Owning and reading a few bee books is invaluable when starting beekeeping. It's important to realize that although these books are writing by beekeepers, it's just from their experience and opinion. The local weather conditions plus a whole host of other factors will effect your beekeeping. The more books you read, and the more beekeeping experience you gain the better you'll be prepared to deal with the strange situations which beekeeping throws at you.
Below are some current books which I have read, for which I have received recommendations, or have received good reviews on Amazon. If you buy older books, or borrow them from your local library, these can also be a valuable source of knowledge, however it's important to remember that situations change. Although beekeeping has been around for thousands of years one should realize that beekeeping is also a highly researched pastime and a huge commercial industry, let's benefit from all that experience.
By Paul Bridges (California):
Keep in mind this book has a "dummies" slant. It's a great beginner book and I own a copy. I recommend it.
Lots of conversational plain english, funny cartoons, photographs, etc. But, buy another book as well to round out your knowledge. For example, Howland doesn't explain *why* you need an inner cover... just says it's part of the hive.
He only provides *one* technique for queen introduction (albeit a good one), when there are several others. Then he perpetuates the myth that you should scrape a bee's stinger away rather than pinch it away (Discover magazine, et. al., now dispute this), and when discussing *moving* a hive, he leaves out the "3 mile rule" and the "1 foot per day" approach, etc. He suggests using motor oil moats to prevent ants (works great), but doesn't mention that vegetable oil and Tanglefoot work great also. Like I say, great book, buy it, but get some others too.
From Publishers Weekly:
When former New York literary agent Bishop bought a Connecticut farmstead, she began keeping bees as a way of savoring her newfound reverence for nature in the edible form of fresh honey, a passion that now yields this engaging study of the history, science and art of beekeeping.
She details the biology of the "always gracious, economical and neat" insects; explores the complex, pheromone-besotted hive society that yokes the proverbially busy insects to the tasks of comb building, nectar gathering and larvae nourishing; and eulogizes their stubborn, self-immolating defense of their honey against human pillagers. And she chronicles humanity's millennia-long expropriation of the bee's gifts of honey, beeswax, pollen and venom to provide food and drink (a chapter of honey-themed recipes is included), nutritional supplements, arthritis remedies and even weapons of war.
Tying it all together is a profile of salt-of-the-earth commercial beekeeper Donald Smiley, harvester of specialty honey gathered from tupelo tree blossoms in the drowsy hum of the Florida panhandle, and emblem of the fruitful alliance of two legs with six. Bishop's impulse to visit every flower of bee lore sometimes weighs the book down with quotes from bee enthusiasts of the past, but her combination of engrossing natural history and down-home reportage make this a fitting homage to one of nature's most admirable creatures.
All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
By MO MAN "MO MAN" (Missouri)
Hive Management written by Richard Bonney is awesome!
This is not intended to be your first bee book, however I have read two other books and started my bees just under 1 year ago, so this was perfect timing. It's an easy read and makes sense for the non-PHD bee keeper.
The only negative is there's not many pictures, but I would highly recommend this book to anyone with bees!
By Mr John Little (Nagano, Japan)
This is a beautifully produced book with some really excellent photography; it should be mandatory to furnish dentist's waiting rooms with at least one copy (not only would it successfully distract the patients, but we'd also end up with more beekeepers in the world... and all of them with good teeth).
The text is informative and straightforward (although I did find the chapter sequencing a little puzzling and personally would have preferred to see the gardening, honey and products chapters shuffled to the back and all of the essential beekeeping information consolidated). I found the chapter on gardening for bees to be especially interesting and relevant though, along with the plant-to-honey-type cross-reference table, and have been diligently planting seeds to provide my hives with some early spring blooms based on that content.
The beekeeping information is as up to date as you'd expect for a 2008 book with, for instance, a reference to dusting the bees with icing sugar as a method for controlling mite infestation. Although not perhaps as comprehensive as Sammataro and Avitabile's "The Beekeepers Handbook", the photography and sections on an introduction to beekeeping certainly compensate. U.K. readers especially will appreciate the references and use throughout the book of the familiar WBC, double-walled hive.
This is an engaging book on several levels. The first and most obvious is as a coffee-table book which will interest young and old alike. Secondly, it's a great source of well illustrated information for the novice, or yet to be, beekeeper. For the more experienced, it's one of those books which is nice to have to hand to show to friends and neighbours (or anyone taking an interest in your bees). It has content which will also appeal to the gardener and to the city dweller, as well as to anyone interested in ecology and the environment. An excellent buy.
By S. Briles (Eagle Mountain, Utah United States)
If a picture is worth a thousand words then this book is an encyclopedia of bee keeping. This book is full of wonderful color photos.
Other like books have photos but nothing like "The Backyard Beekeeper". The author certainly has his point of view on sizes of hives and pushes it strongly, almost to the exclusion of other ideas. Still this book is packed full of information and an excellent reference.
I would recommend reading a few other books in order to get a wider view of how to be a beekeeper. The only negative I found with the book is that it has very small print that is often printed over other design features on the pages. I found it very difficult to read some of the print due to this fault.
By groff5 "groff5" (Metamora, IL USA)
I have most of the "standard" beekeeping books in my library, but this book is the best!
The most logical and complete book I have seen yet, and very well illustrated. Logically written and yet interesting just to sit down and read.
But it also does a great job of covering details of beekeeping and answering both basic and more complex questions of the hobby. Highly recommended!
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