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.

Purchase this book at Amazon.ca:

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

I have built my first ever bee hive box. This standard box (also known as a “deep” box or deep hive body) is what you normally see stacked in a standard Langstroth bee hive.

Assembling the pre-cut and pre-drilled pieces is fairly simple. The box joints push together and nails and glue hold everything tight. Metal frame rests are also added to protect the wood from repeated scraping with the hive tool. I have included a how-to video showing how to assemble the box.

 

My friend sent me an awesome beekeeping video this morning, so thought I’d share it here. Made by Hand creates films featuring things we collect, consume, use and share. Their latest video, called No 3 The Beekeeper features a backyard farmer and rooftop beekeeper named Megan Paska from Brooklyn, NY.

 

A photo of the book on a desk

My most recent book was not necessarily one that I would have picked up if I saw it on the bookstore shelf, however, I received it as a gift from my aunt for Christmas, so I gave it a whirl. To my surprise, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Beekeeping was one of the more informative beekeeping books I’ve read thus far, and I definitely learned a thing or two. Read the rest of this entry »

A group of worker bees

Illustration provided by Marty Elmer and used under Creative Commons license.

The Grand River Beekeepers’ Association is my local beekeeping association. I attended my first beekeepers meeting last night. It’s nice to be able to interact with real, local beekeepers finally.

The Grand River Beekeepers’ Association (GRBA) is the beekeeping association for Kitchener-Waterloo and surrounding area. Last night there were 29 people at the meeting (9 women and 20 men) ranging in age from about 25 to 75. There was also a wide variety of experience levels in the room. There were a handful of brand new beekeepers—like myself—and beekeepers with decades of experience. Read the rest of this entry »