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The Best Books About Bees

Published on July 31st 2019
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As a beekeeper, I am often asked which books I would recommend to bee lovers, whether they've just taken an interest or are a lifetime obsessive. To answer those questions, here’s a selection of my favourite bee-related reads :

For the beekeeper searching for science

  • Tom Seeley’s ‘Honey Bee Democracy’ is a classic that brings together Seeley’s forty years of research into bee behaviour and communication.
  • Mark L Winston's ‘Bee Time: Lessons From the Hive’covers his early research into the Africanised honey bee right up to his most recent findings, three decades later. It also looks at how the lessons from this research can shape how we interact with each other and the natural world.

Bee lovers wanting to understand the magic of bees

  • Jacqueline Freeman ‘The Song of Increase’. This is my absolute favourite bee book. Jacqueline Freeman takes readers beyond traditional beekeeping and offers a way to work in harmony with honeybees for both their good and ours.
  • Charles Butler ‘The Feminine Monarchie’ another classic written in 1623 but still relevant today.

Plants for Bees

  • Sarah Wyndham Lewis's ‘Planting for Honeybees’ a lovely hand-sized book filled with facts about how to make your garden as bee-friendly as possible.
  • Coffee table ‘Plants for Bees’ by Kirk & Howes. A comprehensive guide on which plants provide nectar and pollen.
  • Dave Goulson ‘A Sting in the Tale’ & ‘Bee Quest’ as well as his latest ‘The Garden Jungle’. Goulson is a bee scientist at Sussex University and leads the way in his research on the effects of our modern lifestyle and how bees suffer from our behaviour.

Beginner beekeepers

  • ‘The Good Bee’ by Alison Benjamin & Brian McCallum is a beautiful book. An easy read to help you understand the basics and ethics behind beekeeping.
  • Haynes Bee Manual written in the same style and format as their car manuals.
Not forgetting my own book; ‘Artist to Bees’, fifty short tales on my personal journey from an artist to a Bee Speaker covering many of the lessons I’ve learnt since keeping bees.
There are very many more fabulous bee books, but this list would be my ‘desert island’ choices, as long as there were bees on the island of course!
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