Does beekeeping cost a lot of time? I'm interested in keeping bees myself when I'm graduated. Another question, how close can one get before the bees start to become protective of there hive and go stinging you?
Bee keeping can be as little as one weekend a month to once a week when they honey is there to be harvested. Hives need to be checked for rogue bees, make sure the queen is doing well, no drones are being hatched, no new queens (that means the hive will swarm)
Nice, gentle domestic bees will pretty much let you approach quite close (NO perfume please) Quietly step, no stomping the ground, etc. They do like sweets and I wouldn't have them in town where there is a lot of activity and vibrations. I have known grade schools that kept bees, and gentleman/woman farmers in the suburbs. The Africanized bees are more sensitive to vibrations and more likely to aggressively go after things they like or dislike. Italians are probably the most popular bees for small home honey production because they are so docile.
I you are starting to keep bees, you want a bee suit, gloves, veil, suitable hat and shoes. That said, every experienced beekeeper I know rarely suit up unless it is a wild hive (swarm) they are capturing. Your bees know you, they know your odor and your way of moving. If you are afraid, sweating from nervousness, jumpy, wear scents of any type, then you are likely to be stung. Thus the bee suit. After you have been keeping a while using the suit, then you no longer are afraid so you can wean out of it. An experienced beekeeper I knew carried his "just in case". We were preparing to move hives (duct tape and foam) and one hive got cranky. Once one hive gets cranky they all those around do too. He used I word I'd not heard him say before (I was 16), put down his tools, and tromped off to the bee truck and got his suit. He was well stung that day. I never saw that again.
A special word of caution:
MAKE SURE YOU ARE NOT ALLERGIC TO BEE STING AND CARRY A KIT WITH YOU ALWAYS
Remember, you have to be stung twice to develop an allergy. Just being stung once and not having a reaction doesn't count. Everyone doesn't have a reaction the first time they are stung/bitten/exposed. It is the second time that the antigens have been formed and you will have a reaction or not. This applies for anything, poison oak/sumac, shell food, chicken eggs. At any time you can develop a life-threatening allergy to bees, even if you have been stung a hundred times before. Especially as you age, us old cronies are not as tough as we thought we once were. Get and carry a bee kit (anaphylaxis kit) if you are keeping (hiking, wilderness outback, search and rescue - anyplace you might be more than 5 minutes from medical care)
((ed. I keep thinking of more to say. A combination of many years as a medic and a few years working with a commercial keeper))