This is the book I wish existed when I started beekeeping in 2008. Loaded with photos and step-by-step instructions, it’s one of the few books that will help you survive your first year, especially if you don’t have a mentor.
- Photos, photos, photos! Everything from eggs and larvae to wax festooning to varroa mites to Nasonov fanning gets a gorgeous photo. See examples at the end of this post.
- Step-by-step instructions are included for a variety of beginner tasks like installing a package, lighting a smoker, and conducting your first hive check. Seasoned beekeepers often forget how scary these first steps can be.
- A personal storyline. This book follows the author’s experience keeping backyard bees with her family. The good the bad and the ugly details are all included, making for a very forgiving and human narrative.
- Interviews with local beeks. Backyard beekeepers from San Francisco to Austin to Chicago are highlighted throughout the book. (I’m on page 47. Yay.) The sheer variety of beekeepers presented makes a new beek feel comfortable developing their own unique approach.
- A natural approach. Most books I used in my first year were very chemical-centric and solely devoted to Langstroth hives. This book primarily covers Langstroth hives but also discusses top bar hives and pays more than just lip-service to a chemical-free approach.