94 books like Bees

By Laurence Packer, Sam Droege,

Here are 94 books that Bees fans have personally recommended if you like Bees. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Bumblebee Economics

John M. Marzluff Author Of Gifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans

From my list on wild animals written by scientists that study them.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an ornithologist who studies the myriad ways in which we affect birds and they, in turn, affect us. I’ve conducted field research for over four decades, focusing mainly on the behavior, ecology, and evolution of corvids—crows, ravens, jays, and their relatives. Through these birds I’ve discovered how our settlements, agriculture, and recreation play into their hands, often to the detriment of less adaptable species. As a professor of wildlife science for 25 years, I’ve mentored many graduate and undergraduate students and written hundreds of technical articles. In my writing for popular audiences I aim to celebrate the successful birds that share our world and raise awareness of those we are driving toward extinction.

John's book list on wild animals written by scientists that study them

John M. Marzluff Why did John love this book?

I first read this book as a graduate student and it gave me a new appreciation for insects. Heinrich wowed me by describing his discovery of a hot-blooded insect. Bumblebees can increase their body temperatures by shivering and in this way live in our coldest climates. They heat up to fly in search of nectar which they bring back to their nest of developing bees. They even hibernate and survive the winter in cold regions such as Heinrich’s backyard study area in Maine. This book so influenced me that I eventually studied with Heinrich, spending three years in his Maine woods following the lives of ravens with my wife, Colleen.

By Bernd Heinrich,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Bumblebee Economics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Here is a brilliant introduction to insect and plant ecology focusing on one of nature's most adaptive creatures, the bumblebee. Survival for the bumblebee depends on its ability to regulate body temperature through a complex energy exchange, and it is this management of energy resources around which Bernd Heinrich enters his discussion of physiology, behavior, and ecological interaction. Along the way, he makes some amusing parallels with the theories of Adam Smith-which, Heinrich observes, work rather well for the bees, however inadequate they may be for human needs.

Bumblebee Economics uniquely offers both the professional and amateur scientist a coherent…


Book cover of The Sacred Bee in Ancient Times and Folklore

Thor Hanson Author Of Buzz: The Nature and Necessity of Bees

From my list on the world of bees.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author and biologist Thor Hanson’s research activities have taken him around the globe. He has studied Central American trees and songbirds, nest predation in Tanzania, and the grisly feeding habits of African vultures, but bees rank among his favorite subjects of all. He wrote Buzz to explore their fascinating natural and cultural history. No other group of insects has grown so close to us, none is more essential, and none is more revered.

Thor's book list on the world of bees

Thor Hanson Why did Thor love this book?

This quirky little title captures a wealth of information about the deep relationship between people and bees. Ransome delves into mythology and folklore from around the world and across a huge span of history. Every page seems to offer some new and unexpected connection or story, from ancient Egyptians ferrying their honeybee hives up and down the River Nile to the Mayans cultivating a rainforest species with the agreeable trait of lacking a sting. No other book gives the reader such an exhaustive and entertaining exploration of how bees, more so than any other insect, have been part of human cultures since the dawn of civilization.

By Hilda M. Ransome,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Sacred Bee in Ancient Times and Folklore as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

No creature has provided man with so much wholesome food as the honey bee. Equally impressive is the number of beliefs and superstitions the industrious insect has inspired. Its honey, which was known to the ancient Greeks as the “food of the Gods,” played an important role in early religious rites and was also mentioned in the folklore of many peoples. Hilda Ransome's well-documented and copiously illustrated study of bees focuses on this valuable byproduct of nature and its creator — the "sacred" bee.
Chapters cover the folklore of bees and bee culture — from Egyptian, Babylonian, Chinese, Hittite, and…


Book cover of The Queen Must Die: And Other Affairs of Bees and Men

Thor Hanson Author Of Buzz: The Nature and Necessity of Bees

From my list on the world of bees.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author and biologist Thor Hanson’s research activities have taken him around the globe. He has studied Central American trees and songbirds, nest predation in Tanzania, and the grisly feeding habits of African vultures, but bees rank among his favorite subjects of all. He wrote Buzz to explore their fascinating natural and cultural history. No other group of insects has grown so close to us, none is more essential, and none is more revered.

Thor's book list on the world of bees

Thor Hanson Why did Thor love this book?

There are scores of beekeeping memoirs in print, many of them very engaging. But if I had to choose only one, there is something to be said for this little classic. The biological information is good, but the book rises above the average in the way Longwood conveys it - with charm, wit, and an obvious fondness for his chosen subjects. Paired with a modern how-to manual, this volume could convince just about anyone to try their hand with hive, suit, and smoker.

By William Longgood,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Queen Must Die as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"An engaging collection of observations about honeybees and their activities."-Publishers Weekly


Book cover of The Bees in Your Backyard: A Guide to North America's Bees

Thor Hanson Author Of Buzz: The Nature and Necessity of Bees

From my list on the world of bees.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author and biologist Thor Hanson’s research activities have taken him around the globe. He has studied Central American trees and songbirds, nest predation in Tanzania, and the grisly feeding habits of African vultures, but bees rank among his favorite subjects of all. He wrote Buzz to explore their fascinating natural and cultural history. No other group of insects has grown so close to us, none is more essential, and none is more revered.

Thor's book list on the world of bees

Thor Hanson Why did Thor love this book?

The only thing better than reading about bees is getting outside and seeing some! This book combines good pictures with descriptions of behavior and habitats that will help identify what you find – if not to species, then at least to the major families and groups. Though focused on North America, many of the same general types of bees can be encountered anywhere: sweat bees, miners, diggers, leafcutters, cuckoo bees, and more. In addition to the identification tips, the book includes a generous introduction to bee biology and behavior, as well as a primer on how to improve the bee habitat in any yard through the addition of flowers, nesting sites, and more.

By Joseph S. Wilson, Olivia J Messinger Carril,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Bees in Your Backyard provides an engaging introduction to the roughly 4,000 different bee species found in the United States and Canada, dispelling common myths about bees while offering essential tips for telling them apart in the field. The book features more than 900 stunning color photos of the bees living all around us--in our gardens and parks, along nature trails, and in the wild spaces between. It describes their natural history, including where they live, how they gather food, their role as pollinators, and even how to attract them to your own backyard. Ideal for amateur naturalists and…


Book cover of Planting for Honeybees: The Grower's Guide to Creating a Buzz

Luke Dixon Author Of BEES and HONEY myth, folklore and traditions

From my list on bees and beekeeping.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been enthralled with the natural world since childhood, but it was not until I had enjoyed a career as a theatre director, that my life changed course and I became a professional beekeeper. My new job took be across the rooftops of London, managing bees and hives for The Bank of England, Kensington Palace, The London College of Fashion, Heathrow Airport, Bloomberg, and many others. Now I run a small environmental charity, The Bee Friendly Trust, helping to make the world a little more hospitable to honeybees and some of the many other pollinators that make human life possible.

Luke's book list on bees and beekeeping

Luke Dixon Why did Luke love this book?

You don’t have to have a beehive to help keep bees.

The honeybee, along with the thousands of other bees and insects that live alongside us, are vital to keeping us alive. At least a third of all we humans eat and drink is the direct result of bee pollination. So we owe it to the bees and to ourselves, to do all we can to create an environment to support them.

If you want to give over your garden to a wildflower meadow, or just plant up a window box, Sarah’s book will give you lots of easy ideas. And her illustrations are a rare treat.

By Sarah Wyndham Lewis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Planting for Honeybees as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Of the 25,000 known species of bee worldwide, only seven species are honeybees.

Bees and plants have a sophisticated and delicate symbiosis. In recent years, the shrinking of green spaces has endangered the honeybee. Now Planting for Honeybees shows you how you can help these delightful pollinators to flourish by creating a garden as a habitat for them.

No matter how small or large your space - from a window ledge in the city to a country garden - Sarah Wyndham Lewis offers practical advice on which plants to grow, and when and where to plant them.

Charmingly illustrated with…


Book cover of Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera

Lynn Brunelle Author Of Life After Whale: The Amazing Ecosystem of a Whale Fall

From my list on awaken curiosity in nature for kids.

Why am I passionate about this?

My name is Lynn Brunelle, and for as long as I can remember, I have been at least two things—a bookhound and an outdoorsy girl. Ever since I was little, I have explored trees, insects, tadpoles, snowflakes, tidepools—whatever I discovered in my home in the woods by the beach. I had so many questions, which led to books. So it seems only natural that I LOVE books—lots of different genres of books, but mostly books for kids and mostly books that make me wonder about science and nature. Bringing this curiosity to others and making the amazing things in nature accessible to kids is what I do. 

Lynn's book list on awaken curiosity in nature for kids

Lynn Brunelle Why did Lynn love this book?

We see them all the time. We know they’re important. We may drizzle honey on our toast, but did we ever stop to think about what this creature’s life is all about? This up-close and personal journey is so eye-opening, beautiful, and fresh. It's also so important.

The book makes us curious, makes us stop and spend a little time, and makes us care about these remarkable beings. What more could you ask for in a book?

By Candace Fleming, Eric Rohmann (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Honeybee as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 6, 7, 8, and 9.

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.…


Book cover of Honeybee Democracy

Susanne Foitzik Author Of Empire of Ants: The Hidden Worlds and Extraordinary Lives of Earth's Tiny Conquerors

From my list on the evolution of insect and human societies.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a scientist studying the evolution of insect communities for years. I am fascinated by their high degree of cooperation and how these animals make collective decisions. But I also observe social parasitic ants that raid other colonies and make their workers work for them. This tension between altruistic cooperation on the one hand and violence and war, on the other hand, is common to human and insect societies, even if they evolved in completely different ways. I hope that when you read the books I recommend here, you will be as fascinated as I am by these parallel universes and perhaps next time you will see an ant with different eyes. 

Susanne's book list on the evolution of insect and human societies

Susanne Foitzik Why did Susanne love this book?

Social insects live in close communities, often of several thousand individuals. We often imagine the animals as small robots that perform their tasks as if automated. But this is far from the case. Honeybees are models for the study of learning and can also make complex decisions based on previous experience. However, it becomes particularly difficult when all the animals of a hive have to agree. And bees of a swarm have this difficult task ahead of them when they are looking for real estate. They inspect the nesting opportunities in the surroundings and advertise them in the swarm.

But how do these social insects make their collective decisions? About this question goes the book, written by an expert in the field, in an exciting and easy-to-understand manner. It turns out that the animals actually listen to many opinions and vote. Who wants to know more about honeybee democracy, read…

By Thomas D. Seeley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Honeybee Democracy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Honeybees make decisions collectively - and democratically. Every year, faced with the life-or-death problem of choosing and traveling to a new home, honeybees stake everything on a process that includes collective fact-finding, vigorous debate, and consensus building. In fact, as world-renowned animal behaviorist Thomas Seeley reveals, these incredible insects have much to teach us when it comes to collective wisdom and effective decision making. A remarkable and richly illustrated account of scientific discovery, "Honeybee Democracy" brings together, for the first time, decades of Seeley's pioneering research to tell the amazing story of house hunting and democratic debate among the honeybees.…


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

Luke Dixon Author Of BEES and HONEY myth, folklore and traditions

From my list on bees and beekeeping.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been enthralled with the natural world since childhood, but it was not until I had enjoyed a career as a theatre director, that my life changed course and I became a professional beekeeper. My new job took be across the rooftops of London, managing bees and hives for The Bank of England, Kensington Palace, The London College of Fashion, Heathrow Airport, Bloomberg, and many others. Now I run a small environmental charity, The Bee Friendly Trust, helping to make the world a little more hospitable to honeybees and some of the many other pollinators that make human life possible.

Luke's book list on bees and beekeeping

Luke Dixon Why did Luke love this book?

Tom Seeley is a genius. He is a professor at Cornell University in America, but this engaging book is no dull academic thesis.

He tells ‘the untold story of the honey bee in the wild’ with an enthusiasm that carries the reader along as if on an adventure of discovery. I was fascinated as, through the book, I joined him on his field research and learnt wonders with him. A joy for the novice and the experienced bee person.

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…


Book cover of Buzz: The Nature and Necessity of Bees

John N. Thompson Author Of Relentless Evolution

From my list on coevolution and relentless evolution.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am captivated and never cease to be astonished by the seemingly endless variety of ways in which coevolution shapes the millions of species on earth into intricate and ever-changing webs of life. The reasons for my fascination are simple. Most species require other species to survive or reproduce, which means that the evolution of biodiversity is as much about evolution of the links among species as it is about evolution of the species themselves. I find immense joy in following the connections among species within the web of life, trying to understand how coevolution has shaped, and relentlessly reshapes, each link. There are always surprises along the way.

John's book list on coevolution and relentless evolution

John N. Thompson Why did John love this book?

Perhaps more than any other group of animals, the 20,000 (or more) known bee species make the case that much of evolution is about the diversification of ways in which species interact with each other species and form coevolutionary alliances. In this book, scientist/naturalist Thor Hanson gives us a whirlwind tour of that diversity, showing us that honeybees are just the tip of the iceberg of the many relationships between bees and plants. As with the other authors on this list, Hanson is a reliable guide with a passion and wonder for whatever he chooses to study and write about, using clear, accessible, and enjoyable prose. 

By Thor Hanson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

BBC RADIO 4 BOOK OF THE WEEK

'Popular science at its most accessible: fun, fascinating and full of engaging pen portraits of the scientists and bee enthusiasts he meets in the course of his research' Melissa Harrison, Guardian

'A smooth and accessible account of the insects that provide a significant amount of what we eat, introducing their fascinating diversity of behaviour. A reminder of why bees are wonders that we must protect.' Matt Shardlow, BBC Wildlife

Bees are like oxygen: ubiquitous, essential, and, for the most part,
unseen. While we might overlook them, they lie at the heart of relationships…


Book cover of The Backyard Beekeeper: An Absolute Beginner's Guide to Keeping Bees in Your Yard and Garden

Michelle Balz Author Of No-Waste Composting: Small-Space Waste Recycling, Indoors and Out. Plus, 10 Projects to Repurpose Household Items Into Compost-Making Machines

From my list on for aspiring urban homesteaders.

Why am I passionate about this?

For me, backyard composting is more than just a way to lessen how much waste I send to the landfill. When you compost you transform items that many people consider garbage into a valuable soil amendment for your garden. You are creating something with real value that can help plants thrive and act as a carbon sink to help reduce negative impacts of climate change. Composting is so easy and rewarding that I really want to see everyone give it a try.

Michelle's book list on for aspiring urban homesteaders

Michelle Balz Why did Michelle love this book?

This book was exactly what I needed to better understand what is involved in starting a beehive in an urban setting. Flottum starts his readers with the bare-bones basics and builds from there. He also goes into what he calls “Extreme Urban Beekeeping” with tips on considerations for those of us with close neighbors. I have not started beekeeping yet, but Flottum has inspired me to add it to my list of future endeavors. 

By Kim Flottum,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Backyard Beekeeper, now in its 4th edition, makes the time-honored and complex tradition of beekeeping an enjoyable and accessible backyard pastime for urban and rural beekeepers of all skill levels.

More than a guide to beekeeping, this handbook features expert advice for:

Setting up and caring for your own colonies Selecting the best location to place your new bee colonies for their safety and yours The most practical and nontoxic ways to care for your bees Swarm control Using top bar hives Harvesting the products of a beehive and collecting and using honey Bee problems and treatments


What's New?…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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