This guide is going to help you get started with bees.
To start breeding bees, you'll need bees first. They can be found in Bee Hives, all around the map.
You are going to need a scoop and a smoker to mine those hives. A scoop is made like so:
Hives are easier to find at night, because most of them emit light. Bees can also be found under water, in caves, in the Nether and even in the End.
When you break a bee hive with a scoop, you're guaranteed to get at least a princess. You can get a drone and maybe a comb, but not always. We'll talk about those later.
To start using bees, you'll need machines. The first 'machine' you'll need is a Sturdy Casing. They are made like so:
To use any bee to your advantage, you will need an apiary. Bees can breed and produce combs in the apiary. Apiaries are made with Impregnated Casing. To craft it you'll need a Squeezer, to squeeze Seeds into Seed Oil and get the seed oil you need to craft it. Seed oil is also used in a lot of recipes, later on. You will also need an engine, e.g. Clockwork Engine, to power the Squeezer.
The next machine you'll want is a Carpenter. This machine is used to craft any bee machines other than the squeezer and carpenter, and it will be needed to craft an Apiary. You will also need an engine, e.g. Clockwork Engine, to power the Carpenter.
You'll need 250 mB (milliBuckets - 1/4 bucket) to make Impregnated Casing, the most important part of an Apiary. Too bad you can't transfer 250 mB of seed oil. Squeeze up 1 bucket of seed oil (this means a LOT of seeds), and put the bucket in the carpenter's liquid interface. You can now craft the casing as follows:
We now have enough materials to make an apiary! Craft it like so:
To start making bee products, you'll need to put a drone and a princess in the apiary. The bottom left slot is for drones, and the top left is for princesses. Once the princess and drone are inserted into the apiary, they will create a queen. If you put in a forest princess and a meadows drone into an apiary, there is a random chance that the queen will have either the meadows or forest bee icon. You'll want to make sure that it's day, that the apiary has a clear view of the sky, and that there are flowers nearby. Bees can be picky about their environment, so make sure your bees are compatible with where you have placed the apiary (i.e., you can not breed water bees in a desert biome, or vice versa).
On the left of the honeycomb-shaped part of the apiary's HUD, there are three rectangular slots. These are used for frames, which increase the chance of creating extra bees.
Untreated frames are very cheap compared to other frames. They do not last long, though.
If you've got some seed oil, you can make impregnated sticks in a Carpenter.
Impregnated frames last longer than untreated frames.
Proven frames can be bought from beekeeper villagers. They last even longer.
To find out more about a specific bee, you'll need a Beealyzer. They are made like so:
The top right slot should be supplied with honey drops or honeydew, and then you're ready to scan bees. Move your bee between the slots I-V to find out about different stats and traits of it.
You can get honey drops and other products from your bees by putting their combs in a centrifuge. Not every kind of comb gives something. If you have the Not Enough Items (NEI) Addon, you can see the percentage for getting a certain item from a honeycomb in the centrifuge. A centrifuge takes RF to run, and is crafted like so:
Put your combs in the left-hand side and they will get processed. If you happen to get Silky Propolis, you should put it in there as well. It has a small chance to give you Propolis, which is essential in further bee machines.