The 8 Top Buzz-Worthy Books About Beekeeping Available Today

Written by Marisa Wilson
Updated: May 27, 2024
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There are many reasons why beekeeping is a great hobby. For one, it’s a very peaceful and relaxing activity. It also doesn’t require much space in any backyard. Beekeeping is also a fascinating and informative hobby. It allows you to learn more about the process of making honey and the essential role bees play in our ecosystem. It can also be a great source of income. By selling honey and other bee products, you can profit while doing something you love.

These high-quality books about beekeeping are excellent resources to check out if you want to learn about beekeeping. And if you decide that you want to give beekeeping a try, they include everything from tips for beginners to more in-depth advice. Check out these fantastic books if you are ready to start learning about beekeeping. 

  1. Beekeeping for Beginners: How To Raise Your First Bee Colonies
    •  A simple, step-by-step guide that helps you learn the fundamentals of modern beekeeping
    • A great resource for your first year of beekeeping
    • Includes clearly defined terms and a complete glossary
    Check Amazon
  2. The Backyard Beekeeper, 4th Edition: An Absolute Beginner's Guide to Keeping Bees in Your Yard and Garden
    • Great for urban and rural beekeepers of all skill levels.
    • Photos, illustrations, and callouts on nearly every page
    • Includes 25 rules for beehive management
    Check Amazon
  3. The Beekeeper's Bible: Bees, Honey, Recipes & Other Home Uses
    • High-quality pages and a strong book cover
    • Discusses many bee-related subjects
    • Amazing resource of information, lore, facts, tips, and techniques
    Check Amazon
  4. The Bee Book: Discover the Wonder of Bees and How to Protect Them for Generations to Come
    • Fully illustrated with full-color photographs throughout
    • Includes clear step-by-step sequences, photos, and diagrams
    • Good for beginner and intermediate beekeepers
    Check Amazon
  5. Beekeeping For Dummies (For Dummies (Pets))
    • Covers everything you need to know to start your own colony
    • Great hands-on guide
    • Learn how to protect your colony in an emergency
    Check Amazon
  6. Beginning Beekeeping: Everything You Need to Make Your Hive Thrive!
    • More than 120 color photographs
    •  The only book you’ll need to get started with beekeeping
    • Instructions for enjoying rich, bountiful honey harvests
    Check Amazon
  7. Bees Make the Best Pets: All the Buzz about Being Resilient, Collaborative, Industrious, Generous, and Sweet-Straight from the Hive (Beekeeping gift)
    • A book full of bee facts, anecdotes, and advice
    • Overflowing with bee trivia, tips, legend, and lore
    • A great gift for any bee lover
    Check Amazon
  8. Top-Bar Beekeeping: Organic Practices for Honeybee Health
    • Great resource for anyone wanting to have top bar hives
    • Learn about organic beekeeping methods
    • Good for intermediate and expert beekeepers
    Check Amazon

A-Z-Animals’ Top Picks for the Best Books About Beekeeping

#1 Best Overall: Beekeeping for Beginners: How To Raise Your First Bee Colonies by Amber Bradshaw

Beekeeping for Beginners: How To Raise Your First Bee Colonies will teach you everything you need to know about starting a colony, beginning with picking a hive. Expert beekeeper and college instructor Amber Bradshaw designed this book to walk you through everything you can expect in the first year of beekeeping. It’s ideal for people who have no prior knowledge of beekeeping. Intermediate to expert keepers will not find this book helpful. 

Several reviewers bought the book to determine whether they really wanted to become beekeepers. Some readers decided to become beekeepers, while others decided that beekeeping wasn’t for them. After reading this book, you’ll know if you want to be a keeper!

A few reviewers said that the information was too basic while others said that it wasn’t for beginners: “Although it covers a lot of information, there aren’t nearly enough images. If you are new, you don’t know all of the terms, tools, hive info, harvesting info, etc., and without photos to show you what’s what, it’s just a lot of words that go on and on and on. After wasting money on this book, I had to turn around and order different books that had been recommended. Disappointing.”

Pros and Cons of Beekeeping for Beginners: How To Raise Your First Bee Colonies by Amber Bradshaw

ProsCons
This book is intended to walk potential beekeeper through their first year of beekeeping from selecting a hive to harvesting honey.Some reviewers said that the information was too basic.
It’s intended for absolutely beginners and won’t be useful for intermediate to expert beekeepers.A few verified buyers said that this book “wasn’t for beginners” because it didn’t have enough illustrations to explain the verbiage.
Best Overall
Beekeeping for Beginners: How To Raise Your First Bee Colonies
  •  A simple, step-by-step guide that helps you learn the fundamentals of modern beekeeping
  • A great resource for your first year of beekeeping
  • Includes clearly defined terms and a complete glossary
Check Amazon

2. Best for Finding a Location: The Backyard Beekeeper: An Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Keeping Bees in Your Yard and Garden by Kim Flottum

In addition to having a background honey bee research, the author of The Backyard Beekeeper: An Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Keeping Bees in Your Yard and Garden, Kim Flottum, was editor of Bee Culture magazine for 30 years. So you’d have a hard time finding a more qualified person to teach you the art of beekeeping.

Like the previous book, this one is for beginners, but it goes into far greater detail. For example, it will walk you through choosing a location to keep your bees while keeping their safety — and yours — in mind. It will also teach you about the history of beekeeping and the problems that beekeepers face today.

In this fourth edition, the author added information for urban beekeepers and how to handle pests that may affect your hive. It also highlights things new beekeepers may not have considered, like how important water is for bees and what to feed them. 

Owners of this book can’t help but take notes and highlight it because it has so much valuable information that will be useful for future reference. Many reviewers appreciated the detailed illustrations and said it helped them understand the text well. It is a highly recommended book for beginning beekeepers.

While most reviews were positive, a few verified buyers said that the book was poorly written and terribly organized.

Pros and Cons of The Backyard Beekeeper: An Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Keeping Bees in Your Yard and Garden by Kim Flottum

ProsCons
The author has an extensive background in beekeeping and was the editor of Bee Culture magazine for 30 years.A few verified buyers said that the book was poorly written and terribly organized.
This book was written for beginners but is far more detailed than the previous selection.
In addition to including all the information you need as a beginning beekeeper, it explains the history of beekeeping and the issues facing beekeepers today.
This fourth edition also includes info for urban beekeepers and how to handle pests.
Best for Finding a Location
The Backyard Beekeeper, 4th Edition: An Absolute Beginner's Guide to Keeping Bees in Your Yard and Garden
  • Great for urban and rural beekeepers of all skill levels.
  • Photos, illustrations, and callouts on nearly every page
  • Includes 25 rules for beehive management
Check Amazon

3. Best for Referencing: The Beekeeper’s Bible: Bees, Honey, Recipes & Other Home Uses by Richard A. Jones and Sharon Sweeney-Lynch 

If your hive is up and running, The Beekeeper’s Bible: Bees, Honey, Recipes & Other Home Uses by Richard A. Jones and Sharon Sweeney-Lynch should be the next book on your list. As an intermediate or expert beekeeper, you’ll appreciate the detailed beekeeping instructions as well as ideas for how you can use the honey and beeswax that you harvest.

In fact, this beautiful book includes nearly 100 recipes made from beeswax and honey, including candles, furniture polish, beauty products, soap, honey scones, and more!

It won’t show you how to get started with beekeeping, but it will significantly increase your knowledge of bees. Even if you aren’t a beekeeper, it’s a good read for anyone who is fond of bees. Some readers said that they use it as a coffee table book, while others were intrigued by the illustrations.

One reviewer said that the “…really poor table of contents takes away from the usefulness of the book and makes it difficult to find information.” Another said that the book’s formatting was confusing.

Pros and Cons of The Beekeeper’s Bible: Bees, Honey, Recipes & Other Home Uses by Richard A. Jones and Sharon Sweeney-Lynch 

ProsCons
This book is geared towards experienced beekeepers, not beginners.One reviewer said that the “…really poor table of contents takes away from the usefulness of the book and makes it difficult to find information.”
It includes detailed beekeeping instructions.Another reviewer said that the book’s formatting was confusing.
It also features nearly 100 recipes using honey and beeswax, including food, candles, beauty products, and more.
It’s beautifully illustrated.
Best for Referencing
The Beekeeper's Bible: Bees, Honey, Recipes & Other Home Uses
  • High-quality pages and a strong book cover
  • Discusses many bee-related subjects
  • Amazing resource of information, lore, facts, tips, and techniques
Check Amazon

4. Best Images: The Bee Book: Discover the Wonder of Bees and How to Protect Them for Generations to Come by DK (Author), Emma Tennant (Contributor), Fergus Chadwick (Contributor)

The Bee Book: Discover the Wonder of Bees and How to Protect Them for Generations to Come is filled with full-color pictures and tells you everything you need to know to start your backyard hive, from setting it up to getting the honey. Thanks to the comprehensive step-by-step instructions, images, and diagrams that clearly illustrate practical beekeeping practices, you’ll be prepared to establish your colony, handle diseases, collect a swarm, plant a garden filled with bees’ favorite plants, and much more. 

This book also contains recipes for creating candles, personal care products, and home remedies. You can say that you made everything from scratch because you raised the bees and prepared the honey yourself! Readers enjoyed the depth of this book because it took them several days to read and even longer to study. 

This is an excellent book for those who like to study new topics thoroughly before beginning new endeavors. Intermediate beekeepers may also find it helpful. Many enjoyed the section about bringing more pollinators into your yard and taking care of them.

Aside from a few verified buyers who said that the information was too basic, there was no consistency between the negative reviews. One said that they were unable to read the book on their Kindle. Another said that it was “Not as scientific as I thought, good fit for 7-12 age group.”

Pros and Cons of The Bee Book: Discover the Wonder of Bees and How to Protect Them for Generations to Come by DK (Author), Emma Tennant (Contributor), Fergus Chadwick (Contributor)

ProsCons
This book provides all the information you need to start a backyard hive.A few reviewers said that the information was too basic.
It includes comprehensive step-by-step instructions, images, and diagrams to beekeeping, planting a garden filled with bees’ favorite plants, and more.One reviewer reported that they couldn’t read this title on their Kindle.
This book also includes recipes for items made of beeswax and honey, including candles, personal care products, and home remedies.Another buyer said, “Not as scientific as I thought, good fit for 7-12 age group.”
Best Images
The Bee Book: Discover the Wonder of Bees and How to Protect Them for Generations to Come
  • Fully illustrated with full-color photographs throughout
  • Includes clear step-by-step sequences, photos, and diagrams
  • Good for beginner and intermediate beekeepers
Check Amazon

5. Best for Emergencies: Beekeeping for Dummies by Howland Blackiston 

If you’ve been researching beekeeping online and felt so confused that you didn’t know where to start, then Beekeeping for Dummies by Howland Blackiston is for you! This practical manual provides all the information you need to become a real beekeeper, including what tools you’ll need, how to start your own colony, build and maintain beehives, and how to handle every step of honey production.

Blakiston has been keeping bees for over 40 years and has appeared on a wide variety of respected television and radio programs, including CNBC, CNN, NPR, The Discovery Channel, and Sirius Satellite Radio. He has also been the keynote speaker at conferences in over 40 countries and throughout the U.S. There’s no better author to have written this for Dummies title!

The comparison between each hive type and the author’s explanation of its benefits and drawbacks is excellent. This book explores every facet of beekeeping. You’ll discover how to tell the queen from her drones and workers, how to open and close the hive correctly, and how to tell one type of honey from another. 

It also explains how to protect your colony in an emergency. After finishing this book, readers felt significantly more confident about beekeeping and proceeded to order the supplies to carry out the tasks. Stop endlessly googling in despair at the conflicting information and grab this book. 

A few reviewers said that this book was too basic.

Pros and Cons of Beekeeping for Dummies by Howland Blackiston

ProsCons
This comprehensive book explains everything you need to know to establish your own backyard beehives and how to handle every step of honey production.A few reviewers said that this book was too basic.
Blakiston has kept bees for over 40 years and been featured on a wide variety of well-respected television and radio programs. He has also spoken at conferences as the keynote speaker in over 40 countries and throughout the U.S..
The comparison between the types of hives, their benefits, and drawbacks is excellent.
Learn how to differentiate between drones and workers, how to open and close hives correctly, and how to tell one type of honey from another.
The book will also teach you how to protect your colony in an emergency.
Best for Emergencies
Beekeeping For Dummies (For Dummies (Pets))
  • Covers everything you need to know to start your own colony
  • Great hands-on guide
  • Learn how to protect your colony in an emergency
Check Amazon

6. Best for Hive Problems: Beginning Beekeeping: Everything You Need to Make Your Hive Thrive! by Tanya Phillips

Experienced beekeepers that read Beginning Beekeeping: Everything You Need to Make Your Hive Thrive! by Tanya Phillips wished they had it at the beginning of their beekeeping journey. They said it has the best, clearest, easy-to-understand instructions and beautiful pictures. The book touches on several different types of beekeeping and the supplies needed. 

Aside from just an incomplete list like most online pages offer, the author mentions what supplies are crucial, what is simply nice to have, and what you can skip on buying. Experienced beekeepers say that this list is invaluable. Beginning Beekeeping: Everything You Need to Make Your Hive Thrive! will teach any novice how to develop and maintain healthy, thriving colonies thanks to its clear instructions and more than 120 color photographs. 

You’ll discover the best practices and methods for maintaining healthy colonies, how to establish a colony and draw in bees, and how to diagnose and resolve a variety of typical hive problems. Along the way, you’ll discover how to collect your honey and look after your bees. 

Author Tanya Phillips is a sideliner beekeeper, which means that she manages bee colonies (in her case, 150!) for profit.

Two reviewers said that this book wasn’t comprehensive enough for newbies, “This is a beautifully illustrated book and unlike some others, it does have sections on Top Bar hives in addition to the Langstroth. But it lost two stars from me when I checked the FEEDING section. This is for BEGINNERS and lacks instructions on how to make the sugar syrup, how to store the syrup until used, and this is one of the first things a new bee keeper must do! A new package must be fed when installed and there is nothing I can find on how to MAKE and STORE the syrup for that first feeding.

Pros and Cons of Beginning Beekeeping: Everything You Need to Make Your Hive Thrive! by Tanya Phillips

ProsCons
This book on beginning beekeeping contains clear, easy-to-understand instructions and over 120 beautiful photos.Two reviewers said that this book wasn’t comprehensive enough for first-time beekeepers.
It includes a list of supplies and clearly delineates between what’s critical for your beekeeping operation and what you can skip.
The book explains best practices for maintaining a healthy colony, how to establish a colony and attract bees, and how to diagnose and resolve common hive issues.
You’ll also learn how to collect your honey and take care of your bees.
Author Tanya Phillips is a sideline beekeeper who manages 150 colonies for profit.
Best for Hive Problems
Beginning Beekeeping: Everything You Need to Make Your Hive Thrive!
  • More than 120 color photographs
  •  The only book you’ll need to get started with beekeeping
  • Instructions for enjoying rich, bountiful honey harvests
Check Amazon

7. Best for a Laugh: Bees Make the Best Pets: All the Buzz about Being Resilient, Collaborative, Industrious, Generous, and Sweet-Straight from the Hive by Jack Mingo

Bees Make the Best Pets: All the Buzz about Being Resilient, Collaborative, Industrious, Generous, and Sweet-Straight from the Hive by Jack Mingo offers more than simply exciting facts about bees’ daily lives. Most experienced beekeepers have never heard of this information before. It comes from someone who has a close relationship with his own bee colonies and is naturally curious about various issues. 

The book is entertaining and leaves the reader feeling awestruck by how sophisticated and complex the bee colony is. Owners of this book think it’s hilarious and fun. It has advice, as well as history and lore. Yes, bees have lore behind them! 

Have you ever heard the story of caroling bees on Christmas? Did you know bees had a role in the Civil War? Readers have kept this in their library and enjoy rereading it. This is a perfect book to simultaneously have fun with and while gaining an appreciation of bees. It’s a great gift for the beekeepers in your life, too! 

There was only one critical review for this book, which actually wasn’t very critical: “I think the book started strong with facts, procedures, and general beekeeping knowledge. As it progressed it seemed more his experience rather than straight information. It provided a nice mix but I personally would have preferred more information. Overall good book.”

Pros and Cons of Bees Make the Best Pets: All the Buzz about Being Resilient, Collaborative, Industrious, Generous, and Sweet-Straight from the Hive by Jack Mingo

ProsCons
This book is packed with facts, many of which even experienced beekeepers aren’t aware of.The sole negative review read, “I think the book started strong with facts, procedures, and general beekeeping knowledge. As it progressed it seemed more his experience rather than straight information. It provided a nice mix but I personally would have preferred more information. Overall good book.”
The book is entertaining and contains advice, history, and lore.
Some examples of facts and lore contained in this book are caroling bees on Christmas and the role of bees in the Civil War.
Best for a Laugh
Bees Make the Best Pets: All the Buzz about Being Resilient, Collaborative, Industrious, Generous, and Sweet-Straight from the Hive (Beekeeping gift)
  • A book full of bee facts, anecdotes, and advice
  • Overflowing with bee trivia, tips, legend, and lore
  • A great gift for any bee lover
Check Amazon

8. Best for the Environment: Top-Bar Beekeeping: Organic Practices for Honeybee Health by Les Crowder and Heather Harrell 

Top-Bar Beekeeping: Organic Practices for Honeybee Health by Les Crowder and Heather Harrell explains how beekeepers who care about the environment can use top-bar hives, which look like hollow logs inside. A top bar hive made of untreated wood is long-lasting and completely biodegradable. It lets bees build comb naturally instead of just filling pre-made foundation frames in a typical box hive with added supers. (“Supers” is beekeeper-speak for superstructures, the boxes on a beehive where bees store their honey.)

Most Langstroth box hives make more honey than top-bar hives, but top-bar hives make more beeswax. Bees stay healthy and disease-free when the hive is checked regularly and old combs are removed. All home beekeepers and hobbyists who have time and want to keep bees should consider the natural, low-stress methods in this book. 

It will also be attractive to gardeners and people who practice permaculture and rely on bees for pollination and honey or beeswax. The book presents a compelling case for organic beekeeping methods. It isn’t beginner-friendly, so it’s best for those who already have experience working with bees. Readers liked that it was so detailed, and they easily understood the benefits of these organic techniques.

Some reviewers said that this book was not for first-time beekeepers and that it didn’t contain enough information specifically about top-bar beekeeping.

Pros and Cons of Top-Bar Beekeeping: Organic Practices for Honeybee Health by Les Crowder and Heather Harrell 

ProsCons
Top-bar hives are made of untreated wood, are long-lasting and biodegradable, and resemble hollow logs.May not be the best choice for first-time beekeepers.
They allow bees to build comb naturally instead of filling pre-made foundation frames in typical beehives.Some reviewers said that it doesn’t contain enough info specifically about top-bar beekeeping.
Bees that utilize top-bar hives stay healthy and disease-free when the hive is checked regularly and old combs are removed.
This organic method will appeal to gardeners and people who practice permaculture and rely on bees for pollination, honey or beeswax.
Best for the Environment
Top-Bar Beekeeping: Organic Practices for Honeybee Health
  • Great resource for anyone wanting to have top bar hives
  • Learn about organic beekeeping methods
  • Good for intermediate and expert beekeepers
Check Amazon

Criteria: What to Look for in Books About Beekeeping

First, consider the recipient. Are you buying this book for yourself or as a gift? Is the recipient someone who has expressed an interest in beekeeping or do they have some degree of beekeeping experience?

The books in this review can be broken down into four categories:

  • Books for beginning beekeepers
  • Books for intermediate and advanced beekeepers
  • Books filled with facts and lore about bees
  • Books about alternative beekeeping practices

Books for Beginning Beekeepers

These books are designed to teach beginning beekeepers what supplies they need to purchase, how to establish a colony, how to care for their bees, and how to collect and process honey and beeswax. Some titles may also include “recipes” for making candles, beauty supplies, and food.

Books for Intermediate and Advanced Beekeepers

These titles often contain the same much of the same information as books for beginners, but take a deeper dive into individual subjects.

Books Filled With Facts and Lore About Bees

Books filled with bee facts and lore are designed to entertain, not instruct. That’s not to say you won’t learn anything; you may end up being a wizard at bee-related trivia. But you won’t be able to establish a backyard beehive after reading one of these books.

Books About Alternative Beekeeping Practices

Individuals who are interested in the environment, gardeners who practice permaculture, and maybe traditional beekeepers who want to investigate different methods of beekeeping will appreciate these books. One of our selections discusses top-bar beekeeping.

About the Author

Creepy-crawly creatures enthrall Marisa. Aside from raising caterpillars, she has a collection of spiders as pets. The brown recluse is her favorite spider of all time. They're just misunderstood. You don't have to worry about squishing the creatures as her catching, and relocating abilities can safely move stray centipedes or snakes to a new location that's not your living room.

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