For years I have been interested in bees. Much of that time was being interested in ways not to get stung by them or how to get them away from me, but over time my attitude towards them as changed. Years ago while still in Vermont one of my friends got two hives one spring. we coached lacrosse together at the local school so she would share stories of the bees and the process. I think this was my first real excitement about the idea of actually keeping bees.
Fast forward a couple years later, this fall my mother asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I blurted out, “a beehive”. A few weeks later a beginner kit from Mann Lake (ordered through Amazon Prime) arrived at my doorstep and I was quickly assembling it in our tiny house. This kit along with a book – The Beekeeper’s Bible, started the whole journey. The book at first did not draw me in, but now it’s one of my favorites learning the history and comprehensive knowledge on the subject. Had I known what I know now I would have probably started with a different kit and order it directly from the website.
Beekeeping books, not including the ones on my iPad.
Quickly, I did what anyone of my generation does when wanting to acquire a new skill, I went to the internet. I found local beekeeping groups on Facebook, honestly sometimes those conversations scare more than encourage one to get going, but the information is extremely useful. Though some YouTube videos, online articles, and participating in groups, I found myself ordering one package of bees. About two weeks later I would also order a Nuc after learning more. For now I am in what I call the academic stage of beekeeping. My book shelf is full of beekeeping books, I spend my free time watching YouTube videos, I am tinkering with ways to modify our langstroth hive as well as Forest building me a Top Bar Hive.
It is safe to say I have spent much of the last couple of months reading, whether it be while traveling or in between appointments, in the mornings or at night before bed. My reading list has been consumed with all things bees and beekeeping. There are tons of great books out there. Some that I personally liked others might not, but for me and my goals here are some of the best books and the ones I wish I had left at Amazon. As you can see below I have been busy.
All Around Beekeeping
Backyard Beekeeper – Revised and Updated, 3rd Edition
Natural Beekeeping: Organic Approaches to Modern Apiculture, 2nd Edition
The Classroom: Beekeeping Questions and Answers
Build Your Own Beekeeping Equipment
Our own homemade Top Bar Hive before painting
Top Bar Beekeeping
Top-Bar Beekeeping: Organic Practices for Honeybee Health
The Thinking Beekeeper: A Guide to Natural Beekeeping in Top Bar Hives
Fun Reads with Education
Honeybee: Lessons from an Accidental Beekeeper
Confessions of a Bad Beekeeper: What Not to Do When Keeping Bees (with Apologies to My Own)
Ones I Could Have Lived Without
The Beekeeper’s Handbook
A Manual or an Easy Method of Managing Bees
The Beekeeper’s Lament: How One Man and Half a Billion Honey Bees Help Feed America
The New Honey Revolution
Robbing the Bees: A Biography of Honey–The Sweet Liquid Gold that Seduced the World
Top Bar Hive Almost finished. Almost in it’s resting place.
I spend my days online for work, researching, reading and writing. So when it comes to my hobbies I immediately turn to what I know and that is researching online. I can honestly say the best resource online is from Michael Bush aka The Practical Beekeeper. His website, BushFarms.com, is the best online resource I have found. He also put all that information into a series of books. Sometimes it’s just easy to google what I want to know. Biobees.com, run by Phil Chandler aka The Barefoot Beekeeper, has also been a great resource. His natural beekeeping forum has the answer to almost any question.
YouTube has everything, the good, the bad and the ugly. Sometimes I watch it more to watch what not to do. But overall there is a ton of information on it for the visual learner. My favorite people to listen to are Michael Bush, Les Crowder, and Sam Comfort all of which have tons of information, although Crowder does not have many videos. YouTube is like jumping down the rabbit hole, you have to decide how deep you want to go.
Netflix has been a great resource for watching documentaries about bees and beekeeping. Even if you are not interested in keeping bees you should watch these documentaries. Maybe you will want to keep them for yourself.
- More than Honey
Queen of the Sun: What the Bees Are Telling Us
Vanishing of the Bees
Burt’s Bees Documentary
Those are just some of the resources I have been jumping into the last couple of months. Our bees come in April and in the next post I will cover what our plans are for our hives, how we plan to manage them. Why we choose two different types of hives to start with and two different starting methods, and finally we admit to ourselves we are a bit crazy.
Beeland under construction. From composting area to bee habitat.
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