The 5 Best Books On Beekeeping – Expert Picks

Looking to buy the best books on beekeeping? We have you covered.

Our experts have read hundreds of books about keeping bees over the years. Here’s our guide to the best ones currently available.

Top 5 Best Books On Beekeeping – Our Picks

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The Bee Book: The Wonder of Bees – How to Protect them – Beekeeping Know-how
Beekeeping for Beginners: How to Raise Your First Bee Colonies
The Bee Manual: The Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Keeping Bees (New Ed)
The BBKA Guide to Beekeeping, Second Edition
Beekeeping For Dummies (UK Edition)
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EXPERTS CHOICE
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The Bee Book: The Wonder of Bees – How to Protect them – Beekeeping Know-how
Our Rating
Outstanding
Customers Rating
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Beekeeping for Beginners: How to Raise Your First Bee Colonies
Our Rating
Excellent
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The Bee Manual: The Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Keeping Bees (New Ed)
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Excellent
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The BBKA Guide to Beekeeping, Second Edition
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Very Good
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Beekeeping For Dummies (UK Edition)
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Good
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Whether you’re new to beekeeping or just have a fascination with the world of bees, there are plenty of books on beekeeping available to help you learn.

The best sellers come packed with useful tips, tricks and walkthrough guides to help you navigate your way to master beekeeper.

Here are our top 5 best books on beekeeping that are currently available on Amazon and all good bookstores.

#1: The Bee Book

The Bee Book

Without a doubt, this book wins our ‘best book on beekeeping’ award for the way it clearly explains beekeeping techniques with a range of colourful photos and sketches.

That helps make it a really easy book to pick up and flick through and several of the customer reviews also mention the interest it generates from visitors when left on a coffee table.

At 224 pages long, it has plenty of detail without going too overboard. We feel it strikes a lovely balance between depth and readability. It’s never dry and, as a result, isn’t daunting to read.

Most of all, it gives a really broad understanding to the reader of what is required to keep bees. This makes it ideal for those just starting out and even those just interested in the hobby.

In fact, even if your only interest is in attracting bees to the garden it still makes for an educational read.

#2: Beekeeping For Beginners

Beekeeping For Beginners

Second on our curated list of the best books for beekeeping is this well-presented book from US-based Amber Bradshaw.

Living in the USA does mean that this book isn’t quite as relevant to those of us in the UK as our number 1 pick. However, don’t dismiss this book just on that factor alone.

It’s a really well put together guide that contains more written narrative interspaced with a few illustrations and images to back up points. That means it reads more like a normal book than a reference guide.

Of course, whether you see that as a pro or con is down to personal preference. We think it offers an interesting alternative to our number one pick on that basis alone.

The author has also published guides on keeping goats and chickens too which helps to give more of a ‘smallholding’ type feel to the guide. In short, that probably makes it better for those that see beekeeping as a way to make money as much as it is a hobby.

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Beekeeping for Beginners: How to Raise Your First Bee Colonies
  • Bradshaw, Amber (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 178 Pages - 06/25/2019 (Publication Date) - Rockridge Press (Publisher)

#3: The Bee Manual

The Bee Manual

Perhaps better known for car manuals, you may at first be surprised to see a Haynes manual all about keeping bees.

Yet, this is not a joke. In fact, what you have here is one of the best books on beekeeping according to our experts (and hundreds of customer reviews!).

The book uses a step-by-step approach to explaining the art and science of becoming a good beekeeper. It’s well illustrated and easy to follow too, just like the car manuals!

At 176 pages it is perhaps slightly on the thin side, but that’s being quite critical. 176 pages is still plenty, and it never feels like it has skipped anything important.

That said, we feel it’s great as a reference guide but, for best insights, we would recommend combining it with at least one of the other books on this list for a complete understanding.

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The Bee Manual: The Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Keeping Bees (New Ed)
  • Hardcover Book
  • Claire Waring (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

#4: The BBKA Guide To Beekeeping

The BBKA Guide To Beekeeping

As ‘BBKA’ stands for the British Beekeeping Association, you’re entitled to expect a really good, accurate guide to beekeeping from this book.

To be fair, that’s exactly what you get. With 224 pages, it’s an in-depth introduction to beekeeping that will appeal to many just for the authority of the organisation behind it.

However, it does lack some of the creativity and presentation seen in the other guides in this list. Plus, the quality of the paper and the occasional lack of good structure means it doesn’t suit everyone.

If you can look past it’s shortcomings and want a highly accurate guide written by the most respected professionals in the UK, it’s still an excellent purchase for any beekeeper.

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The BBKA Guide to Beekeeping, Second Edition
  • Ivor Davis (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 224 Pages - 08/15/2018 (Publication Date) - Bloomsbury Wildlife (Publisher)

#5: Beekeeping For Dummies

The BBKA Guide To Beekeeping

The ‘Dummies’ range of books are perhaps the most well-known in the world for introducing all manner of topics to complete beginners.

Who knew that a book that has a title that insults the reader would do so well?!

Regardless of what you think of the title, this is a really good beginner beekeeper guide and has been specially adapted to suit the UK market.

More experienced beekeepers will naturally feel the book is a little basic, but then they’re not the target market here.

Essentially, if you’ve never kept bees before and want a good introduction to the hobby, you could do much worse than this book.

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Beekeeping For Dummies (UK Edition)
  • Wiscombe, David (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 358 Pages - 10/21/2011 (Publication Date) - For Dummies (Publisher)

Which is the best book on beekeeping?

So, now we’ve shown you our list picking our 5 best books on beekeeping, which one is best for you?

Of course, we mostly recommend our number one pick but that doesn’t mean it’s right for you.

Some people prefer books with lots of pictures and less text. Others find their chose for the best books on beekeeping tend to be ones with more text and fewer pictures!

It all depends on the way you learn best and what you want the book for.

If you’re a complete beginner, you may find highly illustrated books help to explain the more complicated matters of beekeeping much more easily.

However, if you already have a hive and a healthy bee colony, you may simply want more detailed explanation and a book that’s heaver in text.

The point is that books on beekeeping aren’t a ‘one size fits all’. Take a look at the images, read the descriptions and browse the reviews until you see a book that seems to fit your needs!

What type of people are beekeepers?

Of course, if you’re looking for the best books on beekeeping because you’re looking to start a new exciting hobby, perhaps even a business, you’ll be interested to find out if you have what it takes.

Beekeeping isn’t something that should be undertaken without a lot of thought and planning. Where will you position the hive? Can you dedicate enough time to keep the bees healthy? Who will look after the bees when you go on an extended holiday?

These are all important questions to ask yourself.

If you’re still keen on keeping bees after answering these questions honestly, you’re probably the type of person who will become a good beekeeper.

Beekepers tend to be calm and patient people. Above all, beekeepers are nature lovers. Many keep bees simply for the satisfaction that comes from knowing you’re having a positive impact on the natural world. The honey is just a nice added bonus!

Is beekeeping an expensive hobby?

Considering the costs of becoming a beekeeper is incredibly important. Buying a book on keeping bees is just the start of the money you’ll need to spend.

That said, it’s not a particularly expensive hobby. Most of the costs are incurred during the initial setup (buying the hive, tools, and bees you need).

You’ll need somewhere around £200-£300 to get started with all the right equipment. After that, there are minimal ongoing costs and you may even be able to recover your outlay from the honey your bees create!

Is being a beekeeper profitable?

Is being a beekeeper profitable?

For most people, becoming a beekeeper shouldn’t be about making money.

Sure, it may be a nice added bonus, but the main reason for becoming a beekeeper should be for the love of the bees.

Remember, bees are live animals and should be treated with the care and respect they deserve. If you do this right, then beekeeping should always be an enjoyable hobby.

If you do decide to go the extra step and try and turn it into a profitable business, you’ll need plenty of hard work and determination.

Honey as a product is always in demand and not just in it’s raw form. There’s a booming market in products made from bee products (think candles, skin care products, etc).

However, you will need a fair amount of honest before you can consider a profitable business venture. That is why money should never be your main reason for getting your first hive.

How much land do you need for beekeeping?

The answer to how much land you need for beekeeping might surprise you. It’s actually not a lot at all.

As long as you have space for a hive with a reasonable gap around it (and plenty of flowers to pollinate nearby) you have space to start beekeeping.

Many people assume you need wide open fields but it’s simply not true. Many urban beekeepers keep their bees in small back gardens surrounded by neighbours gardens.

In built up areas, some beekeepers even have their hives on the top of buildings.

The fact is, bees are actually very placid creatures. they won’t sting unless they feel threatened. That means you can keep them relatively close to other buildings and people without them causing any real issues.

Did Sherlock Holmes keep bees?

Let’s end this guide to the best books on beekeeping with a fun one. Did Sherlock Holmes keep bees?

If you’re a fan of the famous detective you might be interested to know that yes, he actually took up beekeeping when he retired!

Here’s a passage from one of the books that proves it:

“’But you have retired, Holmes.  We heard of you as living the life of a hermit among your bees and your books in a small farm upon the South Downs.’

‘Exactly, Watson.  Here is the fruit of my leisured ease, the magnum opus of latter years!”  He picked up the volume from the table and read out the whole title, Practical Handbook of Bee Culture, with Some Observations upon the Segregation of the Queen.

‘Alone I did it.  Behold, the fruit of the pensive nights and laborious days when I watched the little working gangs as I once watched the criminal world of London.’”

So, if you choose to take up beekeeping as a hobby, you’ll be following in the footsteps of one of the most famous fictional detectives ever created. How about that?!