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

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  891 ratings  ·  100 reviews
Invite bees into your backyard to help out with pollinating the garden, provide crafting materials, or just help the Earth with The Backyard Beekeeper - Revised and Updated

The Backyard Beekeeper, now revised and expanded, makes the time-honored and complex tradition of beekeeping an enjoyable and accessible backyard pastime that will appeal to gardeners, crafters, and cook
Paperback, 3rd, 208 pages
Published July 1st 2014 by Quarry Books (first published May 1st 2005)
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Average rating 4.12  · 
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Bob Redmond
Mar 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bees
This is an excellent book for beginning beekeepers, specifically backyarders, like the title says.

Written by one of the most knowledgeable bee-men (or women) around, it has tons of color photos and other detailed information. In his inimitable laconic style, Flottum--also the editor of Bee Culture magazine--covers all the bases, from getting a hive, to getting bees, installing them, managing for pests, extracting honey. It's all there, even some recipies.

My quibbles are most of all, that Flottum
Feb 22, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, bees
I can't wait to get a few hives in my backyard! It's going to be a while, though. In the meantime, I occasionally read some books on beekeeping to stay informed and excited. This book touches on a lot of subjects, but is not too in-depth about any one subject. It is definitely a good primer, but not a definitive book. A large portion of the book is dedicated to recipes and uses for honey and wax. It's like a totally separate book. But it's true, many beekeepers have a difficult time using and st ...more
Caleb Anderson
Oct 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Very informative and interesting. A great guide to starting beekeeping. Will definitely have to refer back to this book when I start myself.
Super helpful with lots of visuals.
This really is quite the comprehensive guide to beekeeping – especially for the small-scale/hobbyist beekeeper. Kim Flottum is an experienced guide, too, being the editor of Bee Culture magazine and the 41st edition of The ABC & XYZ of Bee Culture. In fact, this is so informative that it can be overwhelming to try and take it all in/process it in one sitting! I read it from cover to cover, but other bee enthusiasts might be well-served by skipping to chapters of interest. I borrowed this from my ...more
Oct 15, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: beginning beekeepers!
Recommended to Nettie by: The SF Beekeepers association
I really want to put a bee hive in my backyard and Kim's book is full of no nonsense information about the keeping of bees. I love the section on bee biology, which I never fully understood before. What a machine a bee hive is -- like an efficient Japanese Toyota plant. She is free with her opinions too which is refreshing. Unfortunately, I recently learned that my next door neighbor REALLY dislikes bees, so I think I'll have to wait until I buy that ranch...If I were going to keep bees, I would ...more
Jan 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
The information was great but the writing was poor. You should not start using jargon until you have defined it. I didn't really understand what a super was until half way through the book. The organization was poor too and hard to follow. A more logical progression would have made the good information flow better and made it easier to follow. Lastly, the corny phrases and attempts at wit fell short and even some of the grammar was poor. Isn't there an editor for that kind of stuff? I'll look fo ...more
Amy Pfleegor
Mar 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
I think there is still much to be learned, but this book is very informative about much that has been learned.
Feb 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is not the first beekeeping book the hubby has read as we have entered into this new addition to the farm. He did tell me that it is the best book he has read so far. The book is written for the beginning beekeeper and truth be told even though we have had bees for a year we still have so many questions.

Mr. Flottum lays everything out in a very straightforward manner starting with the basics. He helps the hopeful beekeeper by providing a step by step plan of attack.

The hubby found it very h
Sep 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have also read the 4th edition of the backyard beekeeper. So I thought why not read the 3rd edition.
Bees are one of my favorite subjects to read about. I was thinking about when I grew sunflowers years ago I remember seeing bees on the sunflowers but, I had no interest in how the bees lived, what they ate, how long they lived, how many bees were in a hive. Back then I had no idea bout bees. And if I thought about bees I assumed that there were only honey bees or bumble bees.
I am glad I got i
Rich Thorne
Jan 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bee-keeping, how-to
Good book for just starting out. If you watched any videos or read any other books on the subject much of this will be a review.
Kelsey Breseman
May 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very thorough and approachable
Joe Beeson
May 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
enjoyed reading, good overview of bee keeping
Troy B
Feb 16, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book for beginner beekeeping
Apr 13, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: New Langstroth beekeepers who want to keep bees conventionally
Recommended to January by: Amazon
Shelves: own-hardcopy, skills
In the space of starting and finishing this book, I installed my first bee hive—a top bar hive. This book is in my library along with Top-Bar Beekeeping: Organic Practices for Honeybee Health for beekeeping, which it amazingly overlaps very little with and disagrees with on many points.

Things I really liked about this book:

- The pictures were numerous, large, and full color. Since I am a new beekeeper with no human guidance, this gave me confidence to be able to correctly identify queen cups, va
Feb 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was very informational and I read through pretty quickly because I was not simultaneously assembling a hive. The book goes on to give detailed pictures, descriptions and remedies for various ailments that can and often do afflict a colony. One of my favorite lines, paraphrased is that people begin keeping bees for the honey but end up doing it for the love of bees. From all the feedback it sounds like the actual honey producing part of beekeeping is the most challenging to practice. The bee ...more
Lisa Houlihan
Every other beekeeping book I have read suggests having two deep (9"), ten-frame hive bodies (the bees' permanent home) and adding supers above those for honey (theirs and possibly some for you). Flottum suggests having three medium (6"), eight-frame bodies, not because of any advantage to the bees but because deeps are too heavy. I might as well install a scooter path from backdoor to hives so I don't have to walk all that distance either. That and a stairlift down the back steps.

He did suggest
Michael Lawrie
Sep 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
This books is hugely informative for the newbie beekeeper or beekeeper hopeful, like myself. I first red Beekeeping for Dummies by Blackiston then this. It's a good sequence. This book had more detail and more information but would have been unbalanced without Blackiston's input from the Dummies book.

The two authors take slightly different approaches with Flottum perhaps the more negative (perhaps realistic?) regarding the difficulty of keeping bees alive over winter, free from disease/pests an
Tom Franklin
This is a very strange book in that it was written by a well-known expert in the field of beekeeping but is presented in such a disorganized fashion as to leave me confused.

If I had not been reading other books on beekeeping I would not have had the background to make sense of the almost random order to the presentation of the information. As an introductory book on the subject, it should have been much more logically laid out.

The information itself is very good; the color photographs provide a
Ellen Bell
Jun 15, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: beekeeping
This was a really informative primer on beekeeping, especially for someone who wants to start on a small scale in an urban or suburban setting. After reading it, I definitely know a lot more about the topic; however, I'm not sure I feel 100% ready to order supplies and bees. I think additional reading and/or a class would be helpful, too.

My only criticism of the book is that the author very clearly states in the beginning that his methods and recommendations are based on a beekeeping experience
Leonardo Etcheto
Apr 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow, what an interesting read as far as bees in general, their habits, and how to keep them healthy, happy and productive. Does a good job of breaking down the steps required to start a hive. I am now on step one - getting buy in from family and neighbors and finding out the county regulations. Mr. Flottum emphasizes the great American tradition of getting the right gear to make your life easy! Use the industrial power and get your hive ready to go so you can focus on the beekeeping and not the ...more
Feb 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
I found this book about beekeeping to be a highly motivating, educational, and thorough. There were step-by-step explanations, interesting histories, and loads of pictures to help you visualize the act of beekeeping. This is certainly a beginner's essential book for starting up. There's a lot of discussion about types of bees, types of hives, and the various health challenges faced by bees these days. The instructions are a bit heavy on artificial feeding and use of chemical treatments of bees f ...more
Jan 29, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good primer on beekeeping, written for those who are not only new to keeping bees, but who wish to do it as a hobby. Flottum, editor of the great BEE CULTURE magazine, encourages the use of 8-frame supers rather than the usual 10-frame, which makes things easier for the older beekeepers who may have trouble lifting heavy supers full of honey.

Would have liked more information on natural methods of beekeeping (organic rather than chemical treatments for mites, etc.). Well-organized, gorgeous phot
Beekeeping is a lot more involved than I ever thought it was. Although I could quibble about the "absolute beginner's guide" subtitle I won't. To be honest, the book does guide the beginner very capably through the steps one must take to start up a bee colony. There is nothing "beginner" about beekeeping, though. I wouldn't suggest that just anyone with only a casual interest pick up this hobby since the lives of many bees depend on doing it right. This book will make that clear!

Having said all
Jul 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
As someone who is just beginning to consider beekeeping, I found this book to be the perfect introduction into "backyard beekeeping". It was highly informative, very detailed, and full of practical advice. The author does not assume the reader knows anything about bees or beekeeping - which is great, because I was mostly ignorant before I began reading. She describes every tool needed for installing and maintaing your hive(s), the differences between bee breeds, the various hive scenarios that c ...more
May 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A good guide to a beginner, lots of illustrations, equipment needed, how and when to use it, what to look for during inspections of the hive.

My husband is starting a first hive with the help of a friend. I have a healthy respect for bees and a great interest in Not Getting Stung. So I bought this for me, and now I feel more comfortable of what not to do and what one can do, and he is also using it for a great reference.
When one of his trays had some malformed comb, he immediately found the probl
Jen Underwood
May 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Hmmm....i'm really torn about this beginner's guide. I read "Beekeeping for Dummies" first and i felt super inspired and ready to take on the challenge of becoming a beekeeper. This book i felt like had an unsuspecting negative undertone. It focused more on all the things that can and will go wrong instead of the joys of beekeeping. Of course there will be challenges along the way but page after page of issues and hurdles didn't have me as excited any more. I was left a little bummed by the end ...more
Jan 23, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Chris won't let me have an apiary at home...... so I just have to read about beekeeping and content myself with that.

Well written, for what it is. Apart from the actual beekeeping (hive repair, harvesting, et cetera) there are some interesting ideas as to what one should do with the honey and wax. So there's that.

Not that it matters. I'm not allowed.

For the record, I'm also not allowed to keep goats or pigs or a rooster. Or a miniature pony. Or a regular pony. So, I suppose, not having bees is
Apr 08, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, bees
Felt the organization of the book was a bit odd - that if this had been my only beekeeping book I'd still be a bit out of sorts with beekeeping. There are many gorgeous photos in the book, but some were not well explained - why this photo or that photo? I wondered.

I'm not wild about a system that encourages killing the queen bee each year, or medicating with no cause. Just don't think that Kim Flottum is the kind of beekeeper that I aim to be.

The ways to use beeswax and honey in the back had a
Dec 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've learned a lot with this book. I started reading it before I got bees, and not I am in my first winter as a backyard beekeeper. When I have a question, this is the book I turn to for answers. The writing is clear, the photos and graphics are very helpful, and the tone of the book is very supportive. If you'd like to try your hand at backyard beekeeping, I'd recommend you read this book first, to make sure you are prepared for this investment. It's an invaluable resource for the beekeeping ho ...more
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“If the bees are slow, add additional honey, sugar, and peppermint to a new mix to increase attractiveness. A rare few will never eat them. If that happens, leave them on anyway and hope for the best. It’s all you can do for these bees.” 0 likes
“There is a ground spray that can be applied to the area around your colonies that will kill the larvae when they cross it. It also is effective against fire ants, but it must be reapplied after it rains. If you routinely move colonies it doesn’t do much good either.” 0 likes
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