The product from hives is honey and the very rare drop royal jelly. Honey vendors for 2s2c to any merchant or sells on the auction house (average on my server 20s each/harvest is around 29 honey a harvest) as it's used in cooking, alchemy and for trade packs.
Royal jelly is used primarily as a sealant (wax nugget) that were required in Alpha for submarines. As subs haven't been added back yet, we can assume it may be an ingredient but ? knows for sure! It is still used for one item Framed Butterflies.
You can make a beehive with the Handicraft profession. It is a low level skill, so anyone can make one. For one Acorn Beehive, you will need to be at a Handicraft Kiln (50 labor) with the following materials:
- Three Acorn: from fruiting Oak trees (you can grow, wild harvest or buy off the AH)
- Five Aspen Hardwood: rare drop from Aspen trees (the pricey item on my server)
- Twenty Lumber: three logs equal one lumber refined, so sixty logs total
- One Dawn Lake Light Essence: refined from fish. Depending on the fish - 10 rare; 20 uncommon; or 100 common make one essence. (Usually cheap on the AH if you don't fish)
- One Nymphal Queen Bee: see below on where to catch one or buy off the AH
Once it is made it can be placed on your farm. Beehive footprint is on the large size, so does not fit on 8x8 or around 16x16 smaller houses. You can fit eight on a 16x16 farm with room for a few other things and they do fit on the thatched roof cottage or homes.
Beehives go through distinct phases/stages and the longer you wait the better the outcome. Royal Jelly harvests - in theory - are available at any stage. Note, the labor cost goes up considerably for each stage as well. I haven't tried beehives without queens, as in theory they are suppose to still produce honey, but at a lesser amount.
Alluring beehive. No honey. Lasts approximately two days.
Moist beehive. 200 labor. Small amount of honey. Supposedly a chance of Royal Jelly. Lasts approximately one day.
Sweet beehive. 400 labor. Some honey. Small chance for Royal Jelly. Lasts approximately one day.
Prosperous beehive. 600 labor. Harvest time! Chance for Royal Jelly. Average is 29 +/- honey per harvest.
You can net this queen for another hive or to sell on the AH. (My server a nymphal queen sells for 4-10g). Otherwise you can just harvest the honey. You can't do both though, it's honey or the queen! If you think you want to capture this queen have an extra net in your inventory.
When you are harvesting honey, you will get stung if you're not wearing a veil (recipe below). These are pricey on the AH, often running as much as an acorn beehive, because of the materials to craft. If you do not wear a veil you will get a debuff as the bee's sting you. It's a minor slow and makes you run around for a few seconds. Nothing serious, IMHO, so I haven't bothered with a veil yet.
As your Husbandry skill increases, the labor cost to harvest your hives does go down. I'm only at 37,305, but did get a reduction in labor use down from 600 to 540. The XP for harvesting a prosperous is a nice chunk - 42,525 xp - too.
ACQUIRING A QUEEN BEE
Queen bees are tamed from wild bees. You'll need a queen bee net to catch her (recipe below). Now that the start zones aren't so populated it's fairly easy to find a queen bee buzzing around. Queen bees are located in Haranya in Mahdevi and Falcorth Plains and in the Nuia in Solzreed Pennisula and White Arden.
Queen surrounded by Queensguard bees.
Make sure you have a queen bee net or two with you. Once you have your net go forth and locate a queen. You'll need to reduce her health before netting her as if you do not lower her health enough she can break the net. If you're high level, use an ability that will not one shot her or dot her to death. Also remove your weapons so you don't auto attack kill her (yes I did that!), she only has 1500hp. The queens in White Arden are level 24, one star, so not so fragile as the other queens.
Net down, capturing started
Net fully open, queen bee captured.
Other beekeeping items to have in inventory are smoke beads and veil.
The smoke beads will kill pests in your beehive (it will be blinking red and shaking) and the hive can be destroyed if you do not smoke the hive in time.
The veil will keep you from being attacked when harvesting honey. I found the stinging was a minor annoyance/buff, so don't really worry about the veil. The smoke beads I would carry one or two just in case.
BEEKEEPING RELATED RECIPES
Queen Bee Taming Net
Leatherwork Bench. 50 labor.
Five Leather: Refined from pelts. One leather=three pelts (turkeys or pigs are easiest)
Twenty Memory Ink: Purchase from General Merchant
One Pearl: From aqua farming pearls
A hive with a smoke bead cleaning it.
Handicraft Kiln. 20 labor
One Lumber: Three logs = one lumber
One Hay Bale: from seed bundles or buy off the AH
Two Blue Salt Knives: purchase from General Merchants
Must have 500 proficiency Leatherwork. 250 labor
Twelve Leather: Refined from pelts. one leather=three pelts, so thirty-six pelts
One Cashmere Thread: yata fur and one downy yata fur
Ten Handicraft Yarn: Tailoring. Goat, yata and bear fur
Three Moonlight Archeum Shard: drops from mobs or purchase AH
One Small Seed Oil: Alchemy