Top 10 Best Beekeeping Books for Beginners 2019
Have you heard the saying ‘knowledge is wealth’! Theoretical knowledge about beekeeping is very important for beginners. Even professionals seek this knowledge by exploring books and other knowledgeable sources.
It is very essential to know how beekeeping is done before you start. It will give you an idea about where and how to begin. There are many websites which give you ample amount of information about beekeeping. But books offer you detailed and in-depth knowledge about the same.
Buying a best beekeeping books for beginners is tricky task. Some books give information about bees while some provide info about everything from bees to harvesting the honey.
It is no wonder that you have to select a book which has complete information especially if you are new to this business. We will learn just about this in the following sections.
Need a quick decision? Here are my Top 5 Beekeeping Books picks:
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Why to Choose Best Beekeeping Books
As stated earlier, if you are beginner it is the best to have a book which gives every detail about it. Over period of time beekeeping took intense changes, thanks to the advancements in technology.
It is not adamant to say that almost every professional has read these books at some point of their beekeeping. Although the basic concept of beekeeping is same over the course of evolution, what hasn’t changed is the bees.
There are tremendous changes in the types of beehive boxes, the frames, the extractors, and everything you mention. But the central hero of this business, the bees haven’t changed much.
So, to understand about beekeeping a person must have thorough knowledge about the different types of bees, their behavior, ideal beehives, types of beehives, bee honey extractors, types of bee honey, and much more.
A book that provides all this information will be the best for beginners. I will admit that studying all these things is tiresome especially if you aren’t a bookworm. But every page you read will pay you off in the long run.
Our Top 10 Best Beekeeping Books Reviews 2018
Now that you know the importance of reading beekeeping books, let us look in to some of the famous books available out there in the market. Some of these books are available in eBook format so that you can read them in your reading devices like kindle, while some of them are available exclusively as paperback only.
I personally prefer reading the printed books than the digital ones. It motivates me to read more and also prevents hurting my eyes (by reading on electronic devices).
1. Beekeeping for Dummies 4th Edition
The first book on our list comes from a renowned author, Howland Blackiston. He was a beekeeper since the 1980s and a successful personality since then. He turned his passion into a successful business. He also appeared in many TV and radio programs where he shares his success stories to the users,
The Beekeeping book for dummies from Howland Blackiston covers all the basics necessary for beginners. It is a great guide for backyard beekeepers. So, if you are about to begin your backyard beekeeping this is an excellent book, to begin with.
This book covers the topics such as what to do in your first season and beyond, assembling beehive boxes, keeping your bees healthy through natural methods, harvesting the honey through all stages, and much more.
After you start reading this book, it will greatly motivate you towards beekeeping. It is not only meant for beginners but also for experienced users who look for the latest advancements or tools required for beekeeping.
There are maintenance and repair tips in this book which is a great addition to your learning. The paperback book contains 480 pages which mean there is a tremendous amount of information making it one of the best beekeeping books available out there in the market.
2. The Backyard Beekeeper - 4th Edition
Kim Flottum, the author of this honey bee book has tremendous experience in horticulture and also worked in USDA Honey Bee Research Lab. Bringing his vast experience to the table, he teaches both beginners and experienced beekeepers through various channels.
The Backyard Beekeeper book is the good beekeeping book for everyone out there. It contains every bit of information required for amateur users as well as professionals.
Kim shares his expertise not only through this book but also by conducting workshops, online seminars, and any means that are available. You will get a world class experience from a dedicated naturalist.
The book will cover all the basics from collecting bees, introducing them to the hives to harvesting the honey. You will also learn the latest advancements in the beekeeping.
Another best part is that you will learn the natural ways of beekeeping and saving the natural integrity and quality of the honey. You will learn how to do this without using any harmful pesticides.
This book is available in Kindle and paperback formats and you can buy according to your convenience.
3. Beginner Beekeeping: Everything You Need to Make Your Hive Thrive
As the name implies, this book is designed for beginners. You will learn how to make your bees thrive throughout the season. It has all the basic concepts and also outlines the positives and negatives of both organic and conventional methods of beekeeping.
The author, Tanya Philips has a degree in BA and masters in beekeeping from Montana University. She is beekeeper herself and she raises about 150+ colonies in her apiary. She also conducts classes in her apiary about basics of beekeeping for beginners.
You can also book a ticket to her annual ‘Tour de Hive’ event where beekeepers from various places come together on a common platform to share knowledge and their experiences.
Her colonies/apiaries have been shown in many movies, documentaries, and also in TV episodes. She is also the founder of Travis County Beekeepers Association, Texas. Apart from reading her book, if you are a resident in Texas or nearby Travis County, you can attend her classes. It gives you immense knowledge about beekeeping and its basics.
In this book, you will learn how to foster healthy bee colonies and various conventional techniques which will keep your apiary healthy and blooming. This is one of the best books on beekeeping and is available in paperback and spiral-bound formats only. Kindle version is not available.
4. 100 Plants to Feed the Bees: Provide a Healthy Habitat to Help Pollinators Thrive
A successful beehive is largely dependent on nature and the surroundings. If you are able to provide an environment which helps the bees to thrive through various seasons, then your beekeeping will be of great success.
The 100 Plants to feed the bees is a book which teaches exactly about this. It is published by a non-profit organization which aims at conserving the natural habitats in a natural way. The organization is known as The Xerces society.
In this book, you will learn how to conserve the trees and shrubs without using any pesticides. It will also teach you how to mix different kinds of trees so that you can keep the surrounding environment of bees blooming throughout the year.
No wonder this book does not teach you about the beehives or any harvesting the honey but it is more focused on how to provide a healthy nature to these bees. As bees depend on nature, it is our responsibility to keep their surroundings healthy enough in order to make them thrive longer.
So, it is advised to study this book before you start beekeeping. You will have a thorough idea about conserving nature with less or no use of pesticides. This book is available in Kindle and paperback formats.
5. The Bees in Your Backyard: A Guide to North America’s Bees
Before you begin beekeeping, you must learn about the bees. There are over four thousand different species of bees in the US and Canada. It is very essential for you to know about the species which can be domesticated and which are harmful.
The book has two authors; Joseph S. Wilson and Olivia J. Messinger Carril. It consists of about 900 beautiful images of various kinds of species of bees. The book describes everything about the bee’s life; about their habitat, life cycle, and as their role as pollinators.
There are additional tips which help you to study the different kinds of bees. A complete chapter is dedicated to the concept of attracting bees to your backyard.
This book is the winner of 2017 Professional and Scholarly Excellence (PROSE) meaning which is one of the best books about bees.
You will not only learn about different types of bees, but also about their habitats, lifecycle, and much more. It will help you learn about how to provide proper food to the bees so that they can be healthy throughout the various seasons.
If you are a beginner who wants to know about various kinds of bees, their rise or decline in numbers, this is a great book, to begin with. You will get this book in Kindle, and paperback formats.
6. The Beekeeper’s Handbook
When I think of some old books about beekeeping, the first one that comes into my mind is The Beekeeper’s Handbook. It is a book that has been first published in 1973 and it is one of the most followed by beginners and professionals.
This book covers every aspect of beekeeping, from installing the colonies in your hives to the harvesting honey. Every step is explained in a step-by-step manner and so that a beginner will have no doubts about a thing.
The author, Dianna Sammataro has a Ph.D. in Entomology and is one of the most experienced authors on our list. This book is frequently updated and the 4th edition has the most advanced techniques of beekeeping along with their pros and cons.
You will learn about the transformation of beekeeping over the decades. It will guide you in every step about starting your own apiary in your backyard or professionally on a large scale.
The best part of the book is that it will explain the transformation of every step of beekeeping over the years. You will understand the difference between traditional and modern practices.
Along with beekeeping, you will know about pest control and how to keep them at bay (IPM- Integrated Pest Management).
You can order this book in hardcover or paperback formats. Unfortunately, there is no Kindle version.
7. The Bee Book: Discover the Wonder of Bees and How to Protect Them for Generations to Come
Many beekeeping books which are sold out there in the market, cover only the centralized concept of beekeeping; bees and their hives. There are few books which teach about their surroundings as well. The Bee Book is one such book which will help you learn about the habitat along with beekeeping.
The book is divided into two halves. In the first half, you will know about the evolution of the bees and what is going in those colonies.
Along with that, you will also learn about the honey, bee wax, natural predators and pests of bees, colony collapse disorder, the famous waggle dance of bees, and bee-friendly garden which are nowadays popularly known as ‘bee hotels’.
In the second half of the book, you will understand entirely about beekeeping; installing the bees in their new hives, managing the hives, and harvesting the honey.
A bonus content which includes harvesting wax and propolis is included in the book. You will know about 30 different DIY guides such as making candles with wax, making propolis as a medicine, and much more.
The independent publishing company DK has done its best to include each and every bit of beekeeping. This book can make the best gifts for beekeepers as it includes everything you seek for.
The major drawback of this book is that it is available only in hardcover version but it is not as expensive as few other books which is fair enough.
8. The Beekeeper’s Bible: Bees, Honey, Recipes & Other Home Uses
Perhaps you have understood by now with the name of the book, a bible for beekeepers. This honey and bee book contains parts of history, beekeeping, and recipes.
You will learn about the transformation of beekeeping with history and the importance of it. There is everything about honeybees and the apiaries. It contains beehive management, extracting honey and also fully detailed instructions about candle making, furniture polish, and beauty products.
There are very detailed instructions and illustrations about backyard beekeeping with excellent high-quality images. The book gives you the confidence about beekeeping and you can start immediately.
I would have felt better if the book is available in paperback format but unfortunately, you can get this book in hardcover version only. On the brighter side, the hardback is not as expensive as others, so it is an easy take for you.
Don’t be fooled with the low price for a hardback book. The book is large enough and the quality of the papers is one of the best in the market.
When you consider the history of beekeeping, this is definitely a must-read book for everyone, especially for newbies.
9. Beeswax Alchemy - How to Make Your Own Soap, Candles, Balms, Creams, and Salves from the Hive
Any beekeeper would like to make the maximum and best from their apiary. The end products after harvesting the honey from the colonies are of great value. If you know the exact recipe, you can make a great number of products.
Beeswax Alchemy is the book which teaches how to manufacture these products. You will learn how to make soaps, balms, furniture polish, salves, and whatever you can from the beekeeping.
While this book is intended for those who are already in beekeeping business, even beginners will find it useful. You will learn how to successfully make your beekeeping business prosper commercially.
Few best things you learn from this book is the manufacturing of birthday candles, lip balms infused with cocoa butter, various kinds of perfumes, soaps and much more. You can master yourself in the endgame of the beekeeping.
Although this book does not cover the basics of beekeeping, their habitats, and other things, it is still a decent book if you are unaware of what to do once the honey is harvested.
The book is available in Kindle and paperback formats and you can buy which suits you the best.
10. Honeybee Democracy
I cannot think of any surprising name than called Honeybee Democracy. It is named so because of the way bees act. They are united in every stage of their life.
The Honeybee Democracy is a book which covers every aspect of a bee’s life. Note that it is not about beekeeping but about bees. You will learn how to attract bee swarms, understand their social behavior and much more.
This book very clearly explains how the bees’ debate amongst themselves to start a new hive after every migration. They communicate with each other and come to a common opinion about the best place, location, and transport the swarm to the newly decided place.
So, you might be wondering how this book will help you in beekeeping. If you understand about the inclination of the bees about their new places, you can provide an ideal nest where they can form a successful colony. In this way, you can lure many bee swarms into your hive boxes.
This book is ideal for the beginners those who are about to begin their new backyard apiaries. Another best thing about the book is that it is available in various formats. You can get a paperback, hardback, audio form, and also Kindle versions.
11. Bee Culture
If you are looking for magazine type of book which regularly publishes about beekeeping, then you should opt for Bee culture. It is updated every month with the latest updates and advancements.
This book is a wonderful gift for those who are established, beekeepers. It does not mean that it is not good for beginners, but beginners may find it bit outside the loop with this one.
So if you are already an advanced user, you will find this book as a great resource. Since it is a magazine, you will not find similar content in two books. Make sure you follow this if you are keen about learning about new methodologies.
This book is available in printed format only which means paperback only. You manage your subscription at your choice in the subscriptions page.
12. The Practical Beekeeper: Beekeeping Naturally
Many beekeeping books are written in the form of educational material while some of them are narrative or intuitive as well. The Practical Beekeeper is an aggregation of the entire beekeeping universe.
It describes the transformation of natural or conventional beekeeping along with the different adjustments and experiments. Not only the learnings but the information from various forums and questions and answers (Q&A) are also condensed into a single form.
The entire content was published in three different volumes suitable for beginners, intermediate and advanced users. But the author Michael Bush condensed all three different books into a single one.
Now everyone can advance their beekeeping experience and knowledge with a single book. There are many beekeeping books which have a lot of similarities, but you will find this different from every other book.
It is a great source of knowledge for all those who already know about bees. You will learn how to transform your beekeeping from time to time, about how to use natural resources and advance your business.
This book is available in hardcover format only. If you are a Kindle lover, you are out of luck.
13. Top-Bar Beekeeping: Organic Practices for Honeybee Health
Over the years, bees are being devastated by several pests and the colony collapse disorder (CCD). While there are many successful beekeepers who can raise the bees without many troubles, most of them use antibiotics, synthetic sprays, and much more.
The Top-Bar Beekeeping book will educate you about the natural and organic ways of beekeeping. This book stresses the advantages of top-bar hive practice.
A top-bar hive is mimic the hollow log of the tree within which the bees can climb and can form colonies easily. But when it comes to the quantity of honey top bar hives are less efficient than the Langstroth beehives.
The difference between top-bar and Langstroth are explained in every minute detail possible. You will also know about various innovative ideas in transforming your beehives for enhanced productivity.
It is a decent book for beginners as well as advanced users. Beginners will learn about the efficient ways of beekeeping while advanced users will know how to reshape their beehives for more yield.
The best part about the book is the information about the organic practice which will give better results than the synthetic ones. It is also healthier when you consider the quality of the honey.
14. Build Your Own Beekeeping Equipment
Well, this is the book if you are looking to build your own hives. With this, you can save a lot of money instead of wasting on buying new ones.
The consists of a detailed guide about building an 8-frame or 10-frame beehive from scratch. There are detailed instructions, step-by-step guides, and illustrative images about all the procedures.
There are nearly 35 DYI guides which will help you build various types of beehive projects. This book also includes the various steps that you can follow which will keep your bees active and happy.
There is much yield of honey if you follow the various methods described in this book. Not only in terms of productivity, but you will also find yourself more indulging and you will definitely enjoy your beekeeping business.
The author Tony Pisano is a beekeeper himself and sells honey from his apiary. He has incorporated every piece of knowledge he has learned through beekeeping and also by gaining knowledge by studying various books.
The book can be obtained in Kindle and paperback formats according to your convenience.
15. Homegrown Honey Bees: An Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Beekeeping Your First Year, from Hiving to Honey Harvest
The last book on our list of best beekeeping books is the Homegrown Honey Bees. It is a perfect guide for beginners who have a deep enthusiasm for starting their apiary.
You will learn everything about beekeeping, from building your own beehive to harvesting the honey. Not only about hiving and harvesting, but you will also learn about the colony hierarchy, allergies, and colony collapse disorder (CCD).
You can find excellent macro photographs which will help you in getting into the insights of beekeeping. The whole book is written in full color which gives you more interest in reading it.
This book illustrates the beautiful concepts of beekeeping engaging its readers to their core. You will find a lot of interest and quickly motivate yourself into a beekeeper.
I would not say that this book is suitable for beginners only. Even advanced users can read this and gain as much knowledge they can. The book is available in Kindle and paperback formats and you can choose accordingly.
Things to Consider Before Buying Best Beekeeping Book
While there are many beekeeping books available out there in the market, it is obvious for beginners and even advanced users about buying the best book.
The basic thing to consider before buying a beekeeping book is the purpose. If you are a beginner, the book you are about to buy must have all the basics about beekeeping. It is better if it has beautiful illustrious images too.
Apart from the purpose, other things which must be considered are:
Irrespective of the level of the book; beginner friendly or for an advanced user looks for the various types of formats the book is available in. Personally, I would recommend buying a paperback or a hardback version instead of a Kindle format. It would keep your eyes healthy and stress-free.
If you are an avid reader on a Kindle device, you can opt for it. Make sure the book has all the three types formats.
These days everyone tends to be an author. With all the technology and advancements, anyone is able to research and produce a book. But you must understand who is a good author and who isn’t.
I would suggest buying a book from the author who has deep knowledge about bees and beekeeping. It is also good if you consider an author who is a beekeeper.
The next thing which you must consider after the author is quality. Even though the author is the best, it isn’t good if he/she delivers a bad quality book. Consider buying a decent quality book which has illustrious images, color printed and has durable paper.
The final thing to consider is price. While some books are available at an affordable price, there are many which are priced high, especially the hardback versions.
If the price is within the limits of your budget, you can buy accordingly.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q. Why do we need these books in the first place?
In order to know about the various types of bees, their behavior, temperament, their relationship with nature so that you can start your own apiary and make it a successful business.
Q. Why do you suggest a printed version over an eBook?
No rocket science in it, digital reading devices can hurt your eyes than the original books do.
Q. How to know which author is best?
Read the author’s biography, experience and relevant knowledge (or degree). If any one of these details makes you feel that the author has good experience in beekeeping, go for that.
Q. How to choose the best book for me?
While it is complicated to answer, consider the basic thing as mentioned above; the purpose. If it serves the purpose what you seek for, it is the best book for you.
Q. Is it OK to buy books which explain only about the bees but not beekeeping?
Absolutely OK. Successful beekeeping can only happen if you understand well about the various types of bees. It is even ideal to know about various bees, their lifecycle and temperament before starting to read about beekeeping.
The practical beekeeper will always seek knowledge from wherever he/she can. There are plenty of resources available at your disposal which can give you tremendous knowledge about beekeeping.
Our picks of the best beekeeping books are very efficient for both beginners and professionals.Use them at your best and start your successful apiary or backyard beekeeping.