This book may be the ultimate guide to keeping and caring for bees. It covers every part of bees and beekeeping from the history of beekeeping to recipes and how to use the honey and the beeswax your hives will produce. It is full of beautiful illustrations and photographs showing you how to do everything from lighting your smoker to an up-close and personal look at the occupants of your hive.
Part one of the book focuses on bees and beekeeping history. Here you will learn everything you need to know about bees in history. There are sections about the mythology of bees and honey and very through history of bee keeping starting with the honey-hunters of the Stone Ages and ending with beekeeping as we know it today.
Part two is where you really start to get into the meat of the book. This section focuses on understanding your honeybees and their behavior. It discusses the origins of bees and the social aspects of their behavior discussing everything from the lifespan and working habits of your bees to information about bee communication, swarming and how they survive the cold winter months. They round of this section for the book discussing the bees pollination efforts, how and why a bee stings, the creatures that prey on bees and what you can plant in your garden to make a bee habitat.
In part three, we move on practical beekeeping. This is the how-to section of the book. It starts you out by helping you figure out what type of hive to get, what kind of bees to buy and where to keep them. There are sections of tools and supplies, record keeping and feeding. There are step-by-step instructions on how to light your smoker, transfer your new bees into the hive, inspecting your frames, and keeping your hives from swarming among other things. Here you will find a section called the Beekeeper's Year that gives you tasks to be done during each part of the year, along with information about harvesting honey and beeswax, pests and diseases' and setting up commercial hives.
The fourth part of the book is all about honey, beeswax, and all of the other bee products. It includes information about different types of honey and how it can be used and stored and the many uses of beeswax. You will also learn about the medicinal and antibacterial properties of propolis, using pollen as a food supplement and how bee venom can be a pain killer.
The fifth and final section includes close to 100 recipes for food, drink, home and beauty products. You will also find instructions on making candles, crayons, wax flowers and polishes.
The Beekeeper's Bible is a hugely informative and beautiful book that will be a wonderful addition to any beekeeper's library.
The Beekeeper's Bible is a substantial contribution to beekeeping. It has an amazing wealth of information, including beekeeping history and bee biology, and a plethora of honey and wax recipes, as well as stunning pictures. It really is a beautiful book. However, if you plan to keep bees you'll want to find a source of information on the sustainable apiary, as that information is, sadly, absent from this book. In addition, with only five entries, the table of contents is inadequate for a 416 page book. That said, if you're interested in bees at all, it's hard to beat this book.
I give it 9 out of 10 for bee keeping. I recently found a misprint, at half price books, of 'the hive and the honey bee'. I give that 10 out of 10, for generally everything about bees, as a comparison...which is a big complement.