Good Fall Reading

Anatomy & Dissection of the honey bee. H. A. Dade. Published by Northern Bee Books and The International Bee Research Association. ISBN 978-0-86098-280-7. 196 pgs., black and white line drawings. Soft cover. Available at bookstores and Amazon, for $37.

This reprint of the original 1962 classic is still the basis of teaching beekeepers the structure of the honey bee in part 1, and how to dissect one to expose all the components of this amazing insect in part 2. The drawings are accurate and supurb and easy to use. Additions include the changes in technology in microscopes up to a point, and techniques in dissecting soft tissues. But if dissection is part of what you want to be doing, this is a good reference, and it includes hundreds of other references for you to check.      – Kim Flottum

Top bar hive beekeepers – The derth is over!

Simple and easy to manage, top bar hives have been gaining traction in the U.S. as more and more people become aware of the plight of the honey bee. A top bar hive supports the bees’ natural systems inside their hive, as well as making life easier for the beekeeper – since there’s no heavy lifting involved. But learning about this natural beekeeping method has been difficult – until now.

This professionally produced online class will help beekeepers, both new and experienced, learn the management techniques that work best in a beehive where “It’s All About the Wax!” The class was produced with assistance from a grant from the Eva Crane Trust. Dr. Eva Crane, “without doubt – one of the greatest writers on bees and beekeeping in the 20th century, formed the Eva Crane Trust with the aim of advancing the understanding of bees and beekeeping by the collection, collation and dissemination of science and research worldwide as well as to record and propagate a further understanding of beekeeping practices through historical and contemporary discoveries.”

Taught by Christy Hemenway, herself the author of two books on the subject of top bar beekeeping, the class supports natural beekeepers with practical, real-life methods and richly detailed information on the “why” of top bar hive management. Hemenway’s dedication to teaching the underlying reasons for bee management is evident in both her books: The Thinking Beekeeper – A Guide to Natural Beekeeping in Top Bar Hives and its sequel Advanced Top Bar Beekeeping – Next Steps for the Thinking Beekeeper. Visit the Gold Star Honeybees website to get started right. There you’ll find information and support, along with all the tools you need to keep bees naturally in top bar hives – including bees! To connect with other top bar hive beekeepers – visit our Top Bar Hive Beekeepers group on Facebook!

The Small Hive Beetle, Aethina tumida Murray. By Wm. Michael Hood, Prof. Emeritus, Clemson U. Published by Northern Bee Books, ISBN 978-1-912271-07-8. 6ó” X 9ó”, 139 Pgs, color throughout, soft cover. $15.75.

The basics on this bee hive pest. Mike Hood did much of the ground work on this pest before he retired from Clemson, and has updated much of the information he presented in the first edition. Biology, history, importance, and most importantly (and easily 90% of the book, control). This includes preventing, cultural practices, monitoring, genetic control, mechanical control, physical control, biological control and finally chemical controls. He finishes with the Top 20 Small Hive Beetle Management Recommendations. For some this is a pest to deal with on and ongoing basis, and this is the book for you. Check it out.     – Kim Flottum

The Ashville Bee Charmer Cookbook. Sweet and Savory Recipes Inspired by 28 Honey Varietal and Blends. Written by Carrie Schloss. 208 pgs., hard cover, all color, 7.25d” x 9.25”. ISBN 978-1-57284-228-1. $21.95. Available from Agate Publishing, at, and books stores almost everywhere.

Now I love cookbooks. I’ve written several, published more and even did a show for Japanese television on cooking with honey out on the deck. But it’s a ‘I know what I like’ more than a ‘I’d just love to try this recipe’ kind of thing because I can pretty much look at the ingredients and the technique and taste the result before turning the page. I’ve been doing that for years, and I’m pretty good at knowing how something will end up. So, after looking at what’s inside this book I decided I had to try some. I wasn’t disappointed, and you won’t be either. What I like most is that the recipes call for varietal or specific blends of honey. I have some of these. So do you. Get a copy. Make some good food. See if I’m not right.    – Kim Flottum

Beekeeping with Children and School Groups. By Undine Westphal. Published by Undine Westphal. 143 pages. 6” x 8 ó “, color, hard cover. £23.00.

Thinking of starting a beekeeping club at an elementary school? Undine Westphal shares strategies and ideas from her experiences teaching beekeeping to school children in Hamburg, Germany for over seven years. This is not a comprehensive book about how to keep bees but a guide in ways to structure beekeeping sessions with groups of school aged children.

Working with a group of children can be challenging. Add beekeeping to the mix and the need for extensive planning and preparation increases enormously. This book offers suggestions on establishing ground rules, creating smaller groups, and assigning duties to create successful experiences for all. As you would expect, one chapter is devoted to safety issues. Beekeeping does involve fire, potential allergic reactions, and sharp objects. Highlighted side bars throughout the book also offer precautions and things to be aware for the projects in the apiary.

Each of the 23 beekeeping activities includes a list of required materials and a description of the activity, along with classroom management ideas for varied age levels. Beginning with preparing children for their first hive experience, the author continues with early Spring manipulation, adding a super, swarms, making nucleus colonies, queen rearing, Winter feeding, and more. Tasks involving honey extraction incorporate honey care, bottling, labels and selling honey.

The last section of the book includes 20 craft and game ideas specifically geared for children. For instance, one project involves making a game to match pictures of beekeeping tools with their corresponding vocabulary word. Another inspires children to create a mini pasture puppet theater using a paper plate.

The directions for the crafts and games are in paragraph form. Even though I find numbered steps easier to comprehend and follow, many of the activities are fresh and would be fun for children. If you are an experienced beekeeper interested in setting up a beekeeping club at a school, with a 4-H unit, or home school group, this book offers great suggestions to get you started and keep you going for an entire year.

Kim Lehman,  BC’s Kids’ Corner Author

100 Plants To Feed The Bees. By The Xerces Society. Published by Storey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-61212-701-9. 6” x 8”, 240 pgs., color throughout, softcover (hardcover and ebook available). $16.95.

This well written, useful and extremely attractive, user-friendly field guide shows what you can do to feed pollinators. The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation offers browsable profiles of 100 common flowers, herbs, shrubs, and trees that support bees, butterflies, moths, and hummingbirds. The recommendations are simple: pick the right plants for pollinators, protect them from pesticides, and provide abundant blooms throughout the growing season by mixing perennials with herbs and annuals! Each flower has excellent photos, info on where it grows in the U.S., what to plant it with, when it blooms, best growing requirements, uses, height, color, more. – Kim Flottum

A Practical Handbook on honey harvesting and extracting. By Bill Winner and Doug Somerville. Published by Tocal College, New South Wales, Australia. 8.25” x 11.5”, 122 pages, color throughout. Soft cover. Hardcopy $30A, plus post. Digital version available.

Honey Harvesting and Extracting is from Australia, but it might as well have been written in Iowa. It’s primary audience is for the commercial market, but backyard beekeepers will learn much from this as it is a multitude of things that can go wrong when moving honey from hive to honey house to uncapper to extractor to storage to market. Plus, much of what our soon-to-be food safety regulations will become are already standard and we do have much to learn to catch up to the rest of the world.

“This practical guide will assist beekeepers whether they are small scale recreational or commercial operators,” Dr Somerville said.

“It has important information on the best way to handle honey, including food quality, food safety and compliance with basically international legislation and regulatory principles are covered in the guide.

Dr Somerville said the guide outlines the best principles for the design, construction and cleanliness of a honey house, and there is also a section on mobile extracting plants, as many of the requirements for central extracting plants also apply to mobile plants.

I’ve not found an up-to-date resource like this, and with new laws coming into effect, US beekeepers can use every resource they can find.

The Honey harvesting and extracting AgGuide is available in hard copy, online from or mail order from Tocal College or as an ebook through iTunes and Google Play.  – Kim Flottum



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