Beekeeping Books

beekeeping books

I started beekeeping and collecting beekeeping books well before the internet was thought of and I read ABC & XYZ of Beekeeping from cover to cover many times in my quest for knowledge.

My copy of ABC belonged to Phillip Crosbie Morrison, the Australian naturalist. His beautiful bookplate is glued inside the front cover. My first edition of The Honey and Pollen Flora of New South Wales is signed by the author W. A. Goodacre.  Mastering the Art of Beekeeping was also a personal favourite, and I still use methods described by the Aebis.

I constantly refer to my beekeeping books as a trusted source of information at a time when anyone can hop on the internet and publish anything that comes into their head.

The information found in beekeeping books is as relevant today as it was 100 years ago.  Beekeepers and bees are indeed facing new challenges, but the basics stay the same.

I will add to this list of beekeeping books, and I am open to more suggestions.

Contact me if you have any more recommendations for beekeeping books.


Australian Beekeeping Books

The Bee Book: Beekeeping in Australia. Peter Warhurst & Roger Goebel

The bee book has been written and compiled by beekeepers who were also apiary officers from the QLD DPI.  It draws on their personal experience and that of other beekeepers, as well as over 100 years of DPI research and expertise.

the bee book

The bee book. Beekeeping in Australia.

The Australian Beekeeping Manual. Robert Owen

The Australian Beekeeping Manual is the most comprehensive reference for both novice and experienced beekeepers in Australia. The accessible yet detailed text, supported by over 350 photographs and illustrations covers all the key areas, including:

  • the beekeeping equipment needed,
  • how to obtain bees,
  • where to locate in the garden
  • the basics of colony management.

There are also in-depth chapters on:

  • the life cycle of the honey bee
  • extracting honey
  • creating a bee-friendly garden
  • entering honey competitions
  • pests and diseases
  • native bees
  • rearing queens

The result is an invaluable beekeeping resource that will be referred to time and time again, and which can be taken out to the hive for use as a quick step-by-step guide or read at leisure.

the australian beekeeping manual

The Australian Beekeeping Manual.

Backyard Bees.  A Guide for the Beginner Beekeeper.  Doug Purdie.

Just about anyone can keep bees.  All you need is a bit of space in your backyard (or on your rooftop) and a little love for the creatures that pollinate the verge patches of your neighbourhood.  And once introduced to the charms of beekeeping and the taste of warm honeycomb direct from the hive you will be hooked.

Backyard bees are the ultimate guide to installing and maintaining a hive through the seasons including:

  • extensive advice on choosing a colony and the equipment you need,
  • case studies and anecdotes from beekeepers from all walks of life,
  • 20 delicious recipes for all that honey, from Toasted Honey Granola to Bees Knees Cocktails
backyard bees

Backyard Bees. A guide for the beginner beekeeper.

The Bee Friendly Garden.  Easy ways to help the bees and make your garden grow.  Doug Purdie.

Bees are our most important pollinators, and they are in decline the world over.  They love to live in urban environments, where it’s a short flight path from one plant to the next.  But conventional gardens that favour lawns and pesticides over flowers and edible plants are scaring the good bugs away.

The Bee Friendly Garden is a guide for all gardeners great and small to encourage bees and other good bugs to your green space.  Includes:

  • How bees forage and why your garden needs them
  • A comprehensive plant guide to bee friendly plants
  • Simple changes anybody can make
  • Ideas for gardens of all sizes
  • Natural pest control and companion planting advice
the bee friendly garden

The Bee Friendly Garden

Australasian Queen Rearing.  W. S. Pender.

The object of this treatise is to give to the beekeeper directions by which he can rear queens for his use, which every beekeeper should do at times, if not always.

Australasian Queen Rearing

Australasian Queen Rearing

Practical Beekeeping.  Handbook for Australia and New Zealand.  Ray Chapman-Taylor and Ivo Davey.

Practical Beekeeping is a step-by-step guide for the amateur beekeeper.  An introductory section on bees and equipment is followed by details of setting up and caring for hives.  The later chapters introduce alternative techniques and information on more complex operations for the beekeeper with some experience.

practical beekeeping

Practical Beekeeping

Australian Beekeeping Books about Honey & Pollen Flora

Honey and Pollen Flora.  Alan Clemson.

Honey and Pollen Flora by Alan Clemson describes and illustrates more than 300 of the most important polliniferous and melliferous plant growing over a wide area of southeastern Australia.  A detailed botanical description, distribution, flowering time and apicultural value are given for every species.

honey and pollen flora

honey and pollen flora

Field Guide to Eucalypts. Volume 1, 2 & 3. Brooker and Kleinig.

Australia is one of the few countries in the world generally associated with a single group of plants. These plants are the eucalypts.

The genus Eucalyptus includes over 500 species, with almost half of these occurring in south-eastern Australia in the crescent from the top of the Spencer Gulf around to Brisbane, including Tasmania. All known species and subspecies in the area, about 240 are included in Field Guide to Eucalypts, and each is described and illustrated.

In each description, the more important features are emphasised by the use of bolder type, and full-colour illustrations show the tree or mallee and its bark, buds and fruit. The botanical terms used throughout are explained and illustrated in the introduction and defined in the glossary.

Keys provide a systematic route to the identification; there is a separate key for each of the five states covered by the book. A wide range of characters is used to distinguish between the species.

Field Guide to Eucalypts is a most valuable and authoritative source of reference for all who are interested in trees – botanists, foresters, naturalists and many others.

field guide to eucalypts

Field Guide to Eucalypts

The Honey and Pollen Flora of New South Wales.  W. A. Goodacre.

A knowledge of the species of plants of value for honey production is essential if the apiarist is to make the maximum use of flora for his industry.  Not only must his knowledge include the ability to identify the species and an understanding of the quality of the honey and pollen to be obtained from each, but also familiarity with the indications of the approach of bussing and new growth, which allow of an estimate being made of possible production in the following season and of the making of preparations for management of the apiary accordingly.

the honey and pollen flora of new south wales

The Honey and Pollen Flora of New South Wales

American Beekeeping Books

The ABC & XYZ of Bee Culture. A. I. Root

An encyclopedia about the scientific and practical culture of bees. First edition was printed in 1877. One of my all-time favourite beekeeping books.

ABC & XYZ of Bee Culture

ABC & XYZ of Bee Culture

Better Beekeeping.  The ultimate guide to keeping stronger colonies and healthier, more productive bees.  Kim Flottum.

Kim Flottum’s first book, The Backyard Beekeeper, is the most in-demand book for beginning beekeepers available.  His follow-up, The Backyard Beekeeper’s Honey Handbook, has information on harvesting and using artisan and varietal kinds of honey that is available in no other text.

Now, in Better Beekeeping, Kim takes serious beekeepers past the beginning stages, past the learning curves, and the days of early errors.  Better Beekeeping leaps the significant hurdles of keeping bees today – migratory beekeeping, pesticide-polluted fields, monoculture crops, and unpredictable queens – and offers solutions and rewards for maintaining bees in a better way.  Better queens, better winters, better food and better bees await any beekeeper willing to take on the challenge of having the right number of bees, of the right age, in the right place, in the proper condition, in the right time.

Better Beekeeping

Better Beekeeping

Storey’s Guide to Keeping Honeybees.  Honey Production.  Pollination.  Bee Health.  Malcolm T. Sanford & Richard M. Bonney.

Your complete guide to keeping healthy hives.

Harvest your honey, make your garden or orchard more productive, nurture local food systems, connect with nature, and help bring honey bees back from population decline.  These are some of the benefits of becoming a beekeeper.  Whatever your interest in honey bees, this reliable resource has all the expert advice you need to keep a thriving, productive hive.

Storey’s Guide to Keeping Honey Bees will guide you through every step of beekeeping including:

  • Planning a hive
  • Acquiring bees
  • Installing a colony
  • Keeping your bees healthy
  • Understanding and preventing diseases
  • Harvesting honey crops
Storey's Guide to Keeping Honeybees

Storey’s Guide to Keeping Honeybees

Beekeeping for Dummies.  Howland Blackiston.

Interested in raising honey bees?  This friendly, practical guide presents a step-by-step approach to starting your beehive, along with expert tips for maintaining, a healthy colony.  You get the latest on honey bee medication and treatments, harvesting and marketing your honey, and the impact the sudden disappearance of the honey bee has on our environment and economy.

Beekeeping for Dummies

Beekeeping for Dummies

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Beekeeping.  Dean Stieglitz and Laurie Herboldsheimer.

Discover the fun and satisfaction of raising bees!  The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Beekeeping gives you all the buzz on setting up and maintaining a healthy hive of your own.  In this Complete Idiot’s Guide you get:

  • Expert advice on acquiring your bees and establishing your colony.
  • Tips on caring for your bees without chemical treatments or artificial feeds.
  • Guidance on inspecting your hives and knowing what to do if things go wrong.
  • Helpful hints on the best ways to harvest honey.
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Beekeeping

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Beekeeping

Queen Rearing.  Harry H. Laidlaw, JR. & J. E. Eckert.

Queens are the foundation of the beekeeping industry and, other things being equal, the better the queen, the greater will be the return in pleasure and profit.  Consequently, the fundamentals of queen rearing and of bee breeding deserve the attention of all progressive beekeepers.

Queen Rearing

Queen Rearing

Mastering the Art of Beekeeping.  Volumes 1 & 2.  Ormond & Harry Aebi.

These two beekeeping books are amongst my personal favourites.  Explaining not only the how but the when of beekeeping, guaranteeing the greatest honey yield, the Aebis from a lifetime of experience offer incredible insights into the inner life of the hive, the language of bees, gathering and gentling wild swarms as well as methods for preparing and maintaining healthy colonies.

Two personable bee-masters whose name means “honeybee”, describe how they can earn a living from beekeeping and how they broke the world’s record for wildflower honey from a single hive.

Mastering the Art of Beekeeping

Mastering the Art of Beekeeping

UK Beekeeping Books

Bees and Beekeeping.  Science, Practice and World Resources. Eva Crane.

This is a presentation of the scientific principles underlying beekeeping management and their practical application in different conditions. It gives an account of honeybees as a world resource, both in producing honey and other hive products and as pollinators that increase yields of seed and fruit crops. It tries for the first time to present an integrated picture, with a summary of its history, of world beekeeping on various continents. The author intends that readers will experiment with new ways in which beekeeping methods and equipment might be improved still further and with the application of new technologies and materials seek fresh conceptual approaches to beekeeping problems.

Bees and Beekeeping. Science, Practice and world Resources

Bees and Beekeeping. Science, Practice and World Resources

A Book of Honey.  Eva Crane.

Explains how bees produce honey, what its composition and properties are, and how honey can be used in cooking, as a folk remedy, and in cosmetics.

A Book of Honey

A Book of Honey

Swarming.  It’s Prevention and Control.  L. E. Snelgrove.

The problem of controlling and preventing the swarming of bees has exercised men’s minds ever since bees were first kept in hives.  The invention of movable combs, which significantly increased the possibility of control, in some respects intensified the problem.

Swarming. Its Control & Prevention

Swarming. Its Control & Prevention

Beekeeping.  A Seasonal Guide.  A new Edition of the Classic Work by Ron Brown.

  • A charming and practical guide to accompany the beekeeper through each session of the beekeeping year.
  • In-depth but simple instructions for all the techniques you need, from choosing and siting your hive to controlling swarms, rearing queens and, of course, harvesting the tastiest honey.
  • Packed with experts advice for beekeepers of all levels, whether you are just starting out or an experienced apiarist wishing to develop your skills.
Beekeeping. A Seasonal Guide

Beekeeping. A Seasonal Guide

In Praise of Bees.  A cabinet of Curiosities.  Elizabeth Birchall.

The bee is probably the most written about species after the human race. As so many commentators through the ages have discovered, there is far more to the insect than its biology and life cycle. In Praise of Bees explores bees’ place in human lives and imaginations, from cave paintings and inscribed clay tablets through to our contemporary world. This beautiful book’s pages are filled with nuggets of bee science and practical beekeeping with carefully researched references to the role of these fascinating creatures in myth, religion, politics, philosophy and folklore. A rich variety of illustrations, ranging from Old Masters and scientific etchings to modern photographs appear throughout accompanied by a selection of verse, much of it the authors.

The text is leavened with a dry wit, resulting in a scholarly but eminently readable exploration of bees, their complex society and their place in the world. This is especially relevant given concerns about their present plight and the ecological consequences.

In Praise of Bees

In Praise of Bees

*Note.  All of the content about book descriptions was taken from the cover notes or prefaces and introductions to the books.

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