The Beekeepers' Library

 Library Categories                    


This web page still functions but became too big to open and edit so an updated version is available from the menu bar at the top of the page. In the new version the library is divided into several pages. Enjoy!
-  Beekeeping Books
-  Beekeeping Video Series
-  Online Education
-  Regional 
-  Bee Biology 
-  Basic Beekeeping Information
-  Hive Inspection
-  Splits, Nucs and Packages
-  Swarms
-  Feeding
-  Winter Management
-  Varroa Mites
-  Small Hive Beetle
-  Bears
-  Skunks
-  Wasps
-  Diseases
-  Queen Rearing
-  Commercial Beekeeping
-  History
-  Eva Crane
Hygienic Behaviour
Pesticides and Bees
Products from Beekeeping
Honey Recipes
Native Pollinators
Planting for Pollinators
Bee Lining
Education - Teaching programs and lesson plans
Pictures and Posters
-  Classic Beekeeping Books
-  Children's Books

* This web page became too big to open and edit so an updated version is available from the menu bar at the top of the page. In the new version the library is divided into several pages. Enjoy!

      This library is a collection of articles, powerpoint presentations, webinars, software, videos and books on bee related subjects like bees, plants, farming, insecticides and beekeeping.  All of the library is in English except "Apicultura (Espanol)" however google translate does a good job of translating documents on your computer.  Underneath the box on the left in google translate you will see "translate a document" which enables you to translate any pdf or doc file on your computer.  To view a PDF file you will need a PDF Reader.  There are a lot of free pdf readers and  a few options are Foxit and Adobe.  All of the individual files in the library are free to preview and download.  The 3 most important aspects of beekeeping like real estate are location, location and location.  In this library you will find information on keeping Asian Bees in the Himalayas, African Bees in Uganda, Africanized Bees in Belize, European Bees in North America and Europe, Mason and Bumble Bees for crop pollination and much more.  

* To search for a specific word on this page like Varroa or Nosema you can use crtl + f on your keyboard to bring up word search on your browser.  A very useful tool.

Getting Started

Backyard Beekeeping (James E. Tew)  This book by Dr. James Tew is a good overview of the basic steps to acquiring and management of a bee colony for the beginner beekeeper.  Some of the things that are covered are the cost, races of honey bees, bee life cycle, hive design, equipment, swarms, hive site, seasonal management, pesticides, diseases and harvesting of honey and wax.  Most of the information in this library comes from beekeeping organizations, government publications and publications from universites and science institutes.  I have found through many years of compiling this library that the best sources of freely available information on beekeeping are the Australian government and U.S. Universities.  At the forefront of the U.S. source has been Dr. James Tew, through years of publications, webinars, video series and power points all freely available to the public.  Thank you Dr. Tew.   

Beekeeping Basics  This Penn State University publication provides a fairly comprehensive and detailed book for the backyard beekeeper.  "This manual is all about beekeeping—understanding honey bee biology, getting started, managing bee colonies for fun and/or profit and is designed to help you become a successful beekeeper. Welcome to the world of beekeeping."  It covers topics like bee castes, beekeeping equipment, clothing, packages and nucs, apiary location, seasonal management, diseases and pests, honey production and processing, rendering bees wax and pollen trapping ... A very good resource for the beginning beekeeper.

Handbook on Beekeeping: (Europe) A good, complete guide to sustainable beekeeping from the European Union Bees project.  "BEES is a Transfer of Innovation project aiming at further developing a module from the Leonardo da Vinci ENSA project on organic and biodynamic agriculture education. The main objective of the project is to create completely updated teaching materials on bee behaviours and relevant importance as indicators of agriculture sustainability. Biodiversity is directly linked to this approach. The main targets of the handbook are farmers' associations, environmental associations, agriculture professional schools, agriculture and veterinary medicine universities, bee keepers associations, policy makers, institutions at European, national and local level, elementary and secondary schools."

Australian Beekeeping Guide  A great beginner's guide to beekeeping from the Australian government.  It covers everything from bee castes and life-cycle to seasonal management, diseases and pests.  "This book provides basic information to assist beginner and sideline beekeepers. It draws on the knowledge and experience of apiculture scientists, various state and territory apiary inspectors and apiary officers, and most importantly, the many beekeepers who enjoy keeping bees."  It covers most everything except treatment of varroa mites which are not present in Australia.

Starting Beekeeping in Ireland by Thomas Carroll
"This book is as much a guide to sources of additional information as it is a how to beekeeping guide. There is a lot of bee related information available and I have compiled an impressive list of
sources of additional information from an Irish centric perspective.  Why did I write this eBook? The need for this book came to me when I searched for as simple and straightforward text on how to start beekeeping in Ireland.  I was restarting my beekeeping here in 2015.  I wanted a plain and straight to the point book which was up to date and appropriate in the Irish context. I wanted a book at a sensible price which was available in electronic format (an eBook) which I could easily and quickly download and start reading.  I could not find or easily access a suitable publication to assist me and therefore decided to write the book my self to assist others who may be trying to start beekeeping...  I have spent over two years researching and writing this eBook. I hope that you find it useful and helpful.  I would be delighted to hear from you and to get your feedback."  Tom Carroll PHD, Killenure Nursery, Ballybrittas, Co Laois. Website -  Apiconsult

Beekeeping in California   "This publication describes the fundamentals of keeping bees in California (1987) and discusses the differences between commercial and non commercial approaches.  Persons considering keeping bees can learn through self education and experience. Classes and short courses in beekeeping are also helpful, and many good books and other literature are available (see References). However, no amount of reading can substitute for actual experience with colonies. Local beekeeping clubs often willingly share information, and many will show beginners how to manage a colony and what to expect through the year."

Canadian Best Management Practices for Honey Bee Health (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada) - "Best Management Practices (BMPs) for the honey bee industry are developed by different levels and divisions of government, various organizations, institutions and stakeholders. Content ranging from regulations for pest and disease treatment thresholds to management of colonies during pollination services are included. While in many cases these recommendations are readily available, their authors are varied and the publications are provided by diverse sources. Some recommendations will apply to the Canadian nation as a whole, while others will only relate to specific areas of the country. The BMPs discussed in this document refer to those that pertain to honey bee health. Traceability aspects like food safety, beekeeper safety and environmental safety are not included within this BMP document."

4 H Beekeeping Manuals  The 4-H  Beekeeping  Project  from Purdue University is  divided  into  three  divisions.  Division  I,  Understanding  the  Honey  Bee, covers information on the basic facts of beekeeping: the types of bees, the honey and wax they produce, the plants that attract bees, and the equipment a beekeeper needs. In the first year, youth are not required to have any bees, but prepare to take care of a honey bee colony of their own. In Division II, Working with Honey Bees, youth acquire a colony of bees and learn how to care for their beehive throughout the year. This will include basic beekeeping operations that result in the production of extracted, chunk, or cut comb honey. When the youth are experienced and knowledgeable in the basic care of a beehive, they should move on to Division III, Advanced Beekeeping Methods. The advanced topics include: increasing the number of your honey bee colonies, increasing honey production, producing special kinds of honey, learning more about the bee societies, and how to manage honey bee diseases and parasites.  This is a good resource for beginning beekeepers of all ages.  In addition here is a 4H Basic Beekeeping Manual from Malcolm Sanford (University of Florida) and from the Virginia Cooperative Extension 4H Honey Bee Youth Project Book 1 and 2 .

4 H Beekeeping Manual  A good beginner beekeeper manual written by Brian Rowe of the 4 H organization that covers everything from hive components, types of bees, first year and seasonal management, honey, wax and diseases and pests.  "Welcome to beekeeping.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.  The bees have been good to me, and I hope they will do the same for you." Brian Rowe.

The Basics of Beekeeping  (Scotland) This is a good introductory Beekeeping guide written by M.M. Peterson on behalf of the Dunblane and Stirling Districts Beekeepers' Association in Scotland.  The topics discussed include bee biology, beekeeping equipment, handling bees, swarm control, diseases and pests and harvesting.   

At the Hive Entrance  This useful German handbook written by Prof. Storch in 1985 (pre varroa) explains the value of being able to calculate a hive health by observing the outside of the hive.  "All year round it is through this little opening that the life of a colony pulses. Here it breathes and rejects all that it will not tolerate in its domain. Here it transmits its meaningful message for the person who can understand it. Here the colony's behaviour informs the beekeeper of its problems and state of health, and lets him know whether it needs his help. A keeper who can tell the condition of his bees by observing the hive entrance does not need to open his hives and disturb the bees' sanctuary, the brood nest. This never produces good results.  A healthy colony must have peace if it is to perform its productive role. On principle a visit should only be made once the keeper has determined at the hive entrance that something is not in order. It is not always easy to know what is happening inside the hive by observing the hive entrance and this is only learnt after many years, especially when the keeper is alone and there is no-one to give advice.  The aquisition of this knowledge can be facilitated by complementing observations at the hive entrance with those made at the rear window or at the building frame. A look beneath the frames is also very often instructive.  As long as the beekeeper cannot understand the inter-nal condition of the hive by watching the outside, he can only lose money and will have to pay his appren-ticeship dearly.  Therefore it is in the best interest of every beekeeper to learn this field as fast and as thoroughly as possible. It is not only the ears and eyes of the observer which must participate, but also his senses of smell and touch, and above all his heart, spirit and intelligence."

Beekeeping in the United States  This beekeeping handbook from the U.S. Department of Agriculture provides readers with a better understanding of beekeeping in the United States from a l980 perspective (pre Varroa). Some topics discussed are the life history of the honey bee; bee behavior; breeding and genetics of honey bees; queens, packaged bees, and nuclei; managing colonies for high honey yield and crop pollination; dis- eases and pests of honey bees; and effects of pesticides on honey bee mortality. The handbook also lists beekeeping organizations and some statistics on bees and honey. Martin, E. C, E. Oertel, N. P. Nye, and others. 1980. Beekeeping in the United States. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Handbook. 

L'Abbé Eloi François Émile Warré was born on 9 March 1867 at Grébault-Mesnil in the Somme département. He was ordained a priest on 19 September 1891 -- Amiens diocese -- and became the parish priest of Mérélessart (Somme) in 1897 then of Martainneville (Somme) in 1904. He disappeared from the records in 1916 subsequently to reappear at Saint-Symphorien (Indre-et-Loire) to devote himself exclusively to beekeeping. He died at Tours on 20 April 1951. Abbé Warré developed The People's Hive based on his studies of 350 hives of different systems that existed at his time as well as of the natural habits of the bee. To publish his findings, he wrote several books: La santé ou les Meilleurs traitements de toutes les maladies (Health or better treatments for all illnesses), Le Miel, ses propriétés et ses usages (Honey its properties and applications), La Santé, manuel-guide des malades et des bien-portants (Health, a manual for the ill and the well) --1912 -- and by far the most important L'Apiculture pour Tous (Beekeeping for All) whose twelfth and last edition is dated 1948.

"Before leaving, I would like, dear bees, to carve my name on these leaves, blessed shrub that has taken all its sap from around your dwelling place.  In its shade, I have rested from my weariness, have healed my wounds. Its horizon satisfies my desires for there I can see the heavens.  Its solitude is more gentle than deep. Your friends are visiting it. You enliven it with your singing.  And because you do not die, dear bees, you will sing again and for ever, in the surrounding foliage, where my spirit will rest.  Thank you.  E.Warré"                                                                                                 

Basic Beekeeping Manual  (Africa) This is a 2 volume publication written by Pam Gregory with assistance of Gay Marris of the U.K. National Bee Unit (FERA) that concentrates on top bar hive beekeeping, but many of the techniques and ideas can also be used by traditional and frame hive beekeepers.  "This field manual is designed for use by field-based trainers in sub Saharan Africa. It is based on colour pictures with few words. The manual covers basic techniques needed to start a beekeeping business. It also offers some new ideas to help beekeepers to become independent by making their own equipment from local materials. I hope that this will help people to start beekeeping at an affordable cost, and maybe to experiment with new materials. The pictures show some of the many different ways that people keep bees. This is intended to promote discussion and shared experiences to help people to solve problems locally. The manual concentrates on top bar hive beekeeping but many of the techniques and ideas can also be used by traditional and frame hive beekeepers."   The Advanced Beekeeping Manual covers more advanced management techniques and problem solving and offers some ideas about how to tackle them.  The Swahili language version of this manual.

A Beginner's Guide to Beekeeping in Kenya by Thomas Carroll, Msc. (Agr.)

"This book was written to assist beekeepers in Kenya and other African countries improve their beekeeping.  It is written in simple language and is intended to be as practical as possible." Thomas Carroll.  Reader's feedback on the guide. “It is a wonderful and easily understandable introduction to beekeeping with all the important tips and advice……….it is by far the most informative book (about Kenyan beekeeping)”.  From  the Organic Farmer Magazine, Nairobi, Congratulations for your Beekeeping Guide that is very interesting, complete and useful not only for the Scutellata beekeepers but for the Adansonii ones in Central and West Africa where the problems are similar”.

Tropical and Sub-tropical Apiculture  The book brings out the enormous untapped potential for the development of a dynamic apiculture industry in the developing countries. Most countries in these regions are blessed with abundant sunshine, and a rich flora which blooms all the year round. An integrated consideration of the problems and potential of the apiculture industry in the tropics and sub- tropics will therefore help in identifying the constraints responsible for the gap between potential and actual honey production. At the same time, it will help to monitor and regulate the movement ofbees and associated pathogens from temperate into tropical areas, where beekeeping is especially vulnerable to setbacks caused by new diseases. We urgently need a mechanism for disease monitoring, and for organizing an early warning system with reference to the spread of new pests and pathogens. Information on marketing opportunities will also be necessary for countries that are substantially increasing their apicultural production.  Much of this book has been written by scientists who are authorities in their respective fields. The book, therefore, serves as an encyclopedia of information relating to the various aspects of apiculture.

The National Beekeeping Training Extension Manual  (Uganda) This beekeeping training guide produced by the Ugandan Ministry of Agriculture is a manual that others in tropical and subtropical areas may find useful.  "Over the years, several stakeholders including Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies have been carrying out training of farmers in their own ways without standard guide and uniformity.  Some of the guides/manuals used by the stakeholders are substandard. This practice has for long undermined efforts to increase production and enforce compliance to standards.  This manual has therefore been developed to provide the basic standards for training beekeepers all over Uganda."

This practical guide to Beekeeping in Africa is one volume in the programme of publications on apiculture in the Third World initiated early in 1986 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Previous volumes include Tropical and sub-tropical apiculture; Honeybee mites and their control: A selected annotated bibliography; Honey and beeswax control; Beekeeping in Asia, Honeybee diseases and enemies In Asia: A practical guide; and Beekeeping in Latin America. It is hoped that other topical works will follow.  The present practical guide was written by Mr. Stephen O. Adjare, Research Fellow in charge of the Apiculture Promotion Unit of the Technology Consultancy Centre, University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana. While it draws on a wealth of information based on the experience of beekeepers around the world, and especially in the United States, it focuses on those problems, opportunities and resources which are peculiar to Africa. It stresses the potential that beekeeping offers to agriculture, rural development, nutrition and income generation in the continent, and the ways in which individual, small-scale and commercial beekeepers can improve the productivity of their hives. The use of local technology and materials, as well as the particular characteristics of the African honeybee, are treated in detail.

     Both the experienced beekeeper and the novice will find a mine of useful information, guidance and suggestions in this guide, which FAO hopes will be a valuable contribution to food security and economic development in Africa.

Apiculture in Sub-Saharan Africa (A manual for trainers)  This manual focuses on modern beekeeping in Sub-Saharan Africa. It attempts to upgrade and refine the knowledge of trainers/field workers within government departments or organizations/NGOs on the correct use of modern beekeeping techniques. The final aim is that competent services will be provided to farmers/beekeepers and appropriate transfer of know-how will be accomplished to the same. It is hoped that this will contribute to the creation of a new generation of beekeepers in the Region.

Small Scale Beekeeping (The Peace Corps) As part of the United States “whole of government” effrt to address food security in the developing world, the Peace Corps has edited and revised several existing technical manuals designed for use by Volunteers. Most of these materials were created in the late 1970s and early 1980s and were written by a number of diffrent subject-matter experts employed or contracted by the Peace Corps. They have been revised with funding provided to the Peace Corps by the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Bureau of Food Security under a food security agreement, known as “Feed the Future.”  The Small-Scale Beekeeping manual is written as a guide for Volunteers who are getting started with small-scale beekeeping projects. The intention is to provide an overview of beekeeping and its possibilities as a tool for development. The manual focuses on “intermediate levels” of beekeeping that can be self-sustaining, using only local resources.

A Manual for Trainers of Small-Scale Beekeeping Development Workers (The Peace Corps)   A Manual for Trainers of Small-scale Beekeeping Development Workers [T0029] is useful for Volunteers and staff for training purposes. The content is adaptable to pre-service and inservice training events. It is also valuable to Volunteers interested in training community members. The training is designed to help participants develop the skills they will need to work and live as beekeeping extensionists.  The emphasis of this training is on equipping future Volunteers, counterparts, and community members with the skills necessary to promote appropriate beekeeping development. This is a creative process that requires individuals to take an active role in identifying their own needs and finding appropriate and sustainable ways to meet them. The sessions outlined in this manual cover a range of skills needed to establish beekeeping projects. The approach to training used in this manual is based on the principles of non formal education and is designed to strike a balance between structured learning and independent discovery. By using the sessions, resources, and methods outlined here, participants will develop a working knowledge of beekeeping, as well as skills for applying that knowledge in a meaningful way.

Beekeeping Training for Farmers in the Hymalayas  This manual produced by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development covers the full range of basic topics related to beekeeping development, including the importance of beekeeping in modern agriculture and the use of bees for crop pollination; production of honey, wax and other hive products; honey quality standards; and using value chain and market management to increase the benefits accruing to beekeepers. The focus is on participatory hands-on training, with issues explained in simple language with many illustrations. The manual was prepared to meet formal training needs in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal, but it is suitable for use in ICIMOD's other member countries as well - Afghanistan, China, Myanmar, and Pakistan.

Beekeeping in Asia by Pongthep Akratanakul (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) - "In a continent as vast as Asia, differences in climate, levels of agricultural development, and bee races are so variable that no one book can cover all beekeeping situations. The author of this study draws heavily on his experiences with European honeybees introduced into northern Thailand, but he also discusses the principal features of beekeeping activities in the other zonal and socio-cultural contexts in Asia at different stages of development.  Both the experienced beekeeper and the novice will find a mine of useful information, guidance and suggestions in the publication and it is for this reason that FAO hopes that it will be a useful contribution to the economic development of the most populous continent in the world."

Bees and their Role in Forest Livelihoods by Nicola Bradbear (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) - "The role of bees in sustaining forests and forest dependent livelihoods remains poorly known and appreciated. Bees are a fantastic world resource: they are essential for sustaining our environment because they pollinate flowering plants. Bees sustain our agriculture by pollinating crops and thereby increasing yields of seeds and fruits.  Today, apiculture plays a valuable part in rural livelihoods worldwide, and this book aims to provide an insight into the many ways in which bees and beekeeping contribute to these livelihoods, and how to strengthen this contribution. While the rationale for the sustainable use of tree resources is widely appreciated, by contrast the sustainable use of bee resources is poorly promoted and appreciated. Rural people in every developing country are keeping bees or harvesting from them in one way or another.  This book aims to help ensure that these people gain the most from these activities."

A Beekeeping Guide  - A good beginners guide written by Harlan Attfield of VITA for beekeeping in the tropics and subtropics.  "This guide provides an overview of beekeeping in the tropics and subtropics.  It explains hive management techniques and offers insight into the life of the common honey bee, Apis Mellifera and the Asian Honey Bee, Apis Cerana.  There are many races of these two honey bees and they often require very specific techniques and equipment to hive them successfully."

Beekeeping in the Tropics   - A beginners beekeeping guide written by P. Segeren and published by Agrodok.  "You can keep bees as an interesting hobby, or as a main or an extra source of income. This booklet  mainly provides information on how to work with honey-bees that nest in cavities. In most of the world regions this will be the European bee Apis mellifera, but in large parts of (sub)tropical Asia the quite similar species A.cerana is mainly used. Although the composition of a honey-bee colony is basically the same all over the world, the management of bees must be adapted to the species and race, the climate and the vegetation." 

Beekeeping in India    Beekeeping has been practiced in Indian since time immemorial.  The earliest mention of it is in the Vedas and the Ramayana.  Success in beekeeping is largely a question of the proper understanding of the biology and behaviour of the honey bees and their proper management including knowledge of their diseases and enemies and the latest equipment for handling them.  This book is intended to serve as a handy reference and guide for students of agriculture, extension workers and all those who are interested in beekeeping either as a hobby or profession. 

Honeybees and Their Management in India by R.C. Mishra (Indian Council of Agricultural Research) - "The beekeeping practices for domesticated Indian honeybee, Apis cerana indica F. were adopted from the west with suitable modifications suiting to Indian honeybee. There is need to undertake intensive research for therefinement of management practices for improved honey yield and efficient pollination of crops. Production of other valuable hive products like royal jelly, beeswax and bee venom needs commercialization. There is a great diversity in regional agroclimatic conditions and flora. Therefore, for taking up beekeeping, there is a need to carry out some careful studies to explore the potential of each area.  This is an attempt to present a world-wide picture of beekeeping, suitable for practical and class-room reference. The book is mainly focussed on Indian literature, though the contents also draw from the knowledge accumulated in more advanced countries. It is a comprehensive account on different aspects of beekeeping, and students, teachers and scientists will profit by studying it. I am sure, the book will generate awareness and catalyse action towards a more effective exploitation of honeybees for honey and other bee products as also for crop production through bee pollination."

This is a beginners beekeeping guide to beekeeping in the Central Western Ghats part of India which includes the keeping of  Apis Cerana, Apis Florea, Apis Dorsata and the stingless Trigona.  "Beekeeping is a forest and agro-based industry, which is beyond the ordinary realms of industry,in the sense that the humans derive benefits from interaction between two living things like plants and bees without affecting adversely both. On the contrary plants, including many crops,prosper with the abundance of bees (as pollinating agents) and the bees, sheltered both by nature and humans provide mainly honey and other by-products like beeswax, bee-pollen, propolis and royal jelly. Bee-keeping, systematically adopted as a supplement to farming, can bring prosperity to the villages of Uttara Kannada, a district endowed with species rich forests and cultivation of a high diversity crops. Unlike intensive farming or fishing that can corrode the natural resource base, abundance of honey bees in a natural environment benefits both crops and wild plants."

"Beekeeping has been a traditional household activity in Sikkim for centuries. Rural communities
throughout the state have adopted this activity as substantial part of their sustainable livelihoods. In
addition to providing income and honey, beekeeping supports other products and services such as wax, pollen, medicine and, of particular importance, pollination. The entire state of Sikkim represents an ideal situation to develop beekeeping as an important component of integrated development and sustainable livelihoods. The various bio physical conditions, such as varied natural heritage of rural communities make it an ideal activity for enterprise development.  This beekeeping handbook has been compiled from various sources to provides a tool to farmers, governments, NGOs, universities, vocational training institutes, private sector organizations and individual beekeepers in the North Eastern Region to initiate and manage beekeeping activities, as well as facilitate the training of other farmers. It includes a wealth of information on a full range of topics related to beekeeping development. I am confident that the handbook will be one of the important resource materials for beekeeping development in Sikkim." Dr. Peter Gross

Beekeeping in the Phillipines (University of the Phillipines)
The Ancestral Domain and Natural Resource Management in Sagada, Mountain Province, Northern Philippines is an action research program of the Cordillera Studies Center, University of the Philippines College Baguio.  In line with the Program’s objective “to test sustainable and equitable community-based natural resource management systems,” beekeeping was introduced to the
community. Today, there is a cooperative of beekeepers in Sagada that seeks to encourage individuals to take up beekeeping.  This Kit covers the following aspects of beekeeping, including discussions
particular to Cordillera conditions, in four sections, as follows:
Section 1: An Introduction to Beekeeping
Section 2: The Bee Farm
Section 3: Operation and Maintenance of the Bee Farm
Section 4: Pests and Diseases of Honeybees

Beekeeper's Manual (Belize) - Management and Caring of Africanized Bees for the Production of Honey In the Vaca Forest Reserve in Belize.  The primary aim of this Beekeeper’s Manual is to provide information to beekeepers on the integrated management of Africanized Bees. The manual describes the basic management of beekeeping from the formation of a new nucleus to the extraction and marketing of honey.  Beekeepers in Belize should not only think that the only product in beekeeping ishoney. Pollen, propolis, wax, royal jelly and venom, the queen, the beehives and the apicultural materials are other products that capture a good market price.  This manual takes into consideration climatic changes experienced over the past 5 years and the response of bees to this factor.

Beekeeping (22 page overview) written by Lance Gegner of ATTRA-  "This publication is intended as a guide for anyone interested in beginning or expanding a beekeeping enterprise. Whether the bees are kept as pollinators for crops or for the income from their products, producers need to be aware of their states’ apiary laws concerning inspection, registration, and permits, as well as labeling and marketing standards. Producers also need to be aware of pesticide application laws and pesticide notification laws relative to bees.  Both beginning and experienced beekeepers need to consider li-ability insurance; the possibility of Africanized hybrid bees taking over the hives; and all the pests and diseases that afflict bees and their colonies."

Introductory Beekeeping Powerpoint Presentations  This is an informative 8 part introduction to beekeeping developed by master beekeeper Dana Stahlman from the Ohio State Beekeeping Association that includes topics like starting a colony,  diseases and pests, seasonal management, queen production and management of nucs. 

The first year of beekeeping (Powerpoint) - A fairly good picture based powerpoint from Dr. Deborah Delaney of the University of Delaware which provides a brief but comprehensive description of "Hive Mangement in the First Year of Beekeeping".

Beekeeping Video Series

A Web-Based Introductory Beekeeping Training Program  This online beekeeping program from the Ohio State Beekeepers' Association consists of 34 videos and 3 powerpoints and is made to accompany the book "Backyard Beekeeping" (above).  Some of the video segments include assembling your hive and frames, branding, lighting a smoker, seasonal management, cross combing, evaluating a queen, package bees, swarms, laying workers, diseases and pests, moving hives, feeders and overwintering your colonies.  This combination of information is a great starting point for the beginning beekeeper.

Honey Bees and Beekeeping: A Year in the Life of an Apiary  This is a very useful 7 part, 25 video beekeeper series presented by Dr. Keith Delaplane of the University of Georgia and covers a wide range of topics like assembly and placement of hives, installing bees, bee biology, diseases and pests, seasonal management, harvesting and overwintering.  It was created in l993 so does not include treatment for newer issues like Small Hive Beetle or Africanized bees.

2.1  Bee biology and equipment (7:38 mins)
2.3  Releasing queens (6:43 mins)
2.4  Releasing queens and stings (7:05 mins)
3.2  The brood nest (5 mins)
3.3  Our growing hives (5:49 mins)
3.4  Migrating our hives (9:18 mins)
4.1  Requeening (8 mins)
4.2  Queen Rearing (9:44 mins)
5.1  Diseases and Pests (8:52 mins)
6.2  Extracting honey (7:36 mins)
6.3  Packaging and selling honey (6:11 mins)
6.4  Commercial honey processing (6:32 mins)
7.1  Overwintering hives (6:06 mins)
7.4 Fall Management (4 mins)

The University of Guelph Honey Bee Research Centre's  online beekeeping series is a great collection of 50 videos that cover beginner topics like hive location and setup, hive equipment, protective clothing, smoke use, stinging, comb building, inspections, colony management, pests and diseases to more advanced topics like making nucs, queen rearing and indoor overwintering.  The University of Guelph is in the city of Guelph, Ontario, Canada so although much of the information is universal it is written from a northern perspective.  You can access all of the videos from this University of Guelph Honey Bee Research Centre's video list

Beekeeping in Northern Climate Video Series from the University of Minnesota.  This is a very useful collection of videos particularly for the northern, cold weather beekeeper.  "The following videos were produced by the University of Minnesota’s Department of Entomology Bee Lab and UMN Extension. Starring lead UMN Bee Lab apiculture technician, Gary Reuter, they are intended to be instructive and entertaining vignettes on a variety of beekeeping topics. Each video covers a single topic, and you do not have to watch them in any special order. In their entirety, they are a lesson on how to keep bees in cold climates such as Minnesota. Videos produced by Deacon Warner:"

Stewart Spinks of the Norfolk Honey Company in the UK has produced and is continuing to produce an exhaustive series of over 200 videos that cover pretty much every topic you may encounter from your initial setup (hive construction, painting, installing bees, inspecting, diseases and parasites.....) to catching swarms, shook swarms, queen rearing, overwintering, poly hives etc...  "Here you will find resources to help you get started in beekeeping, learn the basic essentials for a successful first year. Gain help and advice to take you through into your second year and beyond."  You can access all of the videos from the Norfolk Honey Company youtube channel

Hiveworld out of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada offers a large library of instructive videos based on season.  "We've arranged our video gallery by seasons because we think that's the most logical way to do it! But note that our most recent Meet the Beekeeper sessions get their own section because they're so popular.  Pretty well all of the YouTube videos we've produced can be viewed here.  Tip: Once you've started running a video you can make it go full-screen by either clicking the four square corners icon in the bottom right corner of the video box, or pressing 'F' on your keyboard. Use the same controls to shrink it back down when done.  We always get asked by new beekeepers, "Why do I need to split my hive?" Here Barry talks about why you need to do a split and few other options for those who don't want to make a split..." 

Beekeeping Video Resources

B.C. Honey Producers Education Day Videos and Slides  This is a large library of videos and slides covering every subject from overwintering 4 frame nucs to evaluating honey flavour.
Brushy Mt Bee Farm has a very large collection of educational videos on pretty much every topic of beekeeping. 
Honey Bee Honey has a good selection of videos on a wide variety of topics like spring management, hive inspection and fall preparation for winter. 
The folks at GardenFork have produced a series entitled Beekeeping 101 which covers a wide variety of subjects any new beekeepers should know. 
A good collection of videos from David Burns at Long Lane Honey Bee Farms.
A selection of videos from the legendary Don the Fat Bee Man

Free Online Beekeeping Course  "Honey Bees and Colony Strength Evaluation" (You can log in as a guest)  Recommended for beekeepers, inspectors and farmers hiring bee pollinators.  This online course from the University of California is useful for all beekeepers from the beginner to the professional.  "The objective in developing this course was to provide easily accessible information to improve the understanding of basic honey bee biology, recommended colony strength evaluation practices, and recognition of important diseases, pests, and parasites that impact honey bees. The course consists of individual modules that provide background information on honey bees as well as clear, consistent recommendations for apiary inspection. Individuals can take advantage of the training at their convenience. The modular approach requires short blocks of time for each section and the viewer can proceed at their own pace viewing modules in any order they wish. Modules covering basic information may not be necessary for more experienced beekeepers or apiary inspectors. However, for those less familiar with the process, training modules can be re-visited as necessary. The existing information will be updated when appropriate and additional topics may be added in the future. Within each module, there are short quizzes to test for understanding. A series of skills practice sets is also included in this online training to improve your understanding of brood, frame, and cluster count evaluation. Nothing can replace actual hands-on experience, so this course should be considered as an overview of the colony strength evaluation process with the aim to improve consistency of inspections."  This course comes with a workbook that you can view or download, Honey Bee Colony Assessment Workbook .

First Year Beekeeping is presented by biologist, Randy Oliver on his website Scientific Beekeeping which is one of the best sources of beekeeping information available.  "I’ve attempted to distill 50 year’s of beekeeping experience into a short set of instructions for starting out with bees in the Sierra Foothills.  This page provides some quick step-by-step notes for your first year of beekeeping, written specifically for those starting with a nucleus hive or package bees purchased from me, but generally applicable.  Since the vast majority of colony failures are due to lack of varroa management, I’ve covered this subject more extensively.  For a summary of treatment options, scroll to the end (Randy Johnson)."  As mentioned this website contains a wealth of regularly updated information on most beekeeping subjects.


Ohio State University has created a free honey bee biology and beekeeping course based on Dr. Reed Johnson's for-credit OSU Beekeeping Course.  The free course consists of video lectures, handouts and readings presented on iTunes which is a free download.  Unfortunately it's only available to those with apple devices which means most people can not access it. The course is in the testing phase, is extensive and consists of 138 segments covering every aspect of bees and beekeeping including: Packages and Nucs; Package Installation; Pheremones; Mites; Swarming; Vitellogenin; Queen rearing and development; Foraging; Planting; Pesticides; Phenology; Nest Architecture; Honey Extraction; IPM; Honey Flow; Honey Laundering; Commercial Pollination; Drone Congregation; Dance Language; Feeding and Wintering; Honey Crystalization; Apiary Sites; Nutrition; Pests and Diseases; Broodmapper; Bee Races; and Bee Biology.  O.S.U. is asking for volunteer beekeepers to review the course and offer suggestions.  The only suggestions I would give of this great course are that a few of the videos are repeated and that they be presented in order of learning.  To access this course and assist in it's development go to "Beekeeping and Honey Bee Biology on iTunes. 

The University of California Cooperative Extension-San Diego County has developed this self-paced online training course for beginning beekeepers and as a refresher annual training for experienced beekeepers with hives located in unincorporated areas of San Diego County.  The course consists of three modules and a 10-question quiz survey, which may be taken separately. The entire course is approximately 30 minutes long.  To begin the course, click the button below and wait a moment for the course to load in your Internet browser. If you are using Internet Explorer®, use the 'Direct Links,' below. Once started, you will be able to move through the training using the forward or back arrows located at the bottom left and right of your screen. You may also move back and forth through the course using the slide navigation panel on the left. Note, module 2 includes videos. Depending on your Internet connection, you may need to wait a few moments for each video to load on-screen.
At the end of the training, you will be provided a link to the quiz survey. You may also access the quiz, directly, by clicking the button or direct link below. To begin the survey, you will be required to enter your first and last names and email address. Your information and quiz results will be recorded.1 A summary of your quiz results will be provided at the end. To keep a copy of your quiz results for your own records, you may print using your computer's print-screen function.

The BeeMD is a diagnostic tool to help beekeepers identify honey bee health issues. The BeeMD will be used in multiple modalities including computers and handheld devices such as tablets and smart phones. The information on The BeeMD will be continually evolving and updated as science and technology add new information to the ability to diagnose and understand hive health.  The BeeMD originated as a project of the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC) with funding from the USDA APHIS, the Rust Foundation, the Pollinator Partnership and the University of Delaware. The founding team included the University of Maryland, Jamie Ellis from The University of Florida, the American Beekeeping Federation, and the Pollinator Partnership.  The BeeMD welcomes comments and photographs to expand the effectiveness of this free service.

Begin at the Beeginning
This is an introductory beekeeping course from  master beekeeper Janet Wilson which includes everything from hive components and acquiring bees to seasonal management, diseases and pests. It is written from a northwest perspective (West coast Vancouver, Coastal Washington State). It's a fairly complete beginners course with links to expert resources (i.e. Randy Oliver).  "Week by week we will explore together the canon of knowledge which is Beginning Beekeeping. We will both cover the usual course outline for beginning beeks, and chat about what we are finding in our hives, and in the beeyard, at this time of year (we are beginning in mid July in the Pacific Northwest, in an unprecedentedly dry and sunny summer).  The main focus of our learnings will be giving you tools to prevent colony loss.  Upwards of 80% of new beekeepers quit beekeeping in under three years, likely out of frustration when their bees keep dying. Bees are precious, and expensive. So we will emphasize what it takes to keep bees alive, using lots of web content and resources."

Certificate in Beekeeping
This is a fairly complete beginners beekeeping course from the Indira Ghandi National Open University.  The course focuses on beekeeping in India with an awareness of the preference for the more productive introduced European honey bee.  The course covers subjects like bee biology, beekeeping history, bee flora and pollination, seasonal management, pests and diseases, hive products and the economics of beekeeping.  The course is accompanied by several manuals available to view or be downloaded from the University website. 

Beginner Beekeeping Course:   

This is a beginner beekeeping course from Amazing Bees in Australia which includes bee biology, rules, regulations and registration, hive inspection, honey extraction, swarming, queen replacement, winter prep and feeding.  It covers most everything a new beekeeper in Australia needs to know. 

Beginner Beekeeping Short Course from the Virginia Cooperative Extension.

Beekeeping Tests

The legendary master beekeeper Dana Stahlman has an online course which is being worked on at present but he has a test for the beginner, advanced and master beekeeper which are useful tools.  Check it out at Gobeekeeping.

Beekeeping in West Virginia  Beekeeping in West Virginia began with individuals keeping bees in log hives often called gums. Some bees were managed in hives made out of rough sawed lumber and they were called box hives. Records show that these honeybee colonies produced from 14 to 24 pounds of honey on average each year.
Beekeeping in the Phillipines
Biosecurity Manual for the Honey Bee Industry (Australian Government)
Best Management Practices for Beekeeping (Australian Government)
Asian Honey Bee Manual (Australian Government)
Easy Beekeeping for Hobbyists in New Zealand by Tudor Caradoc-Davies

1. Digestive and excretory systems.
2. Circulatory, respiratory, and nervous systems.
3. Endocrine system.
4. Reproductive organs.

This video, "Biology of the Honey Bee" is presented by Dr. Jamie Ellis, Professor of Entomology from the University of Florida. 

Bee Biology with Larrry Connor from Wicas Press
The Biology of Wintering Bees by Medhat Nasr, Provincial Apiarist, Alberta, Canada

Western Honey Bee Subspecies   The European Honey bee or Western Honey Bee (Apis Mellifera) is a species of honey bee.  The genus Apis is Latin for "Bee" and mellifera comes from the Latin meli meaning "honey" and ferre meaning "to bear".  Hence the scientific name means "honey-bearing bee".  The name was coined in 1758 by Carolus Linnaeus who, realizing that bees do not bear honey, but nectar, tried later to correct it to Apis Mellifica (honey-making bee) in a subsequent publication.  However, according to the rules of synonymy in zoological nomenclature the older name has precedence.  
Hobby beekeeping in the city of Vancouver
Useful Beekeeping Websites
Beekeeping Glossary
Glossary of terms use in Beekeeping
Flow Frame Instructional Manual
Keeping a hive at someone's home written agreement
Honey and Infant Botulism by John Durkacz (S.B.A.)
Honey Bee Sting Pain Study by Michael Smith (Cornell University)
Normal and allergic reactions to insect stings
Odds of death by stings

Informative Beekeeping Websites:
Dave Cushman's website
Scientific Beekeeping (Randy Oliver)
Michael Bush's website
Bee Informed
Ohio State Beekeepers
Cooperative Extension
Virginia Cooperative Extension
Pollinator Partnership
Xerces Society
Project Apis m.
Bee Culture
American Bee Journal
The BeeMD
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

It's important to have a purpose/s when inspecting a hive.  Why are you inspecting and what are you looking for?  An argument can be made that new beekeepers can only improve their skills by regular weekly inspections but the disruption to the colony is real and should be minimized.  A beekeeper can learn a great deal by observing the entrance to the hive.  The book "At the Hive Entrance"  explains the value of being able to calculate a hive health by observing the outside of the hive.  In this video Paul Kelly, research and apiary manager (University of Guelph, Canada), shows how to open a bee hive and in the following video he will describe what you are looking for.

A list of frequently asked questions on the University of Guelph Honey Bee Research Centre website.  These videos are from University of Guelph's video series which can be found in the video series section of our Library. 

The Hive Inspection - What are you looking for 
and what do you see? 
"OUTSIDE OF THE HIVE  • What is the level of activity of the colony at the entrance of the hive?  • How does the activity compare to that of other colonies in the bee yard?  • Are the bees “bearding” (festooning) and what does that behavior mean?  • Is there any indication of robbing behavior?  • Are the bees bringing in pollen? What does that mean?  FESTOONING Hanging out on the front of a hive. Just cooling off on the front porch on a hot summer day. Don’t confuse this with swarming or robbing behavior. ROBBING BEHAVIOR Bees are all over a hive and can be on all sides. Flight patterns are erratic and frenzied. Installing entrance reducers may help to mitigate robbing behavior.... " INSIDE THE HIVE  Checking for adequate stores, queenright, pests, parasites and diseases.     Prepared and presented by Bill Evans, Master Beekeeper, Rose Hill Farm, LLC, Jemison, Alabama. 

Hive Inspection Guide and Checklist   "To have healthy, strong, honey producing hives, beekeepers must make inspections to know the conditions inside the hive. Hive inspection is simply a term to describe:  Taking the hive apart and making observations, then deciding what needs to be done, based upon those observations.  There are a number of things we need to look for when we inspect a bee hive. An inspection sheet helps keep things organized and allows easy comparison from one inspection to the next.  Experienced beekeepers may find this check list too detailed, but that’s really the point. It helps keep beginners and forgetful old folks like me from overlooking something important.
APPROACH the hive from behind or from the side. As much as possible, stay out the bees’ line
of flight. The rule of thumb is to smoke the bees a little and smoke them often. Give them 2 or 3
puffs of smoke in the entrance and under the lid before opening the hive. After that, giving them
1 or 2 puffs of smoke across the frames before you remove each frame will usually keep them
calm. Smoke under each box before removing it. If the bees get aggressive, put a LOT of smoke
in the air. This will mask the alarm scent and some of the bees will seek shelter inside the hive..."
 Jerry Freeman, Ashley County Beekeepers Association, Arkansas.

September Inspection, Menifee County, Kentucky. 

An inspection sheet helps keep things organized and allows easy comparison from one inspection to the next.  It helps keep new beginners from overlooking something important.  I encourage you to use one of these or one of the many available apps.  As you become more experienced you will make up your own checklist that suits your needs.  There are many apps and software programs for tracking your hives like Hive TracksBeeCloud and Beetight.

The BeeMD is a useful tool to help identify issues a beekeeper may find during an inspection.  "The BeeMD is a diagnostic tool to help beekeepers identify honey bee health issues. The BeeMD will be used in multiple modalities including computers and handheld devices such as tablets and smart phones. The information on The BeeMD will be continually evolving and updated as science and technology add new information to the ability to diagnose and understand hive health."  The BeeMD originated as a project of the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC) with funding from the USDA APHIS, the Rust Foundation, the Pollinator Partnership and the University of Delaware. The founding team included the University of Maryland, Jamie Ellis from The University of Florida, the American Beekeeping Federation, and the Pollinator Partnership.

The advantages of using Nucs (University of Florida)  Nucleus colonies, commonly called “nucs”, are smaller versions of full-size Langstroth colonies. They usu-ally have the same length and depth dimensions as full-size colonies, but nucs are not as wide. As such, nucs may hold 3-5 frames compared to the 8-10 frames typically held by a full size colony. A second type of nuc, commonly called a “baby nuc” or “queen mating nuc”, exists but is smaller than full-size colonies in every dimension and is used primarily for queen bee production. Queen mating nucs will not be discussed in this document. Rather, we will focus on five-frame nucs exclusively, although three- and four-frame nucs can be used and managed almost identically.

Swarm Control

            Swarm Intelligence with Tom Seeley

     Swarm Control: University of Guelph Honey Bee Research Centre

The main thrust of Checkerboarding is to break up the overhead band of capped honey maintained by the colony through the swarm preparation season. (The literature refers to the band of honey or nectar as causing a “honey bound” condition.) In the undisturbed colony, it is capped honey. In the colony reversed in the early season, the band is rebuilt with nectar. Maintenance of the band is deliberate addition of empty comb above the band is often ignored, and swarm preparations continue below the band – which Walt calls the “reserve”. He says that the reserve is maintained through the swarm prep period to offset forage drop – outs or bad weather during swarm preps.

Swarm Catching
Swarm Traps: What you need to know to be successful (Brown's Beef and Bees)

(Beaverlodge Research Farm, Alberta, Canada) In nature bees have two general methods for maintaining colony temperatures in winter: 1) selecting a protected and well-suited cavity (Tab. 1) and 2) clustering.  Clusters have a two-part structure (Fig. 1): 1) a dense outer mantle in which bees jam together, orienting their heads towards the center of the cluster and 2) a loose inner core where bees are free to move. The mantle insulates and, at its tightest, approaches the insulation of bird feathers or mammal fur (0.1 W/kg/ºC). Clusters move slowly from empty combs to ones full of honey. This movement is typically upwards and sideways, never downwards. Before we go on, here are four critical temperatures you should know: 1) brood nest = 32-36ºC, 2) minimum thorax temperature needed for flight = 27ºC, 3) minimum temperature needed to pump flight muscles and warm up (analogous to mammal “shivering”) = 18ºCand 4) below which bees go into a “chill coma” = 6ºC.  

The "Biology of Wintering Bees" by Medhat Nasr, Provincial Apiarist, Alberta, Canada.

Winter Management Webinars


Beehive construction (B.C. Government) - Most beekeepers will assemble pre-cut beehive equipment at some time.  Others go farther by manufacturing their own equipment.  In either case, it is important to use standard dimensions and assembly methods to ensure that the equipment will be interchangeable, strong and durable.  This publication offers dimensions and designs of individual hive parts, and a few assembly hints. In Canada, the Langstroth movable-frame hive has been adopted as the hive standard.  This hive design provides simplicity of construction and ease of manipulation, permitting rapid inspection and interchange of frames.  Well-constructed equipment pays off in ease of management, and retains its resale value.

Observation Hives

Hive bodies take a lot of abuse and need to be con-structed accordingly.  Not only do they have to bear a lot of weight (up to 70 pounds, or more) for a super, but the bee-keeper will use their hive tool to twist and pry apart hive bodies after the bees glue everything together with propolis. Of all the hive components, hive bodies have the most differences in size.  There are four standard heights (referred to as “depth”) for hive bodes: deep, medium, shallow and  comb honey.  In addition there are three common widths: 10-frame, 8-frame and 5-frame.  We typically recommend to beekeepers just starting out to decide on one size hive body and then stick with it.  That way, all equipment is interchangeable.  Because a 10-frame deep super can be very heavy (70+ pounds), we suggest using 10-frame mediums (which usually top out around 35 pounds when full of honey).  The plans presented in this article are for 10-frame medium hive bodies, though tables on the cut list page provide dimensions for the other sizes.

1. #8 Hardware cloth should be placed over the middle section of the bottom of the hive for ventilation. It is easiest to install if it is stapled on after the front, back and sides are assembled but before the bottom is attached.  2. A 9 3/4 x 9'' piece of corrugated plastic can be slid in the dados in the bottom pieces to block off the ventilation in cold weather.  3. The feet may be made of treated wood or other wood that resists rot to extend life.  4. To enable feeding the nuc a hole may be cut in the top to fit a quart jar or other suitable feeder. Screen may be placed on the inner side of the hole to prevent the bees from coming out when the feeder is replaced and a square of heavy plastic may be placed over the hole and attached by one screw or nail. This piece of plastic can be moved aside when feeding and moved over the hole when not feeding.
5. When moving the nuc you need only close off the entrance with duct tape. The bees will have plenty of ventilation from the bottom screen.


Bottom Boards and Racks

Give entire inside of feeder two coats of polyurethane or marine varnish.  Pour molten wax onto all inside seams.  Attach hardware cloth to top of boards "A" with staples (

Pollen Traps



Parts for Pests

Winter Protection
Insulated Moisture Quilt
Ventilation/Insulation Box

English translation: The large bicycle tires (57-406, 20 x 2, 125) give the sack barrow a particularly good ride suitability in uneven terrain. The wide wheelbase provides a good grip against slip of the Hives. The Prey truck for hives to max. 46 cm width. If your hives be wider than 46 cm, is only an adaptation of Pos. 1 and 2 (see Plan A) to the desired width make. The construction of the prey truck based on both a comfortable posture and on the great usability with secure stand against overturning. 

Heating and Ventilating


A Starter's Guide for using Electric Fencing to Deter Bears by K. Annis (M.F.W.P Bear Specialist)
A properly constructed electric fence is safe for people and pets  and has proven to be effective at deterring bears from apiaries (beehives), fruit trees, gardens, livestock pens, rabbit hutches, garbage containers, dog kennels, chicken coups, compost piles, storage sheds, along with numerous other uses. There is an abundant variety of applications and effective fencing designs for deterring bears. Design, construction and proper maintenance will determine the effectiveness of your electric fence. Safety is always a concern when using electrified equipment. Modern electric fence energizers have been shown to be safe for humans, animals and vegetation. The pulse rate of a modern energizer is so quick that they cannot generate enough heat to start vegetation on fire. While touching an electrified fence is unpleasant, modern energizers are safe to use around pets and children.

Honey Extraction
The bicycle wheel extractor begins with a bike.  The frame cage is made of the bicycle rims, with the spokes serving to hold the frames in place.  Which bike you want is based on your drum and your frames.  Not all bike wheels are created equal, primarily because of the spoke design.  For the western supers I use, I discovered that the front wheels of some sixteen inch bicycles would fit nicely, while the rear wheel and some other spoke patterns wouldn’t allow western frames (but did allow true shallow frames).  The way that I discovered this involved my daughter’s bike.  “You don’t need a wrench to put on streamers,” she said.  Her bike wasn’t right anyway.  I didn’t want to buy two bikes just to sacrifice the front wheel, so tape measure in hand I descended on yard sales and thrift shops, carrying a western frame along for a “test fit”...

Hive Care

Beehive Construction Resource Websites

- A great collection of plans and videos from Steve Tilmann and the Michigan Beekeepers Association.   Michigan Beekeepers Association    Beekeepers Workshop Videos
- Dave Cushman's drawings of National Bee Hive Component Parts. (UK)
DIY Hive Construction Plans and Tools from UK Beekeeping Forum.
Beesource Build it Yourself Section.   Plans     Forum
- Plans for bee hive components from

Diseases and Pests

A Field Guide to Honey Bees and their Maladies (Penn State University) - The key to protecting honey bee colonies from diseases, parasites, and other harm-ful conditions is the ability to identify and deal with problems early. This publication is designed to assist beekeepers in recog-nizing the symptoms of common honey bee maladies. Some simple cultural controls are included here; however, for a complete list and discussion of manage-ment tactics and currently registered chemicals approved for the control of honey bee maladies, see the MAAREC Web site,


Introduction to Varroa Mites and Integrated Pest Management from the Honey Bee Health Coalition

                                      Varroa Population Dynamics from the UoG Honey Bee Research Centre

Tools for Varroa Management: A guide to effective varroa sampling and control
Every honey bee colony in the continental United States and Canada either has Varroa mites today or will have them within several months. Varroa mite infestation represents one of the greatest threats to honey bee health, honey production, and pollination services. When honey bee colonies are untreated
or treated ineffectively colonies can fail and beekeepers can incur major economic losses, and, ultimately, agricultural food production may be impacted. In addition, colonies with Varroa are a source of mites that can spread to other colonies, even in other apiaries, through drifting, robbing, and absconding activity of bees.  All beekeepers should remain vigilant to detect high Varroa mite levels and be prepared to take timely action in order to reduce mite loads. Effective mite control will reduce colony losses and avoid potential spread of infectious disease among colonies.  This Guide will explain practical, effective methods that beekeepers can use to measure Varroa mite infestations in their hives and select appropriate control methods. This guide is produced by the Honey Bee Health Coalition.

Scientific Beekeeping (Randy Oliver) Varroa Management
Biology and Control of Varroa Destructor (University of Hohenheim)
Sampling Colonies for Varroa Destructor by G. Reuter and M. Spivak (U. of Minnesota)
Altered Physiology of Honey Bees Infested with Varroa (Norwegian Research Council)
Alternative Strategies for Control of Varroa Mites in Europe (Apimondia)
Aspects of Varroa Reproduction as possible new control method by D. Anderson (Australian Government)

Varroa Management Decision Tool.  This tool will walk you through the decisions you need to make to determine how best to manage varroa mites.  The guide is produced by the Honey Bee Health Coalition.  "We’ve formed the Honey Bee Health Coalition to bring together beekeepers, growers, researchers, government agencies, agribusinesses, conservation groups, manufacturers, and consumer brands to improve the health of honey bees in general and specifically around production agriculture. We’re taking collaborative action to improve honey bee health by addressing multiple factors influencing bee health, including hive pests and disease, forage and nutrition, and exposure to crop pesticides."  Click here to access the tool. 

Mite-A-Thon   "Mite-A-Thon is a tri-national effort to collect mite infestation data and to visualize Varroa infestations in honey bee colonies across North America within a two week window. All beekeepers can participate, creating a rich distribution of sampling sites in Canada, the United States, and Mexico. Their Varroa monitoring data will be uploaded to" (from the Pollinator Partnership)

Varroa Mite Management Videos
Powdered Sugar Shake and Alcohol Wash (Honey Bee Health Coalition)
Varroa Sticky Boards (UoG Honey Bee Research Centre)

               4 minute alcohol wash mite test by Randy Oliver

Randy Oliver's Varroa Model for determining mite population dynamics to help in creating a mite management strategy.

Honey Bee Health Coalition bee club presentation (powerpoint)

*HBHC = Honey Bee Health Coalition

                                 James Ellis at the National Honey Show

The beetle is indigenous to Africa, where it is considered a minor pest of honey bees, and until recently was thought to be restricted to that continent. However, in 1998 it was detected in Florida and it is now widespread in the USA. It is called the small hive beetle to distinguish it from other minor pests of bee hives in Africa, known as large hive beetles. At the time of writing, the SHB is not thought to be present in the UK. The beetle can multiply to huge numbers within infested colonies where it eats brood, destroys combs and if uncontrolled ultimately destroys them. The resulting economic impact on the beekeeping industry in the USA has been severe. Within two years of its discovery, at least 20,000 colonies were destroyed by the beetle, costing many millions of dollars. It has also been found in Manitoba, Canada where it arrived with beeswax imported from the USA. In October 2002, it was found in New South Wales and Queensland, Australia. The economic consequences to the beekeeping industry in Australia are likely to be extremely serious, jeopardising bee exports, pollination services and honey production. Normally they move down into the hive to get away from the light It is not known how the beetle reached either the USA or Australia, although in the USA shipping is considered the most likely route. By the time the beetle was detected in both countries it was already well established. The potential implications for European apiculture are enormous, as we must now assume that the SHB could spread to Europe and that it is likely to prove as harmful here as in Australia and the USA. Package bees and honey bee colonies are the principal means of spread, but it could also be transmitted inadvertently and unnoticed through swarms in shipping or air cargo, or in consignments of fruit, unrefined wax and used beekeeping equipment. Beekeeper vigilance must be heightened following the discovery of the SHB in Australia. In the future, keeping an eye out for the beetle needs to become a routine part of colony management in the UK.
SHB Biology - Producing Control Options (Australian Gov. 73 pgs)

Small Hive Beetle Videos


The heavy-duty straps and the heavy rocks were no match for the bear. This time he got the queen too and so many bees that there's nothing left. The bees did give a good fight as seen in the video and the bear had to retreat a few times, but it is all done. (Avner Skolnik)

A properly constructed electric fence is safe for people and pets  and has proven to be effective at deterring bears from apiaries (beehives), fruit trees, gardens, livestock pens, rabbit hutches, garbage containers, dog kennels, chicken coups, compost piles, storage sheds, along with numerous other uses. There is an abundant variety of applications and effective fencing designs for deterring bears. Design, construction and proper maintenance will determine the effectiveness of your electric fence. Safety is always a concern when using electrified equipment. Modern electric fence energizers have been shown to be safe for humans, animals and vegetation. The pulse rate of a modern energizer is so quick that they cannot generate enough heat to start vegetation on fire. While touching an electrified fence is unpleasant, modern energizers are safe to use around pets and children.

How to install an electric fence (Defenders of Wildlife)

Bear Fence Test (NOLS)

*For us in North America the best control of Wasps is to catch the overwintered Queens in spring.  The newly mated queens are the only members of the wasp colony to survive the winter.  You can also, dressed in your beekeeping protective gear, drown an in-ground nest or bag a hanging nest early in the morning (when most of the wasps are in the nest) and submerge it in water.  No toxins are required in these means of disposing of the nests or in traps described below.  When using traps our wasps tend to be more attracted to protein early in the season (they are feeding their brood) and sugar from late summer to fall.  Add vinegar to the sugar solution in your traps to deter the bees. To help protect our hives we reduce our entrances in late summer when the wasps leave their nests to forage so that the hive is easier to defend.  If the wasps gain entrance to the hive a robber screen is a useful defense.

"Yellowjackets are usually considered beneficial insects because they kill many pest insects and feed them to their larvae.  However, some species, such as the western yellowjacket (Paravespula pensylvanica), the common yellowjacket (P. vulgaris), and the German yellowjacket (P. germanica), can attack honeybee adults and larvae.  A typical yellowjacket worker is about 1 / 2 -inch long.  Coloration is yellow and black or white and black. Yellowjackets have annual colonies. Inseminated queens overwinter in protected locations. They emerge from late March through May, select a nest site, and build a small paper nest in which they lay their eggs.
Yellowjacket species build nests below the soil in mouse burrows or in similar sites, also between walls or in the attics of houses. Worker yellowjackets rear and feed the brood and also forage for food. The queen remains inside the nest laying eggs. Colonies expand rapidly and may total up to 5,000 workers when maximum size is attained in August or September. In the fall, inseminated queens seek sheltered spots for overwintering.  Yellowjackets eat bee brood, rob honey, and sometimes kill the queen or the colony. Weak colonies are especially susceptible. In general, yellowjackets become pests of honeybees in late summer through fall and are more serious pests in dry years."

The easiest DIY wasp trap to make is to cut the top off of a plastic bottle or jug and place the inverted top into the bottom (A picture of the trap to the right).  You can secure the union with tape and hang away from the hives. You should clean and replace the bait at least once per week.  The bait receptacle is not necessary.  This DIY project is described in detail in the video below.


     Skunks can be a problem for beekeepers though they are usually not a major threat  and fairly easy to deter (like most issues a bigger threat to weaker colonies).  They are nocturnal visitors and evidence of their presence can be detected in ground scraping in front of the entrance, scraping on the bottom board or lower super, agitated bees, shrinking population, holes (they like to dig for grubs) and scat containing bee carcasses (Evidence of skunks in the beeyard - Ian Steppler) .  The skunks may be a benefit to you and your bees by digging up and preying on wasp nests and rodents (that may winter in the hive).  Their M.O. (modus operandi) is to scratch on the hive to bring bees out to investigate which they eat as they exit the hive.  A small percentage of skunks will scratch on the hive and eat the bees as they settle on the ground unable to navigate in the dark (lower bee fatality - Skunk feeding on ground bees (Frederick Dunn)).  

     There are several methods of skunk defense.  Raising the hive (12 inches or more) forces the skunk to stand leaving their belly exposed to stinging.  This method is effective.  In the video above Ian Steppler found placing the hives on pallets effective.  If possible raising it high enough makes the hive inaccessible.  Raising a hive that high is not a practical solution for most.  Another method is placing a 2-4 inch wide board over the hive entrance.  This method prevents the skunk eating all the bees exiting the hive.  The bees not caught will commence stinging.  Chicken wire (rolled or surrounding) around the entrance prevents the skunk eating them as they exit.  A carpet tack board or bear board under the hive entrance makes for an uncomfortable stance.  If you have an electric fence lowering the bottom wire (or adding) is effective and if you have few hives a fence buried at least a foot deep can be effective (they love to dig).  Solar powered motion detectors may work if you have the money, the sun and are not annoyed by the sound or flashing light.  I have found store bought animal repellent works on squirrels and rats for me.  It is supposed to work on skunks.  The concept is that it replicates the smell of a predator (i.e. coyote urine).  There are several d.i.y recipes for deterrent sprays using pepper, urine, vinegar and ammonia and citrus (D.I.Y Recipes).  While they can be a nuisance and washing a skunked dog is a pain a mother skunk followed by a string of baby skunks is pretty cute. 

Connecticut Wildlife Rehabilitators Association

Skunk Behavior in the Bee Yard (Mark Headings, Ohio State University)

Prevention of Deformed Wing Virus by dsRNA ingestion (University of Manitoba) 



Deformed Wing Virus


Pathogen Webs in Collapsing Honey Bee Colonies (N.C. State, U. of Maryland, U.S.D.A)
"On-site" Replication of CCD (Harvard, Worcester County B.A.)

Medications and Stress

Essential Oils

Why should parasite resistance be costly? (U.C. Santa Barbara and U. of Vermont)

Hygienic bees removing infested larvae
"Hygienic honeybee colonies are those in which dead and diseased brood is rapidly removed from the colony, thereby reducing the amount of inoculum present. Hygienic behaviour is a trait present in about 20% of Australian honeybee colonies. Some researchers claim that highly hygienic colonies are strongly resistant to the major diseases of honeybees including American and European foul brood, Chalk brood and Sac brood. Hygienic bees are also claimed to be resistant to the parasitic mite Varroa. Hygienic behaviour is usually measured by using liquid nitrogen to freeze-kill a small patch of brood. Hygienic colonies uncap and remove the dead brood within 24 hours whereas this process takes several days with non-hygienic colonies. The first studies of hygienic behaviour were conducted in the 1960s. Walter Rothenbuhler crossed a strongly hygienic line with a strongly non-hygienic line. The resulting F1 colonies were not hygienic. Rothenbuhler then raised daughters off an F1 queen backcrossed these to drones of the hygienic parent. He then evaluated these colonies for hygienic behaviour. The pattern of expression of hygienic behaviour among these backcross colonies suggested that the trait was controlled by two separate genes, one that controlled uncapping behaviour, the other which controlled removal behaviour."

Fat Bees Skinny Bees - a manual on honey bee nutrition for beekeepers by Doug Somerville (Australian Government). This publication provides information on the known essential chemical requirements of  honey bees including the components of nectar and pollen.  Pollens with a protein level  around 25% or greater have been recognised as excellent quality pollens, those less  than 20% have been described as of a poor quality. Australia has had more pollens  analysed than any other country, and for the first time all of the profiles of the analysis  are presented, representing 183 species.  There is some evidence that pollens from the  same genus, i.e., closely related plants, exhibit similar nutritional values in regards to  pollen chemical composition. Lack of nectar or stored honey presents the beekeeper with various sets of problems. These scenarios are discussed with the most appropriate course of action. Likewise, lack of pollen or poor quality pollen creates its own set of problems, often exacerbated by the stimulus of a nectar flow. How to recognise the need to provide pollen supplement and the circumstances which may lead a beekeeper to invest in this practice are discussed. Some facts about honey bee nutrition include; nectar flows stimulate hygienic behaviour; total protein intake is what should be considered, not so much the individual chemical properties of individual pollens; fats in pollen act as strong attractants to foraging bees, although increasing concentrations in pollen limit brood rearing; vitamins are very unstable and deteriorate in stored pollen; principal cause of winter losses is starvation, not cold...

Honey Bee Nutrition by Eric Mussen (UC Davis)
Honey Bee Nutrition by Zachery Huang (Michigan State U.)
Honey Bee Nutrition - Review of Research and Practices by J. Black (Australian Government)
Honey (not sugar) constituents up-regulate immunity and detoxification genes in Honey Bees (University of Illinois) 
The Benefits of Pollen to Honey Bees (University of Florida)
Considerations in Selecting Sugars for feeding to Honey Bees by R. Barker (U.S.D.A)
Feeding Bees Pollen Substitute by Dr. E. Mussen (UC Davis)
Honey Substitution Chart for Feeding Bees (National Honey Board)
Nutrition Section of Scientific Beekeeping (Randy Oliver) which includes studies on a variety of topics like light or heavy syrup?; probiotics; beebread; pollen substitutes and more. 


Bee Feeding Recipes by Cass Cohenour
Recipe for a Pollen Substitute (Scottish Beekeepers Association)

Pollen Substitute Patties by DC Honeybees

Adding Sugar Bricks to Beehives from Mud Songs.


Feeder Types from Brushy Mt Bee Farm.

Give entire inside of feeder two coats of polyurethane or marine varnish.  Pour molten wax onto all inside seams.  Attach hardware cloth to top of boards "A" with staples (


An Introduction to Native Bees (U.S.D.A and Pollinator Partnership)   Native bees are a hidden treasure.  From alpine meadows in the national forests of the Rocky Mountains to the Sonoran Desert in the Coronado National Forest in Arizona and from the boreal forests of the Tongass National Forest in Alaska to the Ocala National Forest in Florida, bees can be found anywhere in North America, where flowers bloom.  From forests to farms, from cities to wildlands, there are 4,000 native bee species in the United States, from the tiny Perdita minima to large carpenter bees. Most people do not realize that there were no honey bees in America before European settlers brought hives from Europe. These resourceful animals promptly managed to escape from domestication. As they had done for millennia in Europe and Asia, honey bees formed swarms and set up nests in hollow trees. Native pollinators, especially bees other than honey bees, have been pollinating the continent’s flowering plants since long before the arrival of honey bees.  Even in today’s vastly altered landscapes, they continue to do the yeomen’s share of pollination, especially when it comes to native plants.

Native Bee Identification