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75 of 75 people found the following review helpful
on December 10, 1999
Format: Paperback
This was my first book on beekeeping, and I whole-heartedly recommend it to any beginning beekeeper. I now have some 20+ beekeeping books but this is still my personal favorite. The information on bee diseases is a little old, but the clear concise explanations of all other aspects of small scale beekeeping and his warm writing style more than make up for this. Mr. Vivian obviously enjoys his bees and his affection for them only serves to foster the same in the reader. If you are thinking of beekeeping, or introducing the subject to a friend then this is the book to buy.
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48 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on March 16, 1999
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This is the best beginning beekeeping book I've read. John Vivian obviously not only likes bees but has made it a family affair. In such, it is a wonderful book, full of advice, little "tidbits" of experience plus information on all sorts of things not normally covered by beginning bookeeping books--how to build certain structures (i.e., a wax melter), how to extract honey by hand from the comb rather than use the standard extracting machine, etc. As a reader, you come away from the book realizing that beekeeping is an art and one done best when you have a genuine respect (affection?) for the little creatures who labor so hard to make honey.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 1999
Format: Paperback
I have read many beekeeping books, and out of all of them, this is the one I would reccommend. It has very detailed pictures and instructions and smoothy guided me through having a successful hive! The author obiously knows bees very well and has a lot of experience with them. He also shares the "do's and don'ts" of beekeeping.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on March 15, 2004
Format: Paperback
I have read most of the beekeeping books that Amazon carries and I will highly recommend this book to anyone looking to get into beekeeping. It goes into a lot of detail just where a new keeper needs it. If you are an experienced beekeeper and are looking for detailed information in things like queen rearing then you may want to to get a book written specifically on the subject because that area in particular is a volume or two into itself.
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25 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on June 18, 2001
Format: Paperback
A nice read, but having kept bees for about 4 months now I found it a little weak. Prior to Vivian's I have read a book by Dadant Publishing which gave a good foundation. Also talking with other beekeepers has also helped conciderably. At times I found the book a little on the quaint-side which for me wasn't of interest. Also found his section on Africanized bees (so-called Killer bees) weak. Presently I am in Brazil working with these bees. Certainly they require a different approach a little more protection and a larger smoker, etc. I've been working with them since I started and am still at it. Certainly they can be aggressive, but one learns to adapt and they are a good producer of honey. An excellent and well informed article on the Africanized Bee can be found in "ABC and XYZ of Bee Culture" by A. I Root. The article gives a balanced and much more positive picture of our little Africans. They tend to be more disease and mite resistant, and build up quickly, etc.. So don't worry to much they might even bring some positive aspects to their weaker European cousins.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2008
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Yeah, it's not perfect but it isn't totally dry reading and it is great as one of several first books. I just liked reading it and I didn't fall asleep while doing it like some of the other bee books I have. Also picked up info not in some of the other books. Heck, used ones are so cheap it is very worth buying.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 3, 2007
Format: Paperback
This was the book that turned me into a beekeeper, before I ever bought my first colony. The information on basic beekeeping is solid, and the descriptions are engaging.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 17, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This is an okay book for beginning beekeepers and gives some depth to the science and art of beekeeping. It is not an all-in-all inclusive book, by any means, but will get the beginner off to a good start.

Gary Feduccia
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on June 28, 2014
Format: Paperback
Yes, it's a bit on the quaint side, but it covers the basics thoroughly, including very detailed information on buying bees, setting up the hives, general bee handling, preventing swarms, when to add and remove boxes, harvest, inspections and what the results mean, management through all conditions, correcting issues as they arise, and how to get what YOU want from the process. The language is very friendly and accessible, while demonstrating a great fondness for and understanding of bees. He tells you not just what to do but how and why. The prices are out-dated of course, but it's a very informative and entertaining read.
It does make clear that beekeeping is work, and requires time, effort, and vigilance, but it all seems very doable if you make time to enjoy the bees and the processes. Even if you don't set up and keep bees, it's a greatly informative and entertaining book.
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on May 25, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I've never kept bees, nor even been stung. I've always wondered about the profession however, as I enjoy honey. This book had great reviews, and I bought it based off of that. I can honestly say, whether I ever keep bees or not, this was an enjoyable book and I was not disappointed.

The other reviews are right on, I would gladly recommend this book.
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