best books about beekeeping

The Best Books About Beekeeping to Get Your New Hobby Started

Beekeeping has a lot of benefits. Not only does it provide natural and clean honey and beeswax for the keeper, but it also does a lot to improve the bee populations throughout the country, and increases pollination in the area, even in your own garden.

However, it can be difficult to get started, and there is a lot to remember when it comes to beekeeping. Thankfully, these 10 best books about beekeeping can be beneficial for beginners and experienced beekeepers both.

10 Best Books About Beekeeping

1. Storey’s Guide to Keeping Bees by Malcolm T. Sanford and Richard E. Bonney

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Whether you are a beginning beekeeper or someone who has been beekeeping for years, this handbook can be incredibly helpful. It includes colored graphics and pictures to help you understand hive and pollen health.

It goes over the whole process of owning bees, including how to make your own hives, how to get started, and common diseases to keep an eye on.

If you only get one book to help you with beekeeping, this all-inclusive guide should probably be the one. It is one you will always want to keep around, whether to give to others who are interested in beekeeping or as a handy reference when things aren’t looking as they should.

2. Top-Bar Beekeeping by Les Crowder and Heather Harrell

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Top bar is a kind of hive design that is widely used for those that want more wax than honey. While this is a specific book, it can help those that need a little help with their hive or want to consider using this method.

Not only does it help with wax production, but it can also provide protection against pests, Colony Collapse Disorder, and disease in a natural way without having to resort to chemicals or antibiotics.

Even if you decide not to go with the top-bar hive method, this book can provide you with some insight into bees and how different types of hives influence your bees and their growth.

It provides a lot of practical information about owning bees and general beekeeping practices as well, including things you wouldn’t think about, such as bees fighting for water with other animals and why wearing dark clothes isn’t always the best idea.

3. The Beekeeper’s Problem Solver: 100 Common Problems Explored and Explained By James E. Tew

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This book is somewhat niche and doesn’t work well on its own. However, it can help you identify problems that your bees and beehive may be experiencing. It doesn’t provide solutions but can help you get down to what might be wrong with your hives when it is otherwise difficult information to find.

The book is a little old as well, and is a little outdated, especially concerning diseases of bees. For the most part, though, it has a lot of information and covers common problems that while abundant, aren’t often mentioned and can be difficult to figure out on your own.

It may even point out issues that you would otherwise overlook or not realize are problems without the book.

This is specifically a book for novices who are unaware of what is normal in a hive and what isn’t. For those that already went through the struggle of starting with bees, this book likely isn’t as useful.

While we wouldn’t recommend this book for experienced beekeepers, it can be helpful to keep around even as you gain experience as a quick referral when something in the hive isn’t quite right.

Many people who have looked at this book have mentioned that they were able to even get a hold of an issue and stop it before it actually became a problem.

4. Hive and the Honey-Bee by L.L. Langstroth

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This is an older book that uses a lot of complicated wording that may make it outdated and difficult for beginners that don’t understand the terminology.

Since it was written in the 1860s, it is pretty outdated and a lot of the information isn’t practical anymore. However, it provides a lot of information about how things used to be and can be a great option for those that want to know more about the history and changes in beekeeping throughout the years.

It is worth noting that there are a couple of versions of this book. Many experts recommend getting one with a yellow cover that includes illustrations and diagrams, as they are essential in understanding the text.

5. The Beekeeper’s Bible by Richard Jones and Sharon Sweeney-Lynch

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No matter where you are in your beekeeping hobby, from just thinking about owning bees to having several hives, The Beekeeper’s Bible is a great book to have around.

Many readers did mention that the book isn’t what they expected. While it does cover quite a bit about apiculture, it has a much wider scope than that. It also covers topics such as the cooking and culinary benefits of honey and the history of bees and beekeeping.

If you want a book that just covers apiculture, this probably isn’t the book for you. But if you want to delve deep into the beekeeping world and get a wide scope of the benefits beekeeping can have on your life and has had on the lives of others in the past, then this book covers everything.

6. Honeybee Democracy by Thomas Seeley

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If you want to do more than just own bees, you may enjoy this book. It doesn’t talk in-depth about the actual beekeeping process, but how bees work, think, and have adapted. They give you an insight into the animals you are keeping under your care.

The book is full of scientific information but written in layman’s terms so anyone can read it without having to decode all of the jargon.

You can learn about how bees pick a new home, why they decide to stay in certain places, and each bee’s role in the hive. Many people have found that the book even helps with talking to and leading others.

Just because this book doesn’t focus on beekeeping doesn’t mean that beekeepers shouldn’t buy it. It covers some specific behaviors that bees exhibit. Even if experienced beekeepers have heard of such behaviors before, getting in-depth descriptions and pictures of the behaviors can be fascinating and make the process more understandable.

7. Keeping Bees in Towns and Cities by Luke Dixon

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If you are going to be in a city and trying to keep bees, you likely need some advice that normal beekeeping books don’t provide. Keeping Bees in Towns and Cities covers everything you may need to know about the difference between keeping bees in an urban area instead of a rural one, including how to keep your neighbors happy.

It doesn’t cover everything you need to know about bees, and some people describe it as being more of a general book about beekeeping than an educational one. It does have some helpful advice and tips and tricks that make it worth checking out though, especially in urban settings.

It also provides some ideas of problems that may arise from beekeeping in the city. Even if you’ve owned bees before in a more rural environment, there may be considerations or problems that occur in cities you haven’t had to worry about.

8. Natural Beekeeping: Organic Approaches to Modern Apiculture by Ross Conrad

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Nowadays, people are trying to go back to their roots. Instead of using the newest technology and contraptions, they want the comfortable feeling of organic and natural methods.

This book covers natural beekeeping methods that don’t involve chemicals. You can learn about harvesting, breeding, pest control, and even the anatomy and structure of beehives.

The author works hard to cover ways to take care of bees that will minimize the harm to them and the stress.

It, unfortunately, lacks some of the details of organic beekeeping, such as the equipment and materials you will need, so it isn’t all-inclusive. But it can be a great book to have around to remind you why the organic method is best and how to do some aspects of beekeeping in a more natural method.

This may not be a great book for those already experienced in beekeeping and who understand the dangers of using chemicals with bees and have a healthy respect for their hives. It is better for those that are getting started in beekeeping and want to understand the benefits and ways to be more organic in beekeeping.

9. Beekeeping for Dummies by Howland Blackiston

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If you want a book that breaks down the art of beekeeping and covers pretty much anything you will need to know, then the Beekeeping for Dummies book is what you are looking for.

You may think the For Dummies series is just a basic series that covers a little bit about every topic, but they really go into depth. Even experienced beekeepers swear by this book.

If you doubt the depth that it goes into, just know that the 4th edition of the book is just under 500 pages of information on the art of beekeeping. Though the publisher is a general company, the author is Howland Blackiston, who has been a beekeeper for over 40 years and is well-known by anyone that has seen nature documentaries.

The book covers the traditional aspects of beekeeping, as well as the importance of adapting the traditional for your own needs, and the changes that are occurring in the beekeeping world to protect the bees and fight against diseases and other problems.

Occasionally, the book goes out of date and has a little older information, but they provide new editions pretty frequently to keep up with the times.

10. Beehive Alchemy: Projects and Recipes Using Honey, Beeswax, Propolis, and Pollen to Make Soap, Candles, Creams, Salves, and More by Petra Ahnert

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Once you have the bees and are all set, you now have to figure out what to do with all of the honey and wax that you have. Most people expect honey and have plans to use it themselves or sell it.

However, a lot of new beekeepers tend to overlook what to do with all of the wax. If this is you, you may benefit from this book. It covers the various items you can make with all ingredients from a beehive, including propolis, honey, and beeswax.

It also covers how to make items such as perfumes, salves, lip balm, soap, candles, and much more. This book is a great option for anyone that has been looking for a creative outlet or another hobby and owns bees. It doesn’t matter if you are a novice or an experienced beekeeper.

Despite sounding like a book that encompasses all about how to use beeswax and fine-tune your hobby, it is more of an introductory guide. It can help people get started and provide useful tips, but many readers wished it went more in-depth in some areas.

Additionally, if you are new to rendering your beeswax, you may want to get another book for guides on that. This book is good for those that already have that skill, or get beeswax that is already refined.

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