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Natural Beekeeping: Organic Approaches to Modern Apiculture Paperback – June 13, 2007

4.2 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ross Conrad learned his craft from the late Charles Mraz, world-renowned beekeeper and founder of Champlain Valley Apiaries in Vermont. Former president of the Vermont Beekeepers Association, Conrad has written numerous articles on organic farming, natural healing, and health issues. His market-garden business supplies local stores with fruits, vegetables, and honey.

Gary Paul Nabhan has been the founder of the Forgotten Pollinators campaign, the Migratory Pollinators Project, and the Renewing America's Food Traditions (RAFT) consortium. He is co-author or editor of The Forgotten Pollinators, Conserving Migratory Pollinators and Nectar Corridors in Western North America, and Coming Home to Eat.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing (June 13, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933392088
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933392080
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.6 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #86,856 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ross Conrad learned his craft from the late Charles Mraz, world-renowned beekeeper and founder of Champlain Valley Apiaries in Vermont. Former president of the Vermont Beekeepers Association, Conrad has written numerous articles on organic farming, natural healing, and health issues. His market-garden business supplies local stores with fruits, vegetables, and honey. Ross lives in Middlebury, Vermont.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book is one of the worst-organized books I've read on the topic of beekeeping. Conrad seems to be unable to put content on like topics together, so unless you sit down and read the entire book in one sitting, you will be hunting all over the place for information (with little help from the minimal index). For example: on page 50 he introduces the idea that an alternative brood nest arrangement is the use of a deep sandwiched by two shallows. Not until page 207 does he explain the benefits of this arrangement, and he never talks about other brood nest configurations, such as three mediums.

This is not unusual: information is scattered throughout the book with little or no regard to how the reader would approach it. In fact, Conrad seems to not be sure who his reader is: half the time he introduces a technical term without explanation, the other half he talks about it as if the reader were a beginning beekeeper.

The book is also filled with tortured language (he uses "mother," "queen mother," and "queen" interchangeably for "queen" in one section as if they meant the same thing) and digressions into his religion that would be less tiresome if there were any new information to be found among them. The information on hive management and honey harvest is very conventional, with extraction of honey from drawn comb and the continual re-use of comb from year to year (even though, by his own report, he ought to have learned his lesson from a lingering problem with AFB caused by this practise). If you were looking for information on more, well, natural forms of beekeeping like horizontal hives or top-bar hives, or beekeeping in conventional hives that comes closer to how feral hives like to operate, look elsewhere.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
All too often beekeepers are all to quick to treat a perceived problem with a drug or a chemical. Unfortunately this has been a problem in all agriculture for decades. Ross Conrad in his book, Natural Beekeeping, discusses the problems associated with this approach and suggests alternative ways to handle the problem without chemicals or drugs. Much of his writing is about his philosophy of beekeeping and that of organic beekeeping. Don't expect a recipe approach to beekeeping problems or exacting details. They are not there. On the other hand, he gives many very good ideas and approaches one can try or research. He realizes that there is more than one approach or method to keeping bees and that there are regional differences and needs in beekeeping. Therefore, there is no right or wrong way to keep bees as some other books would lead one to think. This book is excellent at giving beekeepers ideas on keeping healthy hives naturally developing a program that will work in one's climate and style of beekeeping management. Mr. Conrad is on target and echoes many of the same principles of chemical free beekeeping I have tried to teach those that I mentor. It was reassuring to hear it from another source. Additionally he gave me many new things to consider.
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Excellent coverage on methods for those that want to find a way to back away from chemicals in our hives.

I own a lot of beekeeping books that are read & re-read through winter months & when need some guidance.

Like them all.

But if I could have only two, it would be Natural Beekeeping & the Backyard Beekeeper.

Very refreshing approach to what I like to call Bee Stewardship.
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Format: Paperback
This was a good purchase but thought it a little too much technical information for a true beginner. I purchased this book in addition to Backyard Beekeeper which I loved. the two books are great hand in hand. I would not buy this book strictly by itself for the beginner. Read Backyard Beekeeper first then read this book.
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Format: Paperback
Beekeepers face new challenges in keeping bees alive and healthy but until now there's been no holistic orientation on beekeeping. NATURAL BEEKEEPING: ORGANIC APPROACHES TO MODERN APICULTURE offers up an alternative to chemical practices and delivers a program of natural hive management using nontoxic methods to control mites, eliminate common bee diseases, and produce naturally resistant, healthier hives. Both novices and neo-pros receive tips on everything from genetics and breeding to pests and harvesting, with chapters coming from one who learned from world-renowned beekeeper Charles Mraz. Any collection strong in organic gardening, harvesting or beekeeping needs NATURAL BEEKEEPING.

Diane C. Donovan
California Bookwatch
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Format: Paperback
With all the problems facing honeybees these days there is a greatly renewed interest in reducing the stress on bees and in "natural" beekeeping. This book provides excellent information without being environmentally overboard.

The author keeps bees in standard Langstroth hives and the methods and procedures he describes would be familiar to any beekeeper. He has basically adjusted standard beekeeping practices to allow the bees to operate in a less stressful environment and without the use of chemical treatments. He includes discussion of "organic" hive products and what is required for that designation.

The author acknowledges that he doesn't have all the answers which is refreshing in a way. He isn't demanding wholesale changes in equipment or general practices but more of a tweaking of hive management in the interest of healthier bees.
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