Garden Geekery

Bee Books

Well, not off to a good start already with my post regularity. Holidays got in the way. I did, however, receive two excellent books on beekeeping: the second edition of Beekeeping for Dummies by Howland Blackiston and the fourth edition of The Beekeeper’s Handbook by Diana Sammataro and Alphonse Avitabile. These both come highly recommended, based on my research, and I think I’ll be agreeing.

I haven’t read through them in their entirety, yet, but they seem like good companions. The first is easy to read, lots of tips, step-by-steps, that sort of thing. It has a nice “beekeeping calendar” showing what you should expect to do each month, depending on where you live. The second goes into much more technical detail (but still easily understood). More in-depth discussion of different methods to use for particular things, and the pros and cons of each.

One thing I noticed that they don’t necessarily agree on is how many hives a beginner should start with. This is something I’ve been struggling a bit with; I had been thinking two, but then was wondering if that would be diving in too quickly. Dummies suggests one, until you get the hang of doing things. The Handbook suggests two, though, taking the stance that if you only have one hive and something happens to it, you’ll lose an entire year of potential beekeeping experience. So while I’m still not sure which way I’ll go, I can at least be comfortable knowing that either way will be fine for a newbie.

5 thoughts on “Bee Books

  1. Richard Soundy

    One of my design philosophies has always been to implement a practical idea. then add a small cost to make things aesthetically “pleasing to the eye”.

    Yes all hives I make have slanted roofs specially bent/stabilized to resemble a Japanese style roof – why not?

    I also make a great irrigation system using underground seepage pots, every one thinks the pots are quaint and love them (FAQ – why bury them??). My motto, the costs for something practical versus something pretty and practical is almost negligible.

    The book by Abbe Warre is free for download, just do a Google search for same – well worth the reading.

  2. astevens16 Post author

    Thanks for the other book references, Richard! I’ll see if I can find them in one of our libraries. Can never have too much information.

    Neat hive, by the way! Do all TBHs have slanted roofs?

  3. Richard Soundy

    Sorry for using this blog to pass information on to you – I have no direct e-mail contact…

    I believe you may have interest in looking at a beehive (under the catagory of RESOURCES) that I “whittle away at” under my oaks. The information is on a newly created (still under construction) local club/site I am trying to launch – naturally I do not expect you to join, unless you have a corporate jet that could jet you to the Centraol Coast of California for the occassional chat & meetings…

    Here is the link:

  4. Richard Soundy

    Regarding reading material, I personally would recommend researching older writings – far more accuracy based on bee observations. “The lore of the honey bee” is a must and “beekeeping for all” by Abbé Warré ( I could send this one to you in pdf format – 10Meg). Once you read and observe bee behavior you tend to shy away from the mountain of recommendations a.k.a. bee management techniques. Bees are smarter than man!

    I would go with one hive and provide good living quarters – like most folks a comfortable home in a nice area makes it hard to leave.

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