The 20 Best Beekeeping Books

Beekeeping is one of the world’s most rewarding hobbies. But to excel at it, you need the right information and the right resources. You need the best beekeeping books.

Beekeeping books have the potential to teach you everything you need to know about caring for bees. From buying your first hives and finding a place to house them, to caring for them and using the various equipment. You’ll also learn complex techniques like disease management, queen breeding and more.

The best beekeeping books tackle every subject with simple, clear information that helps you succeed with your colonies. They’ll have a host of ideas to monetize your hives, from honey extraction to making scented wax candles, beauty soaps, and cooking delicious recipes. You can even learn how to make many of your tools, further reducing costly bills on your investments.

And whilst many beekeeping books are pitched at beginners, in particular, there are a host of ones specifically dedicated to advanced work and areas of scientific study.

We’ve taken a look at a series of these books and found 20 which we consider being the best of the best. If you’re looking for the best beekeeping books, consider our reviews below:

20 of the Best Beekeeping Books

1. The Beekeeper’s Bible: Bees, Honey, Recipes & Other Home Uses

The Beekeeper's Bible: Bees, Honey, Recipes & Other Home Uses

Arguably one of the best beekeeping books on the market, The Beekeeper’s Bible contains everything a beginner and expert needs in beekeeping information.

From early history to modern-day How-To guides for practical beekeeping, every page is littered with colorful photographs and beautiful, detailed illustrations.

The tone of the book ensures everyone can learn at an easy pace. And with a plethora of delicious honey recipes, guides to creating beauty products and scented candles, polish and more, you’ll find new ways of experimenting with your beekeeping.

Benefits:

  • Contains a mixture of history and how-to guides – great for beginners and experts alike
  • Attractive cover with detailed illustrations and photographs used throughout
  • 100+ honey recipes and tutorials on making beauty products, polishes and more

2. Beekeeping for Beginners: How To Raise Your First Bee Colonies

Beekeeping for Beginners: How To Raise Your First Bee Colonies

Written with beginners in mind, this beekeeping book explains everything you need to start your hive and nurture it throughout the year. From transferring colonies to helping them survive their first winter, you’ll learn the fundamentals of beekeeping, one step at a time.

The book carries a nice, friendly tone throughout which guarantees easy learning and practical knowledge. We especially love the detailed glossary which teaches you all the lingo you’ll need going forward.

Benefits:

  • Aimed primarily at beginners
  • Includes step-by-step practices and tutorials
  • Informative glossary teaches all definitions, terms and more

3. Building Beehives For Dummies

Building Beehives For Dummies

Beekeeping relies heavily on precision and expert craftsmanship. If you’re looking to make your own equipment to exact specifications, then you need Building Beehives for Dummies.

This book teaches many basic carpentry techniques that you’ll need to succeed in beekeeping, and so is great for beginners wanting to dip their toes in crafting.

You’ll explore building several hive types and accessories, including Langstroth, 8-frame garden hives, hive top feeders and more. Each schematic includes materials required, illustrative drawings, and step-by-step instructions.

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Benefits:

  • Aimed at DIY-work of Beekeeping
  • Teaches basic carpentry and has step-by-step instructions
  • Save money by making your bee hives, feeders, hive stands and more

4. Natural Beekeeping: Organic Approaches to Modern Apiculture, 2nd Edition

Natural Beekeeping: Organic Approaches to Modern Apiculture, 2nd Edition

Natural Beekeeping explains everything you need to know when setting up clean, chemical-free beehives.

Aimed at both beginners and professionals alike, this book offers alternatives for improving bee health and resilience. From selective breeding programs to implementing chemical-free pest controls, information is in-depth and worthwhile.

And if you’re looking to turn a profit at beekeeping, you’ll also appreciate the marketing chapter which explores various ways you can monetize your hives.

Benefits:

  • Focuses on organic beekeeping
  • Suitable for beginners and experts alike
  • Basics such as bee identification, anatomy and identification covered
  • The marketing chapter is useful for beekeepers interested in commercial work

5. The Backyard Beekeeper: An Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Keeping Bees in Your Yard and Garden

The Backyard Beekeeper: An Absolute Beginner's Guide to Keeping Bees in Your Yard and Garden

The name says it all. This book acts as a complete beginner’s guide to beekeeping and contains everything you need to know to care for your hives effectively.

Important topics such as hive location, swarm control, using basic bee equipment such as bee smokers, top feeders and more are all explored in a book whose only goal is to have you successfully keep bees in your garden.

Expect expert advice on a variety of topics including disease and pest management. We especially love the detailed illustrations and photographs used, which are great If you are a visual learner.

Benefits:

  • Covers all the basics for beginner beekeepers
  • Great learning material for visual learners

6. Beginning Beekeeping: Everything You Need to Make Your Hive Thrive!

Beginning Beekeeping: Everything You Need to Make Your Hive Thrive!

Practical information is at the forefront of this book, which is often regarded as one of the best beekeeping books for beginners.

Everything from how and where to buy your bees from to feeding them, disease control and more are covered succinctly and with a variety of colored photography.

You’ll continue to grow as a beekeeper, as advanced techniques such as swarm control and handling aggressive colonies are also explored. The honey harvesting guide is especially well put together, and will help you extract, process and evaluate your stocks with ease.

Benefits:

  • Ideal for beginner and amateur beekeepers
  • Variety of beginner topics often forgotten by rival books, including buying bees, placing them etc.
  • A detailed honey processing guide

7. Keeping Bees with a Smile: Principles and Practice of Natural Beekeeping

Keeping Bees with a Smile: Principles and Practice of Natural Beekeeping

If you’re looking for bee-friendly practices to help attract bee swarms and promote stock numbers, this book is a great asset.

You’ll learn about naturally keeping bees by enhancing local plants, using chemical-free techniques and protecting colonies from harsh weather conditions.

This book is not suited for beginner beekeepers looking for in-depth guides on how to look after bees, but more a case of ‘why we need to implement new strategies for their care.

Benefits:

  • Learn natural ways to promote bee stocks
  • Aimed at farmers/professionals

Things to consider:

  • The book focuses more on ‘why’ to keep bees, as opposed to ‘how’
  • Not ideal for beginners

8. The Beekeeper’s Handbook

The Beekeeper's Handbook

With easy to understand diagrams and explanations, this book is a perfect starting point for any beginner in beekeeping.

With every step, you’ll learn not only the how, but the why too. Introductory topics such as setting up an apiary, handling bees to seasonal management and health controls ensure you’ll be confident and comfortable with your hives in no time.

We especially love the detailed illustrations which help break down even the toughest topics and showcases what equipment you’ll need to invest early in.

Benefits:

  • A great entry point for beginner beekeepers
  • Variety of detailed illustrations
  • Explains the how and why of every step
  • Extensive bibliography and list of resources for additional reading

9. 100 Plants to Feed the Bees: Provide a Healthy Habitat to Help Pollinators Thrive

100 Plants to Feed the Bees: Provide a Healthy Habitat to Help Pollinators Thrive

If you’re serious about keeping bees in your garden and improving local stock numbers, this book is a vital resource to have.

You’ll be given expert recommendations on how to transform your garden in practical, easy ways. And with over 100 flowers, herbs, shrubs and trees all profiled and analyzed for their usefulness, you will be spoiled for choice!

The flora chosen will have abundant blooms, making them not only attractive to look at but irresistible to your hives.

Benefits:

  • Garden guide to help promote bees visiting your garden
  • A great resource to have if keeping hives near your home
  • Classifies over 100 flowers, shrubs and more for their bee-friendly qualities

Things to consider:

  • Not a beekeeping tutorial book
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10. Top-Bar Beekeeping: Organic Practices for Honeybee Health

Top-Bar Beekeeping: Organic Practices for Honeybee Health

Tailored towards beekeepers interested in top-bar beekeeping, this guide explores everything you’ll need to successfully grow a hive in a long-lasting, environmentally friendly way.

Whilst top-bar hives often yield less honey, they help promote more natural comb building with bees. You’ll also be able to enjoy a more unconventional way of beekeeping, with chemical-free practices and simplified hive management.

We especially love that this book has a friendly, low-stress tone used throughout, which makes for the perfect learning tool for beginners, and for experts looking to challenge themselves with something different.

Benefits:

  • Focuses on top-bar beekeeping
  • A useful guide for beginners and experts alike

11. A Book of Bees: And How to Keep Them

A Book of Bees: And How to Keep Them

Mixing biography with factual, A Book About Bees by Sue Hubbell is a delightful tale of her growth as a beekeeper in the Ozarks of the USA.

Containing multiple tutorials on how to keep hives, mixed with charming anecdotes about her life spent with bees, Hubbell’s journals about her life weaving her beekeeping stories throughout. You’ll learn a lot about bees, and also about life itself by reading it.

Benefits:

  • Mixes biography and factual events for a heart-warming read
  • A multitude of beekeeping facts, How-tos and advice found
  • Makes for an ideal gift

Things to consider:

  • Memoir-style may not suit readers solely focused on beekeeping

12. The Complete Guide to Beekeeping for Fun & Profit Everything You Need to Know Explained Simply

The Complete Guide to Beekeeping for Fun & Profit Everything You Need to Know Explained Simply

If you’ve ever thought about monetizing your beekeeping, this complete guide promises to help evaluate and invest wisely, whilst still keeping your hobby fun.

Build your “business” from the ground up, and learn everything from honey pricing to bookkeeping, finance management and practical advice to looking after your hives throughout the year.

Benefits:

  • Creative ways to earn from beekeeping
  • Pitched towards beginner beekeepers with advice on practical beekeeping

Things to consider:

  • The tone is complicated and dry

13. Honeybee Democracy

Honeybee Democracy

If you want to find out ‘the why’ behind bee behavior and what beekeepers do, Honeybee Democracy is your answer.

Author Thomas D. Seeley explores the nature of bees. Everything from why and how they act when choosing a new home, to a timeline of their evolution, to an expert dissection on their communication methods, decision making and more.

By learning from Seeley, your beekeeping will reach new heights and you’ll have an in-depth appreciation of how your hive functions.

Benefits:

  • In-depth, well-researched information in the book
  • Focuses on the biological nature of bees, explaining why and how they act

14. Mason Bee Revolution: How the Hardest Working Bee Can Save the World – One Backyard at a Time

Mason Bee Revolution: How the Hardest Working Bee Can Save the World - One Backyard at a Time

Mason Bee Revolution is an easy-to-follow guide on how to promote solitary bees, namely the mason and leaf butter bees.

Solitary bees are some of nature’s hardest workers, and environmentalists around the world are trying to bolster their numbers. This book is a great guide on how you too can do your part.

From picking flowers and creating suitable habitats, alongside facts, figures and information about wild bee populations, you can easily transform your garden to support local wildlife.

Benefits:

  • Aimed at mason/leaf-cutter beekeepers
  • Easy-to-read, suitable for beginners

15. Build Your Own Beekeeping Equipment

Build Your Own Beekeeping Equipment

Covering a variety of hive types, climates and apiary setups, this book is a universal guide on how you can craft a variety of equipment for your beekeeping, saving you time and money the entire way through.

This book is solely a crafting guide and does not explain beekeeping per se. From hive boxes, supers, to covers and more, each instruction guide is easy to follow for intermediate carpenters and above.

Benefits:

  • Learn how to build and make your very own equipment
  • Reduce bills buying equipment

Things to consider:

  • Assumes some level of carpentry skills

16. Storey’s Guide to Keeping Honey Bees

Storey's Guide to Keeping Honey Bees

Described as a must-have reference book for beginner beekeepers, Storey’s Guide details everything you’ll need to know about caring for your hives.

Featuring detailed, color photos, illustrations and graphics, this second edition uses a friendly, straightforward tone to deliver important learning material on everything including hive health, how to plan for the year, honey production and more.

We especially love the dedicated sections on Varroa management, which will help improve your hive’s health tenfold.

Benefits:

  • Comprehensive guide for beginners
  • Details the entire beekeeper’s year
  • Color photos, illustrations and graphics used to great effect

17. The Joys of Beekeeping

The Joys of Beekeeping

Detailing his adventures as a beekeeper, Richard Taylor’s The Joys of Beekeeping is a book filled with joy and celebration of the craft and highlights why people love beekeeping so much.

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Whilst it doesn’t necessarily explain the how-tos with beekeeping, the book blends Taylor’s experiences into a heart-warming story, and will no doubt give beekeepers much to reflect on.

Benefits:

  • Celebration of beekeeping
  • An ideal gift for a beekeeper

Things to consider:

  • Challenging vocabulary and prose used throughout

18. Backyard Beekeeping: Everything You Need to Know to Start Your First Hive 

Backyard Beekeeping: Everything You Need to Know to Start Your First Hive

If you’ve ever had an inkling to home bees in your garden, this book should be your first port of call.

It has everything covered; from choosing the right hive to assembling your hive boxes, to feeding bees and harvesting honey. We love that the book gives you a variety of different techniques and methods, allowing you to find one that suits your style best.

Also included are 15 delicious honey-infused recipes, and a variety of ideas for using excess beeswax.

Benefits:

  • Comprehensive guide for beginner beekeepers
  • Multiple methods and techniques discussed
  • Variety of ideas and recipes included

19. The Beekeeper’s Problem Solver: 100 Common Problems Explored and Explained

The Beekeeper's Problem Solver: 100 Common Problems Explored and Explained

Aimed at beginner beekeepers, this book details some of the most common (and annoying) problems you’ll face in the year ahead.

Diagnosing problems within a hive can be difficult. This book will help you recognize trouble at the moment, and most importantly how to solve it. Each problem is accompanied by photographs, diagrams and in-depth analysis, alongside a wide range of practical remedies.

Benefits:

  • Useful for both beginner and expert beekeepers
  • Details 100 of the most common problems when beekeeping
  • Problems come with in-depth solutions, photos and diagrams

20. Beekeeping At Buckfast Abbey

Beekeeping At Buckfast Abbey

If you’re looking for an all-rounder book that talks about everything, look no further than Beekeeping at Buckfast Abbey by Brother Adam.

It’s an extensive book that expertly covers queen rearing, overwintering, bee history and so much more. Loved by beginners and experts alike, the text has a friendly tone throughout, with simple, understandable language and a wealth of information to be found.

One of the book’s biggest selling factors is the mead-making chapter at the end, which will have you crafting your mead with your bee produce in an instant.

Benefits:

  • Excellent mead making guide and queen rearing tutorials
  • Covers a variety of beekeeping techniques, methods and activities
  • A friendly, straightforward tone that is easy to understand
  • Ideal for beginners and experts alike

Beekeeping Book Buying Guide

There are so many beekeeping books out there to help teach you and enhance your skills at beekeeping.

With so much choice, here are some ways of helping you pick the best ones:

Always Pitch to Your Level

Everyone starts somewhere. If you are new to beekeeping, you might not know what to buy or where to look – that’s why many books openly advertise as being the best beekeeping books for beginners.

beekeeper reading a book

Do not be put off by the ‘beginner’ label – these books will teach you everything you need to know in simple, straightforward English. From how to buy a hive and where to place it, to inspection techniques and honey extraction and more.

The best beginner books will even have additional material and information, that novices and experts can continue to learn from.

An Expert Can Still Hone Their Skills

Beekeeping has several areas of study within itself. From queen rearing and breeding, bee biology, microscopy, pollen identification and more.

If you’re interested in exploring the scientific nature of bees, you can find a plethora of in-depth research tailor-made for beekeepers to learn from.

Photographs and Illustrations Matter

The best bee books will utilize photography and illustrations when explaining new material, diagrams, construction methods and more.

Books should use high-resolution pictures and illustrations, printed on high-grain paper and have detailed labels to help explain important concepts.

How vs Why?

There are several elements to beekeeping books. Primarily, they can be categorized into how things are done (explainers), and why things are done (theory).

Some books will focus on teaching you how to an effective beekeeper. How to buy your first hive, how to make equipment, how to control colonies, check for diseases, or how to extract honey.

Others may explain the theory behind practices, such as organic beekeeping, biology or adaptations of bees. Others might even focus on financial issues, such as monetizing your beekeeping into a business.

A few books will also focus on narrative storytelling – biographies of famous beekeepers. Ensure you pick the correct type of book for your setup.

Recipes, Beauty Products and Much More

Honey is just one product of beekeeping. There is a host of things your hive makes that can be used to create products and further monetize your hobby.

The best bee books will be full of ideas and tutorials on how to make everything from wax candles, beauty soaps, scented material, to cooking recipes, mead and more.

Buying a Beekeeper a Gift?

Many people thank their local beekeepers for their work with gifts. Beekeeping books are an excellent thing to consider.

If you are unsure about buying a technical bee book, consider one which has an attractive, intricate book cover, high-quality photography and glossy diagrams.  Many of the books we’ve recommended are professionally bound and can make for not only informative reads but decorative ornaments on coffee tables, bookcases and more.

Conclusion

Beekeeping is one of the greatest outdoor hobbies you can get involved in. Not only are you producing delicious honey, but you’re helping to enhance and protect your environment.

But to get the best start at beekeeping, you need the best information. You need the best beekeeping books.

These books will help simplify the entire beekeeping process and help you get a great foothold. You’ll learn everything from buying hives, making equipment, to feeding your bees and extracting honey.

The benefits of these books to your craft are limitless, and these books will continue to teach you from the beginning stages, right through the years.

Your confidence will grow. And you’ll learn several ways to monetize your hobby – who knows, your once humble hobby could be your next big career?


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