The single best and most comprehensive guide for prospective, new and experienced hobbyist beekeepers
Beekeeping For Dummies, 5th Edition, is one of the most popular titles in the For Dummies series available today. Including the latest information regarding every aspect of backyard beekeeping and honey production, this book describes how to get started, how to care for and safely handle bees, and how to maintain healthy and productive colonies.
This book is loaded with up-to-date, practical examples and helpful illustrations of proven techniques and strategies for both new and seasoned hobbyist beekeepers. Some of the updates for this brand-new edition include:
* New information regarding the critical role that nutrition plays in the health and productivity of your bees
* News about the latest beekeeping products, medications, and all-natural remedies
* Information regarding dozens of helpful beekeeping resources
* Redeemable coupons from beekeeping suppliers that save the reader money
Beekeeping For Dummies embodies the straightforward and simple approach made famous by the For Dummies series. Each and every reader will benefit from its accessible and approachable take on beekeeping.
Howland Blackiston has been keeping bees for almost 40 years. He has appeared as an expert on CNBC, CNN, NPR, The Discovery Channel, Sirius Satellite Radio, and other broadcast outlets, and has written numerous articles on beekeeping. Howland has been a keynote speaker at conferences in more than 40 countries.
Keeping honey bees is a unique and immensely rewarding hobby. If you have an interest in nature, you'll deeply appreciate the wonderful world that beekeeping opens up to you. If you're a gardener, you'll treasure the extra bounty that pollinating bees bring to your fruits, flowers, and vegetables. If you're a foodie, you will celebrate your own honey harvest. In short, you'll be captivated by these remarkable little creatures in the same way others have been captivated for thousands of years.
Becoming a beekeeper is easy and safe - it's a great hobby for the entire family. All you need is a little bit of guidance to get started. And that's exactly what this book is for. I provide you with a step-by-step approach for successful backyard beekeeping - follow it closely, and you can have a lifetime of enjoyment with your bees.
About This Book
This book is a reference, not a lecture. You certainly don't have to read it from beginning to end unless you want to. I organized the chapters in a logical fashion with sensitivity to the beekeeper's calendar of events. I include lots of great photographs and illustrations (each, I hope, is worth a thousand words) and lots of practical advice and suggestions.
Because Langstroth hives are far and away the most widely used type of hive in the world, most of the content is written with the assumption that you will start your adventure using some kind of Langstroth style hive. But since Top Bar hives (and Kenyan Top Bar hives in particular) have become increasingly popular, this fifth edition includes information of particular interest to you Top Bar beekeepers.
Whether you're just getting started or have been keeping bees for a few seasons or more, I guarantee you'll discover all sorts of new information and helpful tips. This book
- Lets you explore the many benefits of beekeeping and helps you decide whether beekeeping is the right hobby for you.
- Gives you some insight into a day in the life of the honey bee. You find out about the queen, the workers, and the drones, and the roles each plays in the colony. It explains basic bee anatomy and introduces you to a few other stinging insects.
- Deals with any apprehensions you may have about beekeeping (stings, neighbors' funny looks, local restrictions, environmental considerations, costs, and time and commitment).
- Helps you decide where you should locate your hive and how you can get started.
- Introduces you to seven different hive types that are popular among backyard beekeepers. You learn the benefits and drawbacks associated with each of these hives.
- Shows the basic tools and equipment you need. You find out about really cool gadgets and weird and wonderful accessories.
- Helps you decide the kind of honey bee to raise, and when and how to order your bees. You also find out what to do the day your "girls" arrive and how to safely and successfully transfer them to their new home.
- Explains how and when to go about approaching and opening up a colony of bees.
- Helps you understand exactly what you're looking for every time you inspect a colony. I include the specific tasks that are unique to the weeks immediately following the arrival of your bees as well as throughout the first season and into your second season.
- Discusses the tasks a beekeeper must perform year-round to maintain a healthy colony. Use it as a checklist of seasonal activities that you can refer back to year after year. There's a neat "Beekeeper's Calendar" that's keyed to different climates. Use this to identify the tasks you should do and when.
- Shows you how to anticipate the most common problems. Find out what to do if your hive swarms or simply packs up and leaves. Discover how to recognize problems with brood production and your precious queen.
- Provides the latest information about topics that are all the buzz in the media: colony collapse disorder (CCD), backyard pollination, the critical role that good bee nutrition plays in keeping your colony strong, healthy, and disease-free. Discover the nutritional value eating honey. Find out what you can do to help save the honey bees.
- Takes a detailed look at bee illnesses. Learn what medications you can use to keep your bees healthy and productive, year after year. Learn how to ensure optimum nutrition and living conditions for you bees to avoid illness in the first place. Discover natural approaches to keeping bees healthy that avoid or minimize the use of any chemicals.
- Teaches you the basics of raising your own queen bees for fun and profit.
- Gives you a yummy chapter 100 percent about honey. Find out about its influence throughout history, what it's composed of, the many different kinds and characteristics of honey, and how honey is used for health and wellness.
- Gives you a step-by-step approach for harvesting, bottling, and marketing your honey.
I also include some back-of-book materials, including helpful bee-related websites, journals, suppliers, and beekeeping associations. I give you a glossary of bee and beekeeping terms that you can use as a handy quick reference and some templates for creating your own beekeeping checklists and logs. Finally, there are some valuable discount coupons from major vendors that you can take advantage of to manage your hives, purchase equipment, and subscribe to one of the leading bee journals.
If you've never kept bees, this book has all the information you need to get started in beekeeping. I assume that you have no prior knowledge of the equipment, tools, and techniques.
However, if you've been a beekeeper for a while, this book is a terrific resource for you, too. You'll find the latest ideas on how to keep your bees healthier and more productive, as well as natural alternatives to traditional medication approaches. And if you're a city dweller, you'll benefit from the special hints and guidelines that are unique to urban beekeeping. You'll appreciate the way the book has been organized for easy and ongoing reference. I include a whole lot of "tricks of the trade." In short, this book is for just about anyone who's fallen in love with the bountiful honey bee.
Icons Used in This Book
Peppered throughout this book are helpful icons that present special types of information to enhance your reading experience and make you a stellar beekeeper.
Think of these tips as words of wisdom that - when applied - can make your beekeeping experience more pleasant and fulfilling!
These warnings alert you to potential beekeeping boo-boos that could make your experiences unpleasant and/or your little winged friends unhappy or downright miserable. Take them to heart!
I use this icon to point out things that need to be so ingrained in your beekeeping consciousness that they become habits. Keep these points at the forefront of your mind when caring for your bees.
Urban beekeeping involves special considerations and techniques. For those of you keeping bees in a city environment, these hints and suggestions will come in very handy.
The trend these days is to be very judicial about the use of chemicals in the hive - or to avoid them completely. Use this icon to learn about natural, nonchemical methods for ensuring your colony's health and otherwise dealing with problems.
Beyond the Book
There is much more information available from your author, and from the For Dummies brand, for your learning pleasure. Check out these resources to find out more about the art of beekeeping:
- The Cheat Sheet gives you quick reference tasks that you need to complete at various times of the year. Find out what you need to do in summer and winter to care for and protect your bees. To get this Cheat Sheet, simply go to
www.dummies.com and search for "Beekeeping For Dummies Cheat Sheet" in the Search box.
- For Dummies online videos are available at
www.dummies.com/go/beekeepingfd5e. You can see everything from installing your bees to lighting a smoker. Watching me perform these tasks is an invaluable help to new and seasoned beekeepers.
- And, although this book includes information about different beehives, I give you much more information in Building Beehives For Dummies (Wiley).
Where to Go from Here
You can start anywhere with For Dummies books, but there's a logic to beginning at the beginning. If that's not in your personality, consider starting with Chapter 5 to see what equipment you'll need to get started. Then move over to Chapter 6 to determine what kind of honey bee is right for you and what to do the day your "girls" arrive at your home.
You may have some apprehension about working around bees, such as stings and whether your neighbors will be comfortable with your new hobby. Check out Chapter 3 to get some ideas on how to win over your neighbors with information and jars of delicious honey.
Colony collapse disorder has been in the news over the last few years. Chapter 11 takes an in-depth look at this problem and answers common questions. Chapter 8 gives you info and advice about inspecting your hives and your bees, and Chapters 12 and...