The Barefoot Beekeeper by Phil ChandlerI’m barely half way through this season of beekeeping and I’m already anxious to start a new season next spring. The reason for my overzealous anticipation is because I just finished reading The Barefoot Beekeeper by Philip Chandler and now I want to spend my winter building top bar hives and preparing to catch spring swarms.

Phil Chandler is one of the topmost authorities on top bar hives and intervention-free, natural beekeeping in the world today. His book, The Barefoot Beekeeper, is one of the best resources available for anyone interested in this type of beekeeping and it contains oodles of information to help you start a top bar colony of your very own.

The book begins with a brief history of the honeybee and then The Barefoot Beekeeper highlights several different problems affecting bees today and clearly links these problems to human practices of the last 150 years. Many of these problems started occurring with the invention of removable frames and the Langstroth beehive. Since then, commercial beekeeping has exploded and it has severely impacted honeybee health and overall population.

Chandler becomes more positive in the next few chapters by explaining ways to help the bees using a more natural approach to beekeeping and keeping bees for the sake of keeping bees rather than purely for profit. He focuses mainly on the top bar hive — a style of beehive which more closely mimics the honeybee’s natural habitat.

While the book does not give complete instructions for building a top bar hive, Chandler does urge reader’s to visit his web site,, for detailed top bar hive plans, completely for free.

If you are like me, and either keep bees as a hobby, or would like to keep bees for the sake of keeping bees, then The Barefoot Beekeeper is definitely a book that you should pick up today. Stayed tuned for my own adventures this winter as I build my own top bar hive and then next spring when I capture a swarm of bees to live in it. Thanks Mr. Chandler.

Purchase this book at Amazon:
The Barefoot Beekeeper
By: Phil Chandler
3rd Edition
May 2009