When I was a kid, honey bees, and even native bees, were still very plentiful and benign. So, I grew to love them. They were all over my mother's big gardens and the fruit orchards. What I hated were wasps, but that's another story!
Honey bee keeping and growing big, big gardens were two things I looked forward to being able to do as soon as my own family acquired more space. Alas, Southern California real estate got terrifically expensive. Then, too, the introduction of the African bees in Utopia occurred, as everyone knows.
There's now a big liability in keeping bees as a hobby. The nice little Italian bee had been a good idea. The African bee was not. The purpose of it's introduction to South America, though an accidental release ruined big plans, was that it would yield more honey. Big Business must have demanded a bee that could be herded and milked for all it was worth but the African bees would have none of it! They knew their rights to their own honey, and exercised them vigorously! No one in their right mind keeps them as a business, let alone a hobby, within the city limits in California. Africanized bees can and regularly do, chase people up to a half mile in defense of their hives..
This month, Sun Magazine has a good article by a hobby bee keeper but he resides in the state of Washington. Unlike the nice little "H" bee, the nasty little "A" bee can't live in colder climates...yet.
Here's a great site on the history of bee keeping.