The beekeeper who is successful at his craft provides the bee colony with adequate supplies of each of the following: a place to live, nectar, pollen, propolis, and water.
A place to live: In the wild, the honey bee uses a number of natural cavities to build their brood nest. Cavities in trees are a common place to find a wild hive. Man can keep bees by providing them with the equivalent of a hole in a tree.
Nectar: Bees can't make honey without nectar, the liquid sugary substance produced by flowers. Hundreds of plants produce nectar but they are not all major sources of honey. However, bees do produce crops of honey from certain major nectar sources which inlclude: bramble, dandelions, clover, heather, oil-seed rape, and many wild flowers.
Pollen: As worker bees gather nectar from flowers, tiny particles of pollen stick to their bodies and are accumulated in pellets on their hind legs. The hind legs are equipped with pollen baskets: hairs and special structures on the bees' leg to carry the pollen back to the hive. Pollen is sometimes referred to as "beebread". Pollen contains the nutrients that are converted into larval food by special glands in the worker bees which is then used to feed young larvae. It should be noted that honey bee workers also produce what is called "Royal Jelly". Royal Jelly is a special food that is given to larvae that are destined to become queen bees.
Propolis: This substance is used by the bees to cement holes and cracks in their hive. It is gathered by honey bees from secretions produced by trees and shrubs.
Water: As for all living things water is essential for the survival of the hive. Bees should always be located near a good water source or one should be provided by the beekeeper.