The first beekeeping book that I ever read (and the book that sent me down this slippery slope) is called Honeybee: Lessons from an Accidental Beekeeper by Marina Marchese. When I first read this book, I knew nothing about beekeeping and wasn’t even sure that I had what it takes to be a beekeeper. If this sounds like you, then this book might be an ideal starting point.

Honeybee: Lessons from an Accidental Beekeeper

Honeybee: Lessons from an Accidental Beekeeper is an extremely detailed personal story about how the author transitioned from Creative Director at a giftware company to becoming a fulltime beekeeper and owner of Red Bee Honey. This book not only covers—in great detail—the basics of starting and caring for a hive of bees, but it is also shares the anecdotes of a beekeeper who is just starting out and learning things along the way (often the hard way).

I found that this book was jam packed full of useful and interesting facts and while I was reading it, I often found myself regurgitating random facts about bees to my wife: “Did you know that bees can …”

Even after reading several other beekeeping books, I still find that this book covers many topics not often covered elsewhere. The last third of this book is devoted specifically to subjects you won’t find in many other books such as tasting and evaluating honey, apitherapy, styles and varieties of honey and even a reference chart for deciphering a honey label in 4 different languages. The one thing this book is lacking however, is an index, so don’t expect to be able to use it as a quick reference without flipping through 256 pages.

The fact that this book is written as a story, and not simply a step-by-step guide to beekeeping, makes it quite enjoyable to read and I found it quite inspiring to hear about Marina’s adventures as she experienced bees and beekeeping for the first time. It is one thing to hear an expert tell you how you should do things and another thing to hear an expert describing what it’s like the first time she visited a hive and the mistakes she made along the way. I should also note that this book is full of excellent diagrams and illustrations by Elara Tanguy. The highly-detailed illustrations may not be as clear as photographs (although almost) but they suit the style of the book very well and were an excellent choice.

I highly recommend this book to anyone even remotely interested in bees or honey. It would make an excellent gift for any beginner or aspiring beekeeper.

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Honeybee: Lessons from an Accidental Beekeeper
By: C. Marina Marchese