If you want to learn more about honey bees, you need to search out the best beekeeping books. Maybe you want to become a beekeeper or just want to understand more about the plight of the bees. Either way, books about beekeeping often tell more than just how to manage a hive. Successful beekeepers need to understand a lot about the life of bees in order to have healthy colonies. Here are some of the best bee books out there. They will provide a good foundation of bee education.
Beekeeping Books for Beginners
A beginner’s guide to beekeeping in book form is the first source of serious beekeeping knowledge for most of us. This list contains some of the top beekeeping books for new beekeepers. They are listed in no particular order so look among them to decide which ones fit your style of learning best.
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Beekeeping for Dummies
by Howland Blackiston
Beekeeping for Dummies has been out for a while with each new edition keeping the information up to date. My copy is several years old – yet, I still find myself referring back to it for a refresher from time to time.
A part of the “Dummies” series, Author Howard Blackiston does a good 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 and very helpful beginner beekeepers.
You will also find more info on common beekeeping terms here on my website.
The Beekeeper’s Handbook
by Diana Sammataro and Alphonse Avitabile
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.
The text is easy to read and the many clear diagrams helps the reader to visual instructions. This book covers a lot of material I have the 4th edition – this one too is continually updated with the latest information.
Buzz into Beekeeping– A Step by Step Guide to Becoming a Successful Beekeeper
by Master Beekeeper – Charlotte Anderson
Okay, I am a little prejudiced here I guess.. But, this is my book – Buzz into Beekeeping. It 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.
The Beekeeper’s Bible: Bees, Honey, Recipes & Other Home Uses
by Richard Jones and Sharon Sweeney-Lynch
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.
The amount of material in The Beekeeper’s Bible can be a bit overwhelming for a first year beekeeper – it is much like a text book.
Take your time and enjoy the information – there are a lot of good tips inside. It would make a great beekeeping gift for those starting into year 2 or 3 of keeping bees.
Natural Beekeeping: Organic Approaches to Modern Apiculture
by Ross Conrad
Ross Conrad is a top authority on organic beekeeping. His book – Natural Beekeeping gives compelling reasons to consider organic methods of raising bees. Even those of us who do not adhere to totally organic practices can glean some good tips from his methods.
I had the pleasure of meeting him once at a conference. He is a really nice gentleman with a true love for backyard bees.
The Backyard Beekeeper – An Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Keeping Bees in Your Yard and Garden
by Kim Flottum
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 bee books in my library.
It give many examples of beekeeper problem solving and ways to overcome challenges. Providing water for your colonies, watching for signs of disease or trouble and more. These tips and techniques help you set up your hive and keep a successful stand of bees with a focus on honeybee health.
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
by James Tew
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. A great reference book for the shelf.
by Lawrence John Conner
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.
Advanced Top Bar Beekeeping: Next Steps for the Thinking Beekeeper
by Christy Hemenway
If you are a beekeeper yearning to try a different 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 top bar beekeeping book will give you some good insights into the world of top bar hives. Their management is different than that of a regular Langstroth hive.
Honey Bee Biology and Beekeeping
by Dewey M. Caron with Lawrence John Connor
This is actually a beekeeping textbook perfect for novices. It explains the how, why and when of beekeeping practices in a way that is easy to understand. Loved by beekeepers because it is a complete package of information that helps them be successful. Honey Bee Biology and Beekeeping is a great choice for your beekeeper’s library.
Honey Bee Democracy
by Thomas D. Seeley
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. It not a basic how-to book but rather a deeper investigation into why bees do some of the things they do! Great reading for any bee enthusiast.
Queen Rearing Essentials
by Lawrence John Conner
Another great title by 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.
The Practical Beekeeper: Beekeeping Naturally
by Michael Bush
Beekeeper, Michael Bush is well known in the beekeeping community for his natural approach to keeping honey bee hives. His volumes contain information on simple practical beekeeping and are must different than some conventional methods. A thought provoking series of beekeeping books.
The Buzz About Bees – Biology of a Superorganism
by Jurgen Tautz
Again, not really a “how to keep bees book” though it offers some valuable insight. This is one of my favorite books on honey bee behavior. As you may note by the sticky notes protruding from the pages.
The Buzz about Bees has actually been a big help to my beekeeping experience. An interesting read for bee nerds like me. If you are true lover of this type of beekeeping book – be sure to check out the new book by Ingo Arndt and Jurgen Tautz – Wild Honey Bees. The images are breathtaking.
Honey Bee Books for Crafting
Perhaps you are a beekeeper or maybe you just appreciate the various products from the hive that we all enjoy. If you like making things, you may eventually get the urge to make something using some of these gifts from the hive.
Beeswax Alchemy: How to Make Your Own Soap, Candles, Balms, Creams, and Salves from the Hive
by Petra Ahnrt
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. The recipes inside are simple but can become very involved due to the variations possible. This is a great reference book for any craft person that loves bees.
In spite of abundant resources online, many new beekeepers desire to obtain a book or books. Good volumes contain not only basic information but also chronicles the American Beekeeping experience.
You will find interesting ideas and styles of beekeeping online. The many interesting methods are fun to explore and you may want to try them. However, use care when learning 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 these beekeeping books. Some of them are excellent works written by beekeepers who really know their stuff. Others are massed produced by publishing companies to meet the demand for information about keeping bees.
Choose carefully. Everyone has a different “take” on keeping bees and having several good beekeeping books is a great way to learn.