Beekeeping (or apiculture) is the maintenance of honey bee colonies, commonly in man-made hives , by humans. A beekeeper (or apiarist) keeps bees in order to collect their honey and other products that the hive produces (including beeswax , propolis , pollen , and royal jelly ), to pollinate crops, or to produce bees for sale to other beekeepers. A location where bees are kept is called an apiary or "bee yard."
At some point humans began to attempt to domesticate wild bees in artificial hives made from hollow logs, wooden boxes, pottery vessels, and woven straw baskets or " skeps ". Traces of beeswax are found in pot sherds throughout the Middle East beginning about 7000 BCE. 
Honeybees were kept in Egypt from antiquity.  On the walls of the sun temple of Nyuserre Ini from the Fifth Dynasty , before 2422 BCE, workers are depicted blowing smoke into hives as they are removing honeycombs.  Inscriptions detailing the production of honey are found on the tomb of Pabasa from the Twenty-sixth Dynasty (c. 650 BCE), depicting pouring honey in jars and cylindrical hives.  Sealed pots of honey were found in the grave goods of pharaohs such as Tutankhamun.
In prehistoric Greece ( Crete and Mycenae ), there existed a system of high-status apiculture, as can be concluded from the finds of hives, smoking pots, honey extractors and other beekeeping paraphernalia in Knossos. Beekeeping was considered a highly valued industry controlled by beekeeping overseers—owners of gold rings depicting apiculture scenes rather than religious ones as they have been reinterpreted recently, contra Sir Arthur Evans. 
In ancient Greece , aspects of the lives of bees and beekeeping are discussed at length by Aristotle. Beekeeping was also documented by the Roman writers Virgil , Gaius Julius Hyginus , Varro , and Columella.