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

4.4 out of 5 stars 105 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: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #820,687 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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
This is one of my favorite bee books. I think it is probably the most complete guide out there that does focus on the environmental and natural approaches to keeping bees. It is very dense reading and not for the faint of heart. It should certainly be in everyone's library who is keeping bees recreationally. It might not be the best first book because it is A LOT of material and may be overwhelming. That said if you need to know something this is kind of like having the internet at your fingertips without having to log on.

The authors approach is refreshing and well thought out. A good read for the enthusiast like me who becomes obsessed and wants to learn every little thing, while being focused on the health and welfare of the honeybee. I do not keep bees only to get honey, but also to improve the ecosystem around me. Call me a tree-hugger, but I like to have abundant food to eat much of which requires pollination, and I am a tree-hugger. This book is more than a guide about how to maximize production at any cost.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book had a lot of good information. But it's not an all-information source. Don't make it your only book. The book fails to describe in much detail the equipment or tools you will need. The author rambles on and on about the ethics of organic farming and bee-keeping and sarcastically in a round about way discusses why you should make the choices he has made, but that it's ultimately your choice, but, ya know, make the organic choice.

I think most of us wouldn't be reading the book if we hadn't drawn many of those conclusions ourselves. Why not to use miticides, not to use HFCS, why to be gentle and slow with the bees and on and on. These are all very good topics and deserve a mention. They take up much more of the book than is needed and in the process the details you really need are lost. I was looking for MORE information on what I could feed (aside from the commercially available products) and how I could control pests organically. I distinctly remember very little information on screened bottom boards (again, lacking the details on equipment) and that being something I was desperate for information for.

Aside from those set backs, it's a good book. You will take away some important information and that makes it worth reading. If you're in the fence about organic bee-keeping then read this book and others like it!
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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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