It's not hard to do. I've had hives for several years now. Got hit hard two winters ago and lost a couple. I only have two hives right now. I usually box a few swarms a year but have not been able to get any this year.
I had a hive split last year and was able to collect the swarm. I just happened to look out our window and notice a large number of bees flying around one hive. Next thing I knew, the sky filled with bees.
At first, the queen landed at the top of a pine tree and the others began to collect around her.
There was no way I would be able to get them but luckily, she moved down towards the bottom of the tree. However, I had to cut through poison ivy to get to them.
I then had to gently scoop them from the tree into a new box. You can tell when you get the queen because the bees will all start flying to the box.
This was the second year in a row that hive split. If you are lucky, you will find swarms on the ends of branches. You can just cut the branch and shake the mass of bees into the box.
Do a lot of reading. If you have any local guys with hives talk to them. Here's a site that lists local beekeeper associations. You may want to contact them
It can be as simple or complicated as you want it to be. I am a new beekeeper but can say that a lot of the literature is focused towards honey production for a profit. Nothing wrong with making some cash out of a new hobby but if you keep it simple you can provide enough for yourself pretty easily.
Most local beekeeping clubs run free or cheep classes. If you have any interest it's worth checking out.
brewyak: go for it. I have been keeping for bees for 7 years. I dove in with both feet. Didn't know anything about keeping bees or anyone who did. I joined the local beekeeping club where I received all the help I needed in getting the necessary hardware and the bees. The meetings allow question and answer sessions as well as some informal programs about making products from the hive, processing honey, building frames and other methods of keeping bees. One thing you should know is that PA beekeepers are licensed through the PA Dept. of Agriculture. There is information on the web dealing with the subject. There is a minimal charge of $10 for a two-year license. Your apiary will be given an inspection and will be logged with GPS. The purpose of this is to be able to notify you if pesticides will be applied in your area as well as to be sure that your hive does not have an communicable diseases that may spread to neighboring hives.