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The Practical Beekeeper: Beekeeping Naturally

4.53  ·  Rating details ·  100 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
This book is about how to keep bees in a natural and practical system where they do not require treatments for pests and diseases and only minimal interventions. It is also about simple practical beekeeping. It is about reducing your work. It is not a main-stream beekeeping book. Many of the concepts are contrary to "conventional" beekeeping. The techniques presented here ...more
Hardcover, 670 pages
Published June 16th 2011 by X-Star Publishing Company
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Feb 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
The Practical Beekeeper gets five stars for content, but three stars for format, so I settled on four. Let me complain first:

* The book has no index. Even though it's over 600 pages long, lack of an index wouldn't be so much of a problem if the tome wasn't split up into three books, with the same information presented in different levels of intricacy in all three sections. Meanwhile, the table of contents is *too* in depth. So, to find information a certain topic, I have to read the forty page t
Billie Hinton
Aug 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent resource for keeping bees naturally.
Barry & Dana Stiller
Mar 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Thoroughly enjoyed reading this book on alternative beekeeping, can't wait to try out the methods described here. I suppose I can only judge its wisdom, truly, after implementing Mr Bush's advice and comparing my experience with what he's describing - still, it makes a very convincing case, and since it was recommended to me by the lovely, and knowledgeable, Brenna Major I don't think I'll be disappointed...
The one missing star is for structural reasons alone, because it's not at all easy to nav
Sep 03, 2014 rated it liked it
I had read most of his stuff on his website already, so I was familiar with his basic premises. A lot of the info wasn't directly applicable to me as it focused mostly on Langstroth hives and I have a top-bar one, but it was interesting nonetheless. I skimmed a lot of the more advanced stuff like rearing queens. Mostly he advocates for natural cell size (not using foundation), which is what happens naturally in a TBH anyway, no treatments, introducing feral bees' genetics into your queen rearing ...more
Heather Anne
Oct 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Based on his popular website:, Michael Bush examines modern beekeeping and looks at natural choices for managing bees. As a new beekeeper, I have found his posts interesting and it's good to get the hardcopy in one place for the overall picture. Of course, he is known for his advocacy and explanations of small cell size beekeeping and says with these methods it's possible to deal with one of the major problems of modern beekeeping--varroa mites, and keep in mind other ...more
Nina Carter
Oct 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: beekeeping
The author gives a detailed, matter of fact overview of beekeeping based on his many years of beekeeping experience. When he began keeping bees, he used the commercially available treatments for bee pests that are recommended to help alleive issues with varroa mites, nosema, tracheal mites etc. However, he found that he still lost hives and looked for another answer. He describes how chemical treatments upset the balance of the hive by killing beneficial bacteria, setting up an environment that ...more
Oct 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: agriculture
This is a reference book. I vastly prefer a printed tome to searching an Internet forum. Michael Bush has the same beekeeping philosophy that I do. It's a pretty bee-centric approach. I was fortunate enough to have him come out to my farm and do some hive maintenance with me. The book is quite literally like having him stand next to you, answering your questions. He is a calm, considerate, quietly opinionated and highly experienced beekeeper.

As he will readily tell you, everything in his book i
John Thoms
Feb 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Clear, top level view of various approaches to beekeeping. Easy to read and large print. More information is available on Michael Bush's website. Mr. Bush has a broad intellect and is a keen historian on Apiculture. Very highly recommended as a good book with which to start.
Jul 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: beekeeping
Truly, it is a wonderful reference book I have come to rely on.
Tyler Roberts
Jan 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
A book someone looking into beekeeping should own. My only problem with it is how the book is layed out. Can be a bit hard to find things, but the content is excellant!
Feb 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
A great beekeeping book. Definitely a different approach than other writers/beekeepers out there, and worth a read. Enjoyed the different perspective.
Jan 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a good book for learning some basic information from one long term beekeeper's perspective. I really like his ideas on natural beekeeping. Definitely worth the read.
Heather Jernigan
Mar 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I have a lot of respect for Michael Bush, and I'm glad that this was the first book I read on my road to being a newbee beekeeper. If you are interested in beekeeping I highly recommend this book!
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