Beekeeping Books

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In this guide, you will find a list of some of the most informative beekeeping books available. Whether you are a beginner with your first hive or an experienced beekeeper wanting to learn more, these books on beekeeping offer valuable information and guidance. The internet is great but having a good book for reference is still a plus in the craft of beekeeping.

Selection of top beekeeping books on a shelf with other bee themed items.

Education is one of the most overlooked paths to beekeeping success. Yes, you need experience. However, access to good beekeeping books should be a priority for any beginning beekeeper – or those wanting to learn more.

Beekeeping Books For Every Bookshelf

Let’s begin with some of the most popular beekeeping books that cover the basics. They are the works that help a new beekeeper get started but they are also helpful years down the road.

I have most of these sitting on my book shelf and I have read all of them -more than once. These dog-eared copies are mine – most have updated editions.

Beekeeping for Dummies

5th Edition – Howland Blackiston – For Dummies, 2020

My copy of beekeeping for dummies book and inside page.

Author Howard Blackiston does a great job explaining the minute details of beekeeping. With many illustrations and images on all aspects of the craft, Beekeeping for Dummies is a good reference book for anyone. I still find myself referring back to it for a refresher from time to time.

The Beekeeper’s Handbook

Diana Sammataro & Alphonse Avitabile-Comstock Publishing Associates 2021

Front cover of the beekeepers handbook and peak inside.

One of my favorite instructional books, this title boasts a great glossary, good photographs and diagrams. The Beekeeper’s Handbook will take the beginner well beyond the first year with easy to read text and many diagrams. It too is a wonderful reference and the large book format makes it easy to read.

The Beekeeper’s Bible: Bees, Honey, Recipes & Other Home Uses

Richard Jones and Sharon Sweeney-Lynch -Stewart, Tabori and Chang – 2011

Personal copy of the beekeepers bible book on bees and beekeeping.

This volume is a veritable one book encyclopedia of beekeeper terms, recipes and ideas. It contains much information beyond maintaining a hive and is a very useful beekeeping reference book. It would make a great beekeeping gift for anyone that loves bees.

The Backyard Beekeeper – An Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Keeping Bees

Kim Flottum-Quarry Books – 2018

Kim Flottum, a long time editor of Bee Culture magazine gives an in depth look at keeping a beehive in your backyard. This is one of the best beekeeping books in my library (especially for those with a year or two of experience).

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This volume excels in how it gives many examples of beekeeper mistakes and problem solving and ways to overcome challenges.

The Thinking Beekeeper: A Guide to Natural Beekeeping in Top Bar Hives

Christy Hemenway – New Society Publishers – 2013

The Thinking Beekeeper takes a look into the world of natural beekeeping. This is an interesting read – though I do not follow all the suggested practices – the book makes some valid points. For those who are interested in using Top Bar Hives instead of the standard Langstroth – this book is a must read.

Natural Beekeeping: Organic Approaches to Modern Apiculture, 2nd Edition

Ross Conrad – Chelsea Green Publishing – 2013

Old copy of Natural Beekeeping by Ross Conrad.

Natural Beekeeping is an iconic volume to beekeepers who are seeking a more natural way to keep honey bees. In this revised and updated edition, Ross Conrad gives sensible, holistic advice on managing bees naturally. He is a heck of a nice guy too – I enjoyed meeting him at a conference years ago.

Building Beehives For Dummies

Howland Blakiston – For Dummies – 2019

Many new beekeepers have a yearning to build their own beehives. If you have some pretty decent carpentry skills, this is not an impossible goal.

However, while bees can live in many different locations there are some things you need to know before throwing a box together. In Building a Beehive for Dummies, Mr. Blakiston covers the most important details every hive builder needs to know!

Beekeeping for Beginners: How To Raise Your First Bee Colonies

Amber Bradshaw – Rockridge Press – 2019

Beekeeping for Beginners is a step by step guide for the new beekeeper. It covers the fundamentals of setting up your hive and the key issues to watch out for. A good read for anyone who is just beginning.

Buzz into Beekeeping– A Step by Step Guide to Becoming a Successful Beekeeper

Master Beekeeper – Charlotte Anderson – Skyhorse – 2020

Of course, I have to share my own book. Buzz into Beekeeping is a written compilation from my years of teaching new beekeepers online and in person at local meetings. Covering every subject from buying bees and setting up the hive through the first honey harvest, I am sure it will add some valuable practical tips for any new apiarist.

Two books written by Master Beekeeper Charlotte Anderson - Buzz into Beekeeping and Your Beekeeping Journal.

Your Beekeeping Journal: A Guide for Beekeepers

Charlotte Anderson – 2018

Your Beekeeping Journal is my guide to hive record keeping. It is available in a professional print format from Amazon or as a digital download. The journal contains: a beekeepers’ calendar, monthly hive record sheets and forms for individual hive notes. A diary page in the back gives the beekeeper room to make notes of the current year’s progress and plans for next year.

Beeswax Alchemy: How to Make Your Own Soap, Candles, Balms, Creams, and Salves from the Hive

Petra Ahnrt – Quarry Publishers – 2018

Personal copy of Beeswax Alchemy. A book with recipes for making hive products with wax.

A classic title that has been around for a while, Beeswax Alchemy remains one of the most recommended books for learning how to make things with beeswax.

I include the title here because new beekeepers are always excited about all the things they can make (great DIY beeswax gifts) and other hive resources.

You can learn to make beeswax candles, homemade beeswax furniture polish, diy body butters and more. The possibilities are endless.

Three titles on advanced beekeeping topics.

More Advanced Beekeeping Books

If you are a beekeeper who has moved beyond the first year or two of the hobby, perhaps you want to delve a bit deeper into honey bee knowledge. We all want to understand our colonies better in hopes of helping them be healthier and more productive.

The Beekeeper’s Problem Solver: 100 Common Problems Explored and Explained

James Tew – Quarry Books – 2015

In spite of all the preparation in the world, things don’t always go just the way we beekeepers hope. Problems do arrive in beekeeping regardless of our best efforts. In this book, author James Tew, outlines some of the most common problems and tribulations experienced with bee hives.

Advanced Top Bar Beekeeping: Next Steps for the Thinking Beekeeper

Christy Hemenway-New Society Publishers – 2016

If you are yearning to try a different type of hive style, perhaps the Top Bar Hive will appeal to you. It is a perfectly fine type of hive to use for bees – though I admit to steering first year newbie beekeepers toward a Langstroth hive instead. This book takes the beekeeper to the next step of Top Bar Beekeeping – I have a beginner book by Les Crowder and Heather Harrell.

Increase Essentials

Lawrence John Conner – Wicwas Press-2014

Mr. Conner, has a knack for writing wonderful beekeeping books that give you the information you need without a lot of fluff. These texts are jam packed with useful information that any beekeeper will find useful.

He has several books in the series: this title deals with some of the challenges of increasing your hive numbers. A great read and reference. I own Queen Rearing Essentials and Bee Sex Essentials.

Queen Rearing Essentials

Lawrence John Conner, Randy Kim & Robert Muir – Wicwas Press – 2009

Another great title from Lawrence John Conner, Queen Rearing Essentials is a must-have book for beekeepers wanted to rear their own queen bees. A highly-recommend beekeeping book with numerous pictures and illustrations to help any aspiring queen breeder.

Confessions of a Bad Beekeeper: What Not to Do When Keeping Bees

Bill Turnbull – The Experiment – 2011

Bill Turnbull captures some of the funny things that he has experienced in this beekeeping book about his journey into the hobby. Enjoy reading about this beekeeper’s experience and get a few beekeeping tips too!

Close up images of honey bees in various jobs.

Honey Bee Books

The titles in this section can be useful to beekeepers who want to better understand why their hives do some of the things bees do.

They are also fun for any nature lover that wants to understand more about bees and their relatives – as well as, ways to help them.

Honey Bee Democracy

Thomas D. Seeley-Princeton University Press – 2010

Author, Thomas Seeley, does a remarkable job of taking us inside the world of the honey bee. This fascinating book – Honey Bee Democracy examines the colony as a total social organism. This is not a basic how-to book but rather a deeper investigation into bee behavior! Great reading for any bee enthusiast.

The Buzz About Bees – Biology of a Superorganism

Jurgen Tautz- Springer – 2008

The Buzz about Bees has actually been a big help to my beekeeping experience. An interesting read for bee nerds like me. This is one of my favorite books on honey bee behavior. As you may note by the sticky notes protruding from the pages.

Feed the Bees: 100 Plants

The Xerces Society – Storey Publishing LLC – 2016

Personal copy of plant book for bee garden with flower tips.

Feed the Bees is a smaller book that is a good size for a field guide. Not only does it give you clear images to help in bee plant identification – it also lists the native regions and growing conditions. Covering a wide range of plant types – this is a great book for pollinator lovers.

The Bees in Your Backyard: A Guide to North America’s Bees

Joseph S. Wilson and Melissa Messinger Carril – Princeton University Press – 2015

Cover of book - The Bees in Your Backyard and inside page.

The Bees in Your Backyard is not just a honey bee book – though you will certainly find some interesting information inside. Rather, it goes deep into the world of insects and teaches you about all the relatives of our honey bees.

A great reference for the nature lovers who enjoy identifying insects. I bought a copy – sold it later and then wished I had kept it – so I’ve purchased it twice!

Bees in America: How the Honey Bee Shaped a Nation

Tammy Horn -The University Press of Kentucky – 2006

Perhaps you already know that honey bees are not native to North America. The first colonies (Black Honey Bees) were brought to the new world by settlers. Anyone with an interest in beekeeping and history will enjoy this book about early beekeeping in our country.

Wild Honey Bees: An Intimate Portrait Hardcover

Ingo Arndt and Jürgen Tautz with a forward by Thomas D. Seeley

Cover of Wild Honey Bees with a preview of inside page.

If you are true lover of honey bees, you do not want to miss this honey bee book. The images are breathtaking – even to a beekeeper with years of experience. Not a “how to” beekeeping book, it does contain some interesting insights into the life of our bees.

Choose Trusted Sources

You will find interesting ideas and styles of beekeeping online. They are fun to explore and you may want to try them.

However, proceed with caution learning about beekeeping online. Not every method shown works in all climates, or all situations. Ultimately, you are responsible for your bees.

In recent years, the market has become flooded with beekeeping books. Some of them are excellent works written by beekeepers who really know their stuff.

Others are massed produced by publishing companies or copy writers to meet the demand for information about keeping bees.

I have seen some advice that is absolutely wrong – no matter your climate or situation. Everyone has a different “take” on keeping bees.

Recommendations
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A Few Recommendations

Good books are available online, from bee supply stores and sometimes you find used copies that are just as good.

Final Thoughts

I love digital learning but there are times when a good book is the best reference tool you can have. I find myself referring back to many of my books about beekeeping time and time again. Once you have a bit of bee knowledge under your belt – try my e-book on Questions and Answers Every Beekeeper Should Know.