A good bee book?
May 3, 2012 4:18 PM   Subscribe

My Wife and I just purchased a beehive starter kit and get our Nuc in a few weeks. We know a lot about certain things like protecting from predators etc and plan to take a 1/2 day course in June. We would like to purchase a book in the same class as Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens that we can use as a reference book. Does anyone have any suggestions? Also any other advice will be welcomed.
posted by mrgroweler to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
My dad has 4 hives and he said this book really helped him. I would have to ask him what other books he reads if you want me to; just memail me your email. I know he subscribes to American Bee Journal.
posted by govtdrone at 5:06 PM on May 3, 2012

Storey publishes a beekeeping guide. I can't recommend it personally but if you liked their approach to chickens, it's a good bet. (Authors will be different, of course, but the house has an editorial style that seems to be a good fit for you.) And take a look at The Beekeeper's Handbook; it's widely used in classes and might meet your needs.

Not sure where you are but I'd recommend finding a local beekeeping group for specialized advice. Beekeeping is like gardening, in that the local climate/infrastructure has huge effect on how you go about things. There's probably an agricultural extension service in your county; you could start there. Or just google for something local. If you can find someone who'll let you hang out and help, that's the very best way to learn. (I keep bees in NYC and would be happy to talk about urban beekeeping -- but it's not much like the usual suburban/rural environment.)

Have fun! It's good you're starting with a nuc; much better chance of a good, sweet harvest this year.

On preview: Yep, the Journal is good but probably not focused enough for you at this point.

Eponysterical, govtdrone!
posted by dogrose at 5:22 PM on May 3, 2012

Response by poster: We actually have a local group (they are the ones doing the 1/2 day). We are in a very rural setting as well, in Ontario... we definitely need to worry about predators so we will probably surround the hive(hopefully hives next year) with a solar electric fencing.
posted by mrgroweler at 6:19 PM on May 3, 2012

Ted Hooper's "The Guide to Bees and Honey" is considered the gold standard beginner's text where I am, although I agree the Dummies book is fine for first steps too.
posted by roofus at 6:59 PM on May 3, 2012

I am a beekeeping instructor and I always recommend "Beekeeping for Dummies" as a beginner book. It's a great jumping off point. For more advanced beekeeping topics, "The Beekeeper's Handbook" is excellent. It will get you through anything that you might encounter inside the hive.

I tell all of my students, (I've taught literally hundreds of students over the years), that beekeeping is a lot of common sense and being observant. Pay attention to weather patterns (you will have to change out equipment depending on temperatures), pay attention to your bees and go out to the hive and just watch them come and go, notice if they need supplemental food and water.

Once you have hands-on experience you will feel comfortable working your hive. Beekeeping is one of the most interesting and rewarding hobbies I have done. If you have access to a beekeeping group in your area, I recommend you get with a more experienced beekeeper to see if they can mentor you. Also, see if there is a Meetup group (Meetup.com) in your area .

Good luck with your new ladies! If you need additional help or have questions, message me. :)
posted by ATX Peanut at 6:04 AM on May 4, 2012

Our bee club uses First lessons in beekeeping and the MAAREC Beekeeping Basics book. I also like the Beekeepers Handbook (now in its 4th edition). I'm not a fan of beekeeping for dummies, morons, idiots, imbeciles or the like, but it's probably more objection to the titles than the content.
posted by eaglehound at 6:26 AM on May 4, 2012

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