The Beekeeping Handbook - A Practical Apiary Guide for the Yard, Garden, and Rooftop

I have just torn through another beekeeping book called The Beekeeping Handbook — A Practical Apiary Guide for the Yard, Garden, and Rooftop by Vivian Head. This book was released April 1, 2012 and so it is definitely hot off the press.

Vivan Head is a cook, gardener and bee enthusiast from East Sussex in the UK and she has provided an easy-to-read handbook for anyone interested in beekeeping. The book is fairly fast-paced, starting with a brief history of the honeybee and then a short anatomy lesson, then it jumps right into the basics of beekeeping by introducing tools and techniques needed to house your first colony of bees.

There is a great section of this book called “The Beekeeper’s Year” which is a great resource for beginner beekeepers. It outlines in some detail what tasks are required during each season to maintain a healthy hive. I have bookmarked every season and plan on returning to this book in the future to recap the seasonal tasks that I should be performing.

I have found Ms. Head’s system for logging hive inspections quite intriguing and may use a variation of her techniques this year. I agree that keeping an active and accurate log of your hives is very important and Head provides a breakdown of things that should be logged during each inspection.

There is quite a thorough and detailed breakdown of diseases and pests in this book. This will be an excellent resource to have available if/when problems arise in my apiary, although this particular section of the book is not quite as exciting to read as some of the other chapters like Getting your Bees and Harvesting Honey. There is even a brief section at the very end of the book devoted to rearing new queens, although I think this subject probably deserves more than a 3-page point-form breakdown. It serves more to whet your appetite than to be a complete guide to rearing queens.

At around $13CAD, this is a valuable up-to-date handbook that makes a great addition to any beekeeper’s library.

Purchase this book at

The Beekeeping Handbook: A Practical Apiary Guide for the Yard, Garden, and Rooftop
By: Vivian Head
Released April 1, 2012
Published by Fox Chapel Publishing