Kim Flottum brings a background of twelve years of plant science, honey bee research, and basic farming to his thirty years as the editor of Bee Culture magazine where his main occupation is finding the answers to the multitude of questions that beginning, intermediate, and even advanced and experienced beekeepers bring to the table. He teaches beginning and advanced beekeeping courses, travels extensively to educate and lecture, and contributes to a variety of other publications on the basics of honey bees and beekeeping biology, the business of bees and pollination, producing and using varietal honeys, and a host of other subjects. His books, magazine articles, interviews, and blogs are widely read for both their fundamental and advanced contribution to beekeeping knowledge. His magazine platform gives voice to his social commentary on topics ranging from genetically modified foods to pesticide abuse to both good and bad government regulations in the industry. He is beekeeping’s leading advocate for fundamental honey bee safety including insuring excellent honey bee health, providing extraordinary forage, and minimizing the use of agricultural pesticides.
After receiving a degree in horticulture from UW Madison, Kim Flottum worked four years in the USDA Honey Bee Research Lab, studying pollination ecology. After that, he spent two years raising acres of fruits and vegetables, where bees played a large role. He brings this experience, plus nearly 20 years of writing and editing articles for beekeepers in the monthly magazine Bee Culture. He is the publisher of books on honey bee pests and diseases, marketing, queen production, beekeeping history, beginning beekeeping, and the classic industry reference, The ABC & XYZ of Bee Culture.
This is a wonderful beekeeping book. I read two beekeeping books before this one, "Beekeeping for Dummies", and "Keeping Bees and Making Honey." Both were great beginner books, and I highly recommend the Dummies book (the second is great as well, but it was a British book that makes "translation" of equipment and terms difficult for a newbie).
In the beginning of this book, "The Backyard Beekeeper," the author promises to not just produce another bee book; she claims that this book will provide you with information that you hadn't read anywhere else. After reading both of the above books - esp the Dummies book - I thought there would be no way I wouldn't hear the same thing twice! But lo and behold, this book was INCREDIBLE and told me information I hadn't read in the other books! It is thorough, easy to read, and has a great tone. The information is invaluable, it has relevant pictures, and was overall a pleasure to read. There's just one thing...
Other reviewers had said that the print was too small. I read these reviews when I was just a chapter into the book. I thought to myself: sure, the print is small, but I'm young, have 20/20 vision, shouldn't be a problem. Wrong. About 2/3 of the way through the book, I had to take "breaks" from the print. As I went through the book, I could only read shorter amounts at a time. It's such a shame because the content is fabulous - and a lot of times I got distracted by the tiny print that I had to re-read many passages to absorb the information.
Great bee book. I would have given it 5 stars if the print was larger. Note to publishers: PLEASE make an edition with larger print. I borrowed this book from a friend, but would buy it if the print was larger!
Yes, this is a nice picture book, and there is a lot of good information throughout. However, as a reference book for a first year beekeeper, this guide has been generally frustrating. The main problems are the very poor organization of the book and a lack of specific information that an "Absolute Beginner" would want. For one example of many, when do I put on an entrance reducer? Good question, so I look up in the index "entrance reducer", page 30. Turn to page 30 (the only reference) and there is a picture of a new hive with an entrance reducer on the top. The text says, other equipment you will need . . . entrance reducer, which we will explain later in the book. Ahh, now I am trying to reread the whole book to answer my silly question. No I never found the answer, only one small paragraph on mouse guards which I have learned are basically the same thing.
Also, at page 144 of the 200 page book the information turns to beeswax, candles, and honey recipes. This is not information I need as a first year beekeeper! Four pages on Fall and Winter management and fifty on candles, soap, and recipes! Come on, you likely won't even have a harvest the first year.
In the end, I spent way more time answering my beekeeping questions from Google than from this book, but it looks nice on the coffee table. And why is there a recipe for a mixed green salad with shrimp on page 181???
This is a great companion book. Meaning it is a great Beekeeping book but not neccessarily the best beginner book. The best BEGINNER Beekeeping book i believe is "Beekeeping for dummies", excluding the medicate your bees for everything part. This book will teach you how to take care of bees without the medication! This i would say is a very good second year Beekeeper book! The second year being the most important and stressful!
If you can only buy one or two books on beekeeping, buy this one! I'm a beginning beekeeper, and this book is great, plus the author has a fine sense of humor which comes through in his writing style. You may not agree exactly with everything he recommends, but this book is FULL of good information. The structure seems a little haphazard to me (it's hard to find something I know I read and want to re-read), but it is an easy read and flows well.
I have always wanted to keep bees and bought this as the book that would provide all of the info a beginner would need. What I find is that there is a little bit of information on many different aspects of bee keeping, necessitating other books for sure. The book also covers many topics that are not for beginners - capturing swarms on call for example - and omits some info I would have liked - the many roles of workers and drones - are they all females??? - an explanation of each of the parts - brood boxes and supers. I could go with knowing less in depth about the many ways to melt beeswax.
I am not a writer and I need to give the author credit for putting this book together. That said, I read a good bit of non-fiction and how-to books and I find this one to be not well organized and best as a secondary resource and not for absolute beginners.
This is the third book I have read on Beekeeping. I checked the other two out at the library and they were outdated as far as technique and the recent (last ten years) changes in beekeeping practices. I did not even realize this until I read this book. Areas it covered that others did not were mites, CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder), and small hive beetles just to name a few. I am looking to start beekeeping and this book started at the basics and moved forward from there, it was a big help.