You are fascinated by bees. You love the taste of honey. You want to know how bees make honey. You want to own a hive. You want to know everything about beekeeping.
But you don’t know where to start, where to learn?
I can help…
If you want to learn a skill, you look for a teacher. And if you can’t find a teacher, you look for a book.
A great beekeeping book will give you an in-depth, detailed information on the beekeeping topic.
That being said, I’ve made a list of the 10 best beekeeping books (written by the industry experts) to help you take your beekeeping career to the next step.
Let’s get into the details:
Why a Beekeeping Book is Necessary?
Beekeeping is one of those things that are incomprehensible to anyone who is not in the know. Most of us are fascinated by bees, and we love honey, but ask us how honey or manuka honey is made and we will just stare at you with blank eyes.
If what I have said describes you, then you already know what I want to say: that you are the right person to buy a beekeeping book.
It would help if you had a friend who is into beekeeping who can teach you, but this is not always possible. The friend may not be readily available or may be a bad explainer, or maybe you don’t have any beekeeping friends.
But a book will always be close at hand, and a good book explains things with clarity. The excellent beekeeping book will give you step-by-step instructions on how to go about becoming a beekeeper.
Most of them have drawings and photographs which help you understand what happens in a hive. The book introduces you to concepts and terminologies that you would not learn about if you decided to try beekeeping without doing any research.
With a beekeeping book, you will quickly become an expert beekeeper and an expert on everything to do with bees. It will serve as a stepping stone for you to seek even more knowledge about the topic.
10 Best Beekeeping Books Review:
1. Beekeeping for Dummies (For Dummies (Lifestyle) 4th Edition Review
If you want to start keeping bees and don’t know where to start, this is an excellent book to help you hit the ground running. It’s the fourth edition, and you know what that means. There was a demand that provoked the issuing of not just a second, but also a third and fourth edition. And it’s updated.
You will learn how to start a bee colony. You will learn how to assemble your beehives and how to maintain them. And if you like the taste of honey, this is certainly the book for you, for you will learn what you should do at every stage of honey production.
Do you know what tools you need for your beekeeping undertaking? Here you will find all this information and learn about the latest beekeeping tools, and how to use them.
Once the first season is over, you may be confused as to what you are supposed to do next. If you find yourself in such a quandary, this book is just the right dose of information you need to jolt you into the next level of your beekeeping.
The guide is positively teeming with tips, tools, techniques, and tricks that will speed up your transition from a slightly clueless beginner into a knowledgeable beekeeper sparkling with beekeeping insights.
For instance, do you know how to differentiate between drones, workers, or the queen? Do you know the right way to open or close your hive? Can you tell the difference between types of honey? You will get all these and more within the covers of this book.
The author, Howland Blackiston is an excellent guide, with his many years of experience. A beekeeper since 1984, Blackiston has honed his skill as an explainer by writing numerous articles on the topic. He has also been on TV and radio. And he’s written another book: Building Beehives for Dummies.
- Written by Howland Blackiston
- 480 pages
- 4th Edition
- Information about beekeeping
2. The Beekeeper's Bible: Bees, Honey, Recipes & Other Home Uses (Hardcover) Review
If books were meals, this would be a full-course dinner with a sumptuous dessert tucked on. It is, as the title suggests, a Bible for anyone who wants to get into beekeeping.
If you are looking for some light reading, this might not be for you. The book is a guide for those who are in earnest about becoming better beekeepers. The wealth of information contained within the pages is a feast of knowledge.
Dive in, and you will find that what you get between these pages is a handbook, a cookbook, and a history book – a thorough almanac that guides you through the knowledge that was previously obscure to you, unpacking it to reveal the hidden treasures.
From this book, you shall learn the best and safest ways to manage your hive, how to harvest honey, how to make use of the honey you have harvested, and how to use the beeswax you have extracted.
Have you ever wanted to make your own candles? Detailed instructions on how to do this await you between the covers of the book. Other neat things you will learn: instructions for making beauty products, furniture polish, and almost 100 honey-themed recipes that will leave everyone licking their fingers.
The authors, Richard A. Jones and Sharon Sweeney-Lynch have done a splendid job. Jones is a writer and ecologist as well as insect expert. He is a scientific advisor and contributor to publications like BBC Wildlife Magazine and New Scientist. Sweeney-Lynch is a freelance writer for publications like the Guardian and the Independent.
- Written by Richard A. Jones and Sharon Sweeney-Lynch
- 416 pages
- Published by Stewart, Tabori, and Chang
- First thus edition
- Learn about beekeeping
3. The Beekeeper's Handbook (4th Edition) Review
This book, written by Diana Sammataro and Alphonse Avitabile, was first published in 1973. In other words, what you have here is knowledge which has been proven and accepted by the market not once but four times, and updated.
In the four decades since it was first published, the book has been responsible for guiding tens of thousands of beekeepers, both the experienced and the beginners. And if you are new to beekeeping, you won’t find a better companion.
You get clear, authoritative content that will give you step-by-step guidance through the many layers of beekeeping knowledge. The over 100 illustrations in the book make things like handling bees or setting up an apiary easy to understand.
You will get to understand the nitty-gritty aspects of beekeeping that make the difference between a novice beekeeper and a well-informed one. Stuff like the different techniques for colony care that exist – what are the advantages or disadvantages of each?
- Written by Diana Sammataro and Alphonse Avitabile
- Foreword by Dewey M. Caron
- 272 pages
- Published by Comstock Publishing Associates
- 4th edition
- First published in 1973
- Teaches about beekeeping
4. Backyard Beekeeper: An Absolute Beginner's Guide to Keeping Bees in Your Yard and Garden Review (3rd Edition) Review
Do you want to be a backyard beekeeper? Here is a book that can make that dream come true. Just as one can take up gardening on the side, beekeeping is something you can do small-scale in your backyard, and reap huge rewards.
This is the third edition, revised, and expanded. New knowledge and insights have been added to help transform you into an excellent backyard beekeeper.
It is also a superb honey cookbook and a complete honey bee resource bursting with information about bees, honey, how to harvest beehive products, and everything you may want to learn about beekeeping.
You also get delicious recipes and directions on how to make the best use of honey and beeswax. You will learn how to make beauty treatments and candles.
The author Kim Flottum has all the qualifications you would require of him. With a background in plant science, honey bee research, and basic farming, he is just the man for the job. Also, consider his thirty years working as the editor of Bee Culture magazine.
- Written by Kim Flottum
- 208 pages
- Published by Quarry Books
- 3rd edition
- Guidebook for new beekeepers
5. The Practical Beekeeper: Beekeeping Naturally (Hardcover) Review
Are you tired of reading the same advice, tips, and point of view from all the beekeeping books, blogs, YouTube, videos, and podcasts you have been using to inform yourself? Fortunately for you, this book by Michael Bush of BushFarms is the antithesis of that kind of advice.
What you get here is not the conventional beekeeping point of view. Bush’s approach is refreshingly unorthodox.
Rather than the mainstream beekeeping type of book you are used to, what you get here is information on keeping bees in a practical, natural system where you don’t have to use treatments for diseases and pests, where you keep your interventions at a minimum level.
You get advice on how to carry out simple, practical beekeeping. By following the techniques enumerated in the book, you will significantly reduce your work. The author has developed these techniques over decades of experimenting, adjusting, and simplifying.
Michael Bush has spent a lot of time over the years answering questions about beekeeping on internet forums. For that reason, the information you get is specially tailored to answer the questions most posed by beekeepers, whether beginners or pros.
- Written by Michael Bush
- 670 pages
- Published by X-Star Publishing Company
- Unique viewpoint on beekeeping
6. The Bee Book Hardcover Review
If you are looking for something accessible, that brings down lofty beekeeping knowledge to a level that you can easily understand, this is it. The book is appropriate for adults as well as kids in high school and even middle school.
The full-color photographs transform the book into something magical and helpful so that kids as young as kindergarten level get to see everything they are reading about in a form they can readily understand.
The book takes you step-by-step through topics like the intricate processes of creating a bee-friendly garden, the best ways to use honey, and how to get started in beekeeping. You will also learn how to attract wild pollinators into your garden.
The diagrams, sequences, and photos that are strategically placed throughout the book will clarify and inform, and they will simplify concepts that may be too alien or abstract for young children. If your child is interested in taking up beekeeping, The Bee Book will provide the best guide and companion.
It will teach you and your kids how to establish a bee colony, collect a swarm, handle diseases, harvest beeswax, harvest propolis, make beauty treatments, and make candles. You also get 38 tasty recipes which will brighten the eyes of anyone who tastes them.
Other than the practical information, which most books provide anyway, you also get what, for lack of a better word, I will call a science lesson. You learn about bee evolution, colony collapse disorder, beeswax, honey, the “waggle dance”, and many other fascinating tidbits about bees and beekeeping. Not only will you be an expert beekeeper, but you will also be an expert on bees.
- Written by Emma Tennant
- Written for ages 5 and above
- 224 pages
- Published by DK
- 1st edition
- Accessible read about beekeeping
7. Beekeeping: Beekeeping Guide from Beginner to Expert (Beekeeping, Self-Sufficiency, Homesteading, Hydroponics) Review
Are you looking for a quick read that will introduce you to the concepts and important things to learn about beekeeping? This 104-page guide is just what a beginner needs.
You will learn about hive structure, annual bee cycle, and the steps you should take as a beginner trying to get into beekeeping. You will also learn about various diseases and their treatments.
You can use it as a practical manual to help turn yourself into a successful producer of honey. And if you are not a beginner, it will still benefit you as a reference book.
- Written by Thomas Thatcher
- 104 pages
- Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
- Quick read about beekeeping
8. Homegrown Honey Bees: An Absolute Beginner's Guide to Beekeeping Your First Year, from Hiving to Honey Harvest (1st Edition) Review
The first year of beekeeping can be the toughest. This is when you are green and don’t know much. Everything you do has the feel of experiment, even things you read in a book, simply because you have never done any of these things. And this is the time when you truly need a guide or teacher to take you through what you need to know.
And that is what you get from Alethea Morrison’s Homegrown Honey Bees, a book that helps you find the joy of making honey in your backyard. The book informs you of the things you should know if you are going to make it through that first year successfully.
The macro photography by Mars Vilaubi makes what is described in the book come alive in visual detail: you can see the workings of the hive with stunning clarity.
You also get in-depth information about bee behavior, colony hierarchy, allergies, permits, restrictions and so forth.
The wife-and-husband team of Morrison and Vilaubi describe for us their first year of beekeeping and what went on in their hive, the numerous challenges they faced. For instance, how they had to replace a failing queen bee so as to ensure the colony’s sustainability during winter. Such anecdotes give you the confidence to remain on course no matter what.
- Written by Alethea Morrison
- Photography by Mars Vilaubi
- 160 pages
- Published by Storey Publishing LLC
- 1st edition
- Beginner’s guide to beekeeping
9. The Complete Step-by-Step Book of Beekeeping Hardcover Review
Many explainers can turn off potential beginners by making beekeeping sound like a super complicated, sophisticated activity brimming with details one should never forget. To be sure, all that may be true about beekeeping, but with a simplified explanation, beekeeping is easily comprehensible to anyone.
And most people are interested in beekeeping. Everyone likes bees and honey and is curious about how it is made. This book understands the need for simplicity and clarity, and that’s exactly what it provides.
Most of the people who have bought and read it say they enjoyed it. They especially love the pictures which make the abstract concepts of beekeeping easily comprehensible to a beginner-level beekeeper.
If you want to learn about how hives operate, how to handle your bees, and how to attract bees and transfer them to your hive, you should look for the book. A calendar in the book will help you know when to inspect, maintain, or repair your hive. You will also learn how to harvest your honey.
The author David Cramp has been beekeeping for years. He spent one year at Cardiff University’s Bee Research Unit writing a thesis on Drone Congregation Areas. He started a beekeeping enterprise and wrote for beekeeping and small farming press in the UK and USA. He has experience managing a 4,000-hive beekeeping operation.
- Written by David Cramp
- Published by Lorenz Books
- 160 pages
- Makes beekeeping knowledge accessible
10. Natural Beekeeping: Organic Approaches to Modern Apiculture (2nd Edition) Review
Beekeeping today is not as easy as it once was. What with challenges like colony collapse disorder, pests like varroa and tracheal mite, beekeeping can turn into a headache. These new pests have made it requisite for all beekeepers to treat their hives chemically. But evidence indicates that these chemical treatments are only complicating matters further.
As a consequence, beekeepers are yearning for a new and better way of doing things. And that’s what you get with this book. Here you will find information about holistic, practical alternatives to the chemical practices you abhor.
Other things you will learn from the book include hive diseases, parasitic mite control, the basics of bee biology and anatomy, how to identify and work with queens, and urban beekeeping.
Most beekeeping books focus only on the production side. You create the honey – then what? You make candles from the beeswax you extracted from your hive – then what? The book goes further than just the production process. It helps you figure out how to market the various hive products you harvest or make.
You will learn excellent “do no harm” strategies that ensure your honeybees remain healthy and productive; also non-toxic ways to get rid of the mites in your hive; how to eliminate American foulbrood disease without using antibiotics; how to selectively breed naturally resistant bees; and so forth.
You will find here a wealth of information about various management techniques, with details, and written in a straight-forward way.
- Written by Ross Conrad and Gary Nabhan
- Published by Chelsea Green Publishing
- 2nd edition
- 304 pages
- Teaches a bee-friendly approach to beekeeping
How to Utilize Your Beekeeping Book Properly
After you purchase your beekeeping book, what should you do next? The first thing, naturally, is to read it thoroughly.
For you to make the most of your beekeeping book, you must have a hive. Otherwise, how can you tell if the ideas enumerated in the book work if you don’t try them out somewhere?
In that case, step one is to build your hive – or buy one. There are two main hive systems to choose from: Langstroth hive or top-bar hive. Langstroth comprises boxes stacked on top of each other, with frames wherein the bees have their comb and store honey. The top-bar hive consists of horizontally arranged bees’ frames.
And don’t forget to get some appropriate clothing – a bee suit – in preparation for when you will directly apply the insights you get from your book in a hive swarming with bees which can sting you.
And what’s a hive without bees? So the most important thing is to procure bees for the hive you just built – or bought. There are two ways to get hives: you can either buy them or catch a swarm.
If you choose to buy, make sure to order your bees in January as it will be harder to get bees for sale in spring. You can also get bees from the local beekeeping associations in your area.
The other option, catching a swarm, is something you will find in your beekeeping book. Follow the instructions given. Once you have collected the swarm of bees, transfer it to your newly built or bought hive.
Your beekeeping book will inform you on what you need to do every step of the way. As I said earlier, the first year of beekeeping is usually the most difficult. A good beekeeping book will help you to learn the ropes of beekeeping quickly.
Beekeeping is a complex undertaking. I don’t see how anyone can “wing it”. And even if they could, they would make a lot of mistakes, maybe even lose their bees. And that’s why a good beekeeping book will always be worth the cost.
The ten titles you have just read about are all excellent choices. If you want to get into beekeeping, these are the books you should arm yourself with. They will transform you from a beginner who knows little into an expert beekeeper.