“Be warned: if you start keeping bees and develop a real interest in them, it will be with you for life. And I doubt very much that you will regret it for a moment.” – Philip Chandler, author of The Barefoot Beekeeper
For thousands of years (possibly tens of thousands) man has plundered the hives of wild bees for their precious honey and beeswax.
9,000 years ago man started keeping bees in pottery vessels in North Africa. 4,500 years ago bees were domesticated in Egypt. On the walls of the sun temple of Nyuserre Ini from the Fifth Dynasty, before 2422 BCE, workers are depicted blowing smoke into hives as they are removing honeycombs.
And beekeeping continues to this day, where we now have developed hives that allow us to harvest honey without destroying the entire colony.
But bees are in decline. Since 2006 colony losses from Colony Collapse Disorder have been increasing across the world although the causes of the syndrome are, as yet, unknown. Could be all the pesticides and poison that mankind is releasing into nature, or it could be something else, either way the bees are dying at a disturbing rate. But we need them for our very survival because of their role in pollinating our crops.
It’s my hope that this list of resources can help you get started with beekeeping. The world needs more beekeepers. Why not you?
Here are some of the best resources I’ve found for learning more about beekeeping and how to get started.
- Beekeeping – Wikipedia
- Beekeeping – Appropredia
- Native beekeeping – Appropedia
- Beekeeping Basics – Backwoods Home Magazine
- The Different Types of Honey Bees – Bee Source
- Free Download: Races of Honey Bees in North America – Mann Lake, LTD.
- Free Download: An Introduction to Natural Beekeeping – Philip Chandler
- Free Download: So You Want To Keep Bees? – Answers the question “what does it take to become a beekeeper?”
How-to & Beehives
- Langstroth, Top-Bar or Warre?: Choose the Right Hive for You and Your Bees – Mother Earth News, covering pros and cons of the three most popular hive types.
- Infographic: Choosing The Best Beehive
- Free Download: How to Build a Top Bar Hive – Philip Chandler, author of The Barefoot Beekeeper, show you how to build a top bar beehive.
- Free Download: How to Start Beekeeping for Free
- Open Source Beehives – DIY plans to build your own beehive using a CNC machine
- Honey Recipes
- The Beekeeper’s Bible: Bees, Honey, Recipes & Other Home Uses by Richard Jones and Sharon Sweeney-Lynch
- The Backyard Beekeeper by Kim Flottum, a good beginner’s guide to keeping bees in your yard
- The Beekeepers Handbook by Diana Sammataro and Alphonse Avitabile. For conventional (Langstroth, and using treatments) beekeeping, this is one of the most comprehensive modern books out there.
- Top-Bar Beekeeping: Organic Practices for Honeybee Health by Les Crowder and Heather Harrell, one of the best books on top-bar beehives.
- The Barefoot Beekeeper by Philip Chandler, another book on top-bar hives
- The Practical Beekeeper: Beekeeping Naturally by Michael Bush
- Free Download: Constructive Beekeeping – A small FREE 50-page book written by Ed Clarke in 1918 about how the bees use the beehive as a condenser.
- The Compleat Meadmaker : Home Production of Honey Wine From Your First Batch to Award-winning Fruit and Herb Variations by Ken Schramm, a classic on making mead. This is the book I used to make my first batch of mead over 8 years ago! I’ve still got a bottle left in the root cellar that I’m saving for some very special moment.
- Advanced: Honeybee Democracy by Thomas D. Seeley, a book that brings together decades of Seeley’s pioneering research to tell the amazing story of house hunting and democratic debate among the honeybees.
- Advanced: The Buzz about Bees: Biology of a Superorganism by Jürgen Tautz. This book destroys the cute notion of bees as anthropomorphic icons of busy self-sacrificing individuals and presents us with the reality of the colony as an integrated and independent being―a “superorganism”―with its own, almost eerie, emergent group intelligence.
- American Bee Journal – Established in 1861 by Samuel Wagner and has been published continuously since that time, except for a brief period during the Civil War.
- Bee Culture Magazine – “The Magazine of American Beekeeping”
- USA: Dadant & Sons, 51 South 2nd Street, Hamilton, IL 62341-1397. 1-800-637-7468.
- USA: Mann Lake, Ltd., 501 1st Street, Hackensack, MN 56452-2001 1-800-880-7694
- USA: Brushy Mountain Bee Farm, Inc. 610 Bethany Church Road, Moravian Falls, NC 28654 1-800-233-7929
- USA: Kelley Beekeeping, Walter T. Kelley Company, Inc., P.O. Box 240, Clarkson, KY 42726-0240. 1-800-233-2899
- UK: Thorne Beekeeping Supplies
- UK: Maisemore Apiaries
- UK: National Bee Supplies
A Short Overview of Beekeeping
- Beekeeping Basics – Equipment for Beginners
- Video Series: Beekeeping for Beginners – Wranglerstar
- Video Series: Beekeeping 101 and 202