I was given the opportunity to take a look at The Beginner’s Guide to Beekeeping early in the summer, and being a beginner beekeeper myself, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. The book is written by Samantha and Daniel Johnson, a brother/sister duo who have also written books about raising rabbits, as well as horses.
I’ve read several books on the topic, (even reviewed a few), and I found this one to be very visually appealing, with many beautiful and informative photos throughout. As someone who has to see things to properly understand them, this is a style that really appeals to me. I found it to be quite similar in style to another favourite beekeeping manual, The Backyard Beekeeper.
The Beginner’s Guide to Beekeeping covers everything that one needs to know to get started, from an introduction to bees, equipment (including how to build your own hive), potential problems, maintenance, harvesting, and what to do with your honey and wax, once you have it (various products, marketing and sales, even recipes). There’s even a section on how to photograph your honey and products, as well as tips for gardening to provide a variety of flowers, and a continuous supply of blooms.
One problem that I had with the book (and it’s a fairly small one), was that it didn’t speak to a wide variety of equipment, including a few things that I happen to be using and was needing advice on (frame feeders, for example). The book is also somewhat conventional, so if you’re looking for tips on more natural/organic beekeeping, you will have to look elsewhere.
That being said, this book is intended as a guide for beginners, and it fits that bill nicely. No one book can give you the knowledge that years of experience can, (or that of a trusted beekeeping mentor), but this one certainly covers most of the things that you’ll need to get started. I would recommend it to anyone looking to get into one of the most satisfying (and delicious) of hobbies.