What is the Book on Bees and Bee Keeping You would Buy

While I usually seek out answers on the forum or on the net I am looking to purchase a book on beekeeping.
Cost not a consideration but something like Stephanie Alexander’s The Cook’s Companion, is to cooking.
Comprehensive, with detailed basics.

I would like a book that will last my beekeeping
What is book that you go to first or value the most.


Hi Busso

Being an Aussie, like yourself, I have chosen to purchase 'The Australian Beekeeping Manual" by Robert Owen. I got a hardcover copy so it will last and it has a ton of relevant info. I’m very happy with this book and they are now available online from many sources. Makes for a very good read.

Thanks @Schnucki I will definitely have a look.

Yeah, 99.9% of all the books on the market are mostly USA or UK published. This one is one from Oz so it is the most relevant

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How about “The Australasian Bee Manual”:
http://www.xstarpublishing.com/#Australasian Bee Manual

Thanks Bushy,
There are a lot there. I will work through them.


@Dawn_SD, @Dee, @Valli Come on girls, let me in on your secrets. :relaxed:

Hi Busso, someone offered me a copy of “The ABC & XYZ of Bee Culture”. If I didn’t want it, it would have got thrown out. It’s a fantastic book. Almost an encyclopedia on beekeeping. The only thing I could fault in the book was at the time of publishing my edition, they were clipping queens wings to prevent swarming. I couldn’t see the sense in doing that.

The book @Schnucki, Max mentioned might be a good one to get.

If your lucky enough, as I was to get offered a copy of The ABC, grab it with open arms:)

Thanks mate I wondered what was your reference. Looking very likely I will get more than one. LOL

Thanks Busso, I have quite a few smaller books that only cover the basics, they are good. However the ABC gets into the meat of beekeeping & most importantly “bee culture”.

Once you/we develop an understanding of what bees do in their natural environment, remembering that they are “European” honeybees, it makes keeping bees in our climate so much easier.

In that video “City of Bees”, they say that the 80,000 strong colony will reduce to 15.000 during Winter & quickly grow to 80,000 again during Spring & Summer.

If you look at the U.S. for example. They keep bees from Florida to Alaska. So depending on what part of the U.S. a beekeeper lives in. That 15,000 a colony will reduce to will vary greatly. Therefore different strategies have to be applied for over wintering in different locations.

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You want me to start a fire??? :imp:

OK, so I would of course start with Michael Bush’s book. After that, for biology, anything by Seeley - love that guy. To give you some ideas:

The very famous book:

And most recently:

I have moved this post to the appropriate one. Dissappointed someone didn’t give me a kick and say somewthing like “How about posting this in Books you silly old fool.”

Anyway its here now and I have been looking at books and books on the web and at the local library.
I now have 3 books on my list.
1.The ABC & XYZ of Bee Culture which @JeffH suggested and I have just purchased the 1983 ed second hand for $14 plus $8 postage from a South Australian 2nd hand bookshop. Haven’t got it yet but sounds good."Hardcover leather bound in excellent condition with some small rub marks on the cover.“
2. The Practical Beekeeper: Beekeeping Naturally: Volumes I, II, & III Beek (Hardcover) but second hand copies are almost the price of new copy. So I am still hunting that but I can wait till the right one comes.
3. Last but not least is 'The Australian Beekeeping Manual” by Robert Owen. which @Schnucki suggested. Had a look at this in the library and thought yes this is a book I really like and will buy.
Thank you Schnucki.

In the hunt for books I downloaded 2 excellant books which I found fascinating
1.At the Hive Entrance by H. Storch. I had seen some else recommend this and the cover picture got me in. I started reading it online but soon discovered how interesting it was so downloaded it. Easy reading in a sort of tabulated form. Worth a look.
2. Langstroth on the Hive and the Honey-Bee a Beekeepers Manual by L. L. Langstroth. Published in 1853 I thought I might struggle with the style but not so. What an interesting man with a homely style of writing which makes it so easy to read. I am even tempted to buy the book. The religious references are minor and not distracting so don’t let it put you off. I have read about 1/3 of it to date and just want to get back to it. It is 395 pages long so needs a bit of time. In a nut shell this book is a great reference source, surprisingly entertaining with an easy reading style.

As good as PDf’s and online books are, I still feel more comfortable reading a “proper” book.
You can skip forward and back much more easily in the comfort of your lounge chair. It is quicker to grab of the shelf and get to where you want and the words blur just as easy after a few beers as a computer screen.
Oh and for the young ones around my age it is much easier to get a quick nap in undetected.
For one you don’t rick your neck as you recover just before your head is about to hit the keyboard and that dreaded question “If your sleeping why don’t go to bed?” is more easily answered " no I’m just reading about the how , Rocque Joaquin de Alcubierre, discovered the remains of Herculaneum in 1738, fascinating"

Cheers busso


Odd, I thought he discovered the concept of a warp bubble drive for space ships… Oh, OK, you are confusing me again with woodworking stuff (or a different Alcubierre)!!! :smile: How is it that these guys have Spanish first names (Miguel and Joaquin) and a French last name??

Probably a tribal thing. French man meets lovely señorita on the border, so to keep the In-laws at peace they agree the name their 1st son after her Dad. They live happy ever after. Why he was in Italy I don’t know yet. But if your in that neck of the woods forget Pompei go to the Herculaneum you will not be disappointed.

Well done Busso, that’s a bargain at $14 plus postage. My copy was published in 1978. I wonder if your copy will still have illustrations of how to clip a queens wings so the hive can’t swarm. It didn’t take me long to work out that I don’t agree with that practice.

I must confess that I haven’t read the whole book. I used to pick it up from time to time & flick through till I found a subject I wanted to read about.

A very good modern UK book for beginners is the “Haynes Bee Manual” ISBN 978 0 85733 057 4

While many of the classics are a worthwhile read, (I include many of those earlier in this thread) many were written long before problems such as varroa, asian hornet, SHB and many others were prevalent, so while much of the content of older books is useful, there is a lot missing that the newer beekeeper might not be aware of, and those narratives of older experiences don’t take account of the current challenges that a beekeeper faces.


I had no idea they had a bee manual. When I first saw somebody mention the Haynes manual, I thought it might give illustrated instructions on how to change the brakes or fuel filter on your bees! :smile: It was a godsend to have the Haynes Manual for my Triumph Toledo back in the 80s - very unreliable car!

I’ve seen the used ones at three times the retail price… I’m afraid it’s only been out since 2011 so there aren’t a lot of used ones out there yet…


Whatever book you get, make it your Beeble :heart_eyes: