The best buzzworthy beekeeping books

Frank Mortimer Author Of Bee People and the Bugs They Love
By Frank Mortimer

Who am I?

I am the author of Bee People and the Bugs They Love, an adjunct instructor at the Cornell University Master Beekeeping Program, a master beekeeper, former vice president of the New Jersey Beekeepers Association, and I have written multiple articles featured in the widely circulated Bee Culture Magazine. As president of the Northeast NJ Beekeepers—a position that I held for over a decade—I founded the “Honey Cup," an annual honey tasting competition. I have promoted beekeeping throughout the Northeast by speaking to everyone from school children to gardening clubs and civic organizations, and have led beekeeping seminars across the Northeast and at The New York Botanical Garden.

I wrote...

Bee People and the Bugs They Love

By Frank Mortimer,

Book cover of Bee People and the Bugs They Love

What is my book about?

Who wants to keep bees? And why? For the answers, Master Beekeeper Frank Mortimer invites readers on an eye-opening journey into the secret world of bees, and the singular world of his fellow beekeepers. Buzzing along from hobbyist to expert, Mortimer – aka “Frank the Bee Man” – delivers an informative, funny, and galvanizing book about the symbiotic relationship between bees and the beekeepers who are determined to protect the existence of one of the most beguiling and invaluable creatures on earth.

With a swarm of offbeat characters and un-bee-lievable facts, (did that bee just waggle or festoon?), Frank the Bee Man takes his obsession to the next level, as he is indoctrinated into the millennia-old craft of beekeeping.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Bees in America: How the Honey Bee Shaped a Nation

Why did I love this book?

Bees In America is a great read, as it chronologically takes you from the earliest European colonists who brought their bees with them—as honeybees are not native to North America—through to the present. It’s a mix of American history, biology, and American ingenuity, all rolled into a nonfiction account that’s chocked full of interesting facts and details.  For anyone interested in honeybees and/or beekeeping, it’s fascinating to learn the role they played in our developing nation. Plus, it’s exciting to read about all the innovations and advancements in beekeeping that have been discovered in America over the past 200 years. 

By Tammy Horn,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bees in America as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Queen Bee," "busy as a bee," and "the land of milk and honey" are expressions that permeate the language within American culture. Music, movies, art, advertising, poetry, children's books, and literature all incorporate the dynamic image of the tiny, industrious honey bee into our popular imagination. Honey bees -- and the values associated with them -- have influenced American values for four centuries. Bees and beekeepers have represented order and stability in a country without a national religion, political party, language, or family structure. Bees in America is an enlightening cultural history of bees and beekeeping in the United States.…

A Book of Bees: And How to Keep Them

By Sue Hubbell, Sam Potthoff (illustrator),

Book cover of A Book of Bees: And How to Keep Them

Why did I love this book?

Hubbell has done a great job of capturing what it’s like to be a beekeeper. The book is organized around a calendar that serves as a year in the life of a beekeeper, highlighting what beekeepers do at different times of the year. The book is as much about Hubbell’s life, dealing with loneliness, and how her bees bring her strength through her solitude. She writes beautifully about being out in nature, amongst the sights and sounds of Southwest Missouri’s Ozark Mountains. There are many details about honeybees along with descriptions of the various chores and responsibilities that a beekeeper has to do.  

By Sue Hubbell, Sam Potthoff (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Book of Bees as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A New York Times Notable Book: “A melodious mix of memoir, nature journal, and beekeeping manual” (Kirkus Reviews).

Weaving a vivid portrait of her own life and her bees’ lives, author Sue Hubbell lovingly describes the ins and outs of beekeeping on her small Missouri farm, where the end of one honey season is the start of the next. With three hundred hives, Hubbell stays busy year-round tending to the bees and harvesting their honey, a process that is as personally demanding as it is rewarding.
Exploring the progression of both the author and the hive through the seasons, this…

Book cover of The Lives of Bees: The Untold Story of the Honey Bee in the Wild

Why did I love this book?

Dr. Seeley is one of the world’s top honey bee researchers, and he provides the reader with a lifetime of his experimental research and personal insights into honey bees. Dr. Seeley has made a significant number of honey bee discoveries, and in The Lives of Bees he swarms into honey bee nests, reproduction, food collection, temperature control, how bees communicate, and much more. There’s also plenty of useful information that beekeepers can apply to their own bees. From observing feral colonies living in the Arnot Forest, Dr. Seeley discusses how we might want to step back and look to wild bees for guidance.

By Thomas D. Seeley,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Lives of Bees as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How the lives of wild honey bees offer vital lessons for saving the world's managed bee colonies

Humans have kept honey bees in hives for millennia, yet only in recent decades have biologists begun to investigate how these industrious insects live in the wild. The Lives of Bees is Thomas Seeley's captivating story of what scientists are learning about the behavior, social life, and survival strategies of honey bees living outside the beekeeper's hive-and how wild honey bees may hold the key to reversing the alarming die-off of the planet's managed honey bee populations.

Seeley, a world authority on honey…

The Beekeeper's Handbook

By Diana Sammataro, Alphonse Avitabile,

Book cover of The Beekeeper's Handbook

Why did I love this book?

If you want to keep bees and only plan on buying one “how-to” beekeeping book, then The Beekeeper’s Handbook is for you. Filled with lots of basic information to get you started, this how-to book goes further and also provides in-depth/technical information that you’ll need after you have been keeping bees for a few years and have a strong foundation of beekeeping knowledge, but are still looking for more.  This easy-to-follow handbook has plenty of step-by-step information that will come in handy for beekeepers of all experience levels. If you’re serious about bee-ing a beekeeper, this book is a must-have!   

By Diana Sammataro, Alphonse Avitabile,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Beekeeper's Handbook as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Diana Sammataro and Alphonse Avitabile have created the best single-volume guide to the hobby and profession of beekeeping. The Beekeeper's Handbook provides step-by-step instructions for setting up an apiary, handling bees, and working throughout the season to maintain a healthy colony and a generous supply of honey. Various colony care options and techniques are explained so that beekeepers can make the best choices for their hives.

The Beekeeper's Handbook is an invaluable resource for both beginner and veteran beekeepers. This fully updated and expanded fifth edition includes:
Hand-drawn instructional diagrams that provide step-by-step instructions
Updated research regarding the health and…

Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera

By Candace Fleming, Eric Rohmann (illustrator),

Book cover of Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera

Why did I love this book?

Bar none, this is the best bee book for kids. It is the most accurate kid’s bee book on the market, serving up bee facts in a kid-friendly format with Fleming’s award-winning style. The illustrations are spot on with many realistic details that beekeepers will bee happy to see. Equally as important as bee-ing factually accurate, Fleming is a gifted storyteller, and Honeybee does a great job of turning a bee’s life into a compelling story that will entertain and engage kids of all ages. This book will make you smile because it captures the true wonder of honeybees, explaining it in a way that will inspire generations to admire the honeybee.  

By Candace Fleming, Eric Rohmann (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Honeybee as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Robert F. Sibert Medal Winner
Take to the sky with Apis, one honeybee, as she embarks on her journey through life!

An Orbis Pictus Honor Book
Selected for the Texas Bluebonnnet Master List
Finalist for the AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books

A tiny honeybee emerges through the wax cap of her cell. Driven to protect and take care of her hive, she cleans the nursery and feeds the larvae and the queen. But is she strong enough to fly? Not yet!

Apis builds wax comb to store honey, and transfers pollen from other bees into the storage.…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in honey bees, beekeeping, and bees?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about honey bees, beekeeping, and bees.

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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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