeping bees in April 2015, we won't see any 'free' honey until August or September of 2016. A long-term investment, and not exactly cheap, so we've been doing some reading & thinking about it. Some of the resources we've been checking out are listed below.
A couple of books from the public library:
Keeping Honey Bees, Sanford & Bonney, 2010
Keeping Bees, Vivian, 1986
We're taking a class in January (beginning bee-keeping) in Remington, at Virginia Beekeeping Supply. That's an in-person class, but there are online classes, and classes a little closer to home listed here.
There's also a local chapter of the Beekeeper's Association for NoVa.
Finally, the best part is looking at all the lovely hive choices! A quick search will retrieve many, but here are a few that have enticed us so far.
Bee Thinking, in Portland, OR - I'm especially partial to their copper-roofed Warre hives!
Valley Bee Supply, a little closer to home in Fishersville, VA
Dadant claims to be the oldest & largest supplier in the US
Of course it's not as easy and buying a cool-looking hive & finding a good spot in your yard. If you'd like to get a sense of what else you'll need (like a nuc), check out Richmond Honey Bee, which has an unbelievable amount of information and you can easily spend hours reading through all his posts & learning.
The Fairmont, in downtown DC, has 3 hives for honey and a new "hotel" for non-honey-making (but expert pollinating) bees. Read all about it in this Post article.
We still haven't committed to this enterprise, but if we do, we'll keep you posted!