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Keeping Bees with Ashley English: All You Need to Know to Tend Hives, Harvest Honey & More

(Homemade Living)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  183 ratings  ·  24 reviews
Heard the buzz? Beekeeping is back! Neighborhoods across the country have embraced it as a source of sustainable food and environmental goodness. For those who want to join the "hive" of keepers, Ashley English has the lowdown on the key issues, from space and time considerations to local ordinances to the basics of acquiring, housing, maintaining, and caring for bees year ...more
Hardcover, 136 pages
Published March 1st 2011 by Lark Crafts
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4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  183 ratings  ·  24 reviews

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Feb 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Beekeeping is hot. It seems that everyone is interested in it – from home gardeners to urban farmers to locavore entrepreneurs these days. Anyone ‘stung’ by the idea of keeping bees will not find a clearer, more useful or better written book about basic beekeeping than Keeping Bees by DIY living expert Ashley English.

We have to admit, we’ve been taken with the idea too, with classes taken and suggested texts on the subject feverishly read. But not until reading this wonderful book did the idea s
Preston Stell
Oct 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
I was reading this alongside The Bee Book and was impressed by some similarities, but the overall format and information was, in my opinion, lacking comparatively. It is a great book and I might likely buy this one to read alongside The Bee Book because it is helpful to have two or more guides when we actually start beekeeping! But the main reasons are as follows, regarding what I find as the two major strengths in this book: 1) English's step by step guides to processes which include descriptio ...more
A good overview for beginning beekeepers with lots of visual interest (photographs, illustrations, sidebars, profiles of beekeepers). I like "Storey's Guide to Keeping Honey Bees" (Richard Bonney) as a more in-depth source, and "Natural Beekeeping" (Ross Conrad), which has some suggestions for going it without any chemicals. But this is a good starter book. I'll be sharing it with my budding beekeeping buds.
Apr 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Thrilled with this book. Got so adventurous that I actually put my first hive out yesterday. Can't believe it, but I'm doing this! This book was easy to follow step-by-step. We'll see how I feel about this project this fall when I've harvested my first honey.

Honestly, I'll never be done with this book as it will be my partner in this new project.
Susan Bache Brewer
Mar 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2019
Fascinating and helpful primer on beekeeping. Ashley English provides a personal account of her apiary journey including pitfalls and preventions, the biology of Apis mellifera, essential equipment and sourcing, hive placement and care, threats and diseases, and honey extraction. A helpful, easy to understand reference book.
Dec 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I have had an interest in beekeeping for some time now, however, just lately have I decided to begin moving toward actually putting this desire into action. The first step for me was reading this book. I have never kept bees before or been around hives so I can't say if this book is accurate with real-life experience. However, it was a pleasure to read and certainly encouraged my interest. The book seems to be an overview of the process and experience and was not overly technical--which as someo ...more
Mar 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is my first book about bee keeping, and I must say that I'm a smitten kitten. Now I can add Apis mellifera fascination to my chicken and pig obsessions. (Yes, that was a shameless show off moment.)
I greatly enjoy Ashley English's prose. It is straight-forward with the tiniest touch of whimsy. I also appreciate all of the color photographs in this book. They make a huge difference in my understanding of all things bee related.
May 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
I've long been fascinated by beekeeping; I don't envision ever owning my own hives, but that doesn't stop me from wanting to know about this hobby. English does an excellent job in laying out the basics of beekeeping, from explaining bee physiology and their caste system to how to build and maintain suitable hives, not to mention harvesting honey. I now have a greater understanding and appreciation of what it means to be a beekeeper.
May 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Not exactly ALL you need to know, but a good first start. The lists are helpful when you're trying to remember what you might have forgotten. I feel more comfortable paring this with a more technical book to make sure I'm on track with the bees. It's lovely, though -- the pictures are nice and the book itself is very handsome. I'm glad I read it, but I don't think it's a substitute for a more technical volume.
Jul 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Great book! It definitely whet my appetite for beekeeping. This book gives basic information on the practice of beekeeping in a very appealing way. The pictures are great, and I loved the experiences from beekeepers featured at the end of each chapter often explore the joy they receive from beekeeping.
Oct 30, 2012 rated it liked it
A delightful read, practical but slightly romantic, with the graphic character of a shelter magazine -- strong graphics, sensible layout, interesting sidebars, and a clear voice. I found too many very close parallels to sections of the older Beekeeping for Dummies (Blackiston), with nary an acknowledgement or referral in the "resources" section.
Mar 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a really good book for beginning beekeepers. There are plenty of pictures that show you step by step directions. The writing is clear without being weighed down with technical vocabulary or speaking over ones head. The recipes in the back aren't that great looking but I'm so glad I purchased this book.
Sep 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
It was an awesome read! Pictures were nice, descriptions well done and easy to understand. It was so explanatory that I realized that bees were not for me! That is what nonfiction book are supposed to do. Give you enough clear information so you are able to make a decision! I finished this book in early October.
Feb 13, 2012 rated it liked it
I love Ashley English's blog (Small Measure) and her series of four "Homemade Living" books (Home Dairy, Home Canning, Beekeeping, Chicken-Keeping) are as well-written and entertaining as her blog. Good how-to sections, great photography and graphic design.
Mar 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Everything you need to know about getting your own hive set-up, tending to it year round, and harvesting honey from them. Includes info on pests and winter keeping, which I found very helpful. Good recipes too, but there are only a handful.
Mar 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I've now read many, many guides to bees, and this is the one I'm going to buy and keep as an ongoing reference. Very informative, complete, useful, and practical. Thanks, Ashley
Annie Oosterwyk
Nice presentation, good information and brief profiles of beekeepers in various situations. Fast and easy, yet touches on the important stuff.
Apr 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Another great beekeeping book. I come back to this one for information over and over.
May 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Love this book...I learned more about my bees than you might imagine. Find myself sharing my newfound insight with people who have never really given honeybees a second thought
Apr 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Good beginners guide
Feb 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book was super helpful and informative. Reading it was like spending the afternoon with a friend learning about beekeeping.
Jennifer Moore
Sep 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Very quick read and thorough primer. No new information for me, but a lovely presentation and outline. I wish I'd read this as my introductory to beekeeping, rather than the thick Beekeeper's Bible!
Christy Dunning
Feb 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Cute! Fun! A great book for a beginner beekeeper with lots if insight!
Tara Lawrence
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Nov 06, 2011
Winston Webb
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Feb 19, 2014
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Sarah Cuthill
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Mar 11, 2012
Phaedra Taylor
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Feb 08, 2016
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Jun 26, 2015
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Ashley English is the author of the "Homemade Living" book series (Lark Books) which showcases topics related to small-scale homesteading and some of the diverse ways people are reconnecting with their food and food communities and taking up sustainable food practices.

--from the author's blog

Other books in the series

Homemade Living (4 books)
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