The Blog of Toledo Lucas County Public Library

Beekeeping for Beginners

Posted over 2 years ago by April S

Did you know bees pollinate a wide-variety of plants and flowers?

Without bees to pollinate crops we wouldn't have apples, mangos, kiwi, peaches, plums, strawberries, onions, tomatoes, cherries, blueberries, grapes, melons, broccoli, avocados, almonds, lemons, limes, carrots and so much more. And of course, bees also produce delicious honey.

In recent years, bee populations have declined. But did you know there are things we can all do to help support a healthy bee population? What's that you ask? Well, you could plant a bee-friendly garden, support local organic gardeners, and if you have the land (and resources) you could even try your hand at beekeeping.

This is part of a series of blog posts about bees. We hope you find them informative.

Learn More About Bees and Beekeeping


Watch these videos to learn how to set up a beehive and learn about the basics of beekeeping:

How to Set Up a Beehive - This Old House

Introduction to Beekeeping - Bee the Change

Books on Beekeeping

Expand your knowledge on beekeeping with these great Library resources. Find out how to start and maintain your very own healthy bee colony, harvest honey and help the bee conservation effort.

Beginning Beekeeping : everything you need to make your hive thrive / Tanya Phillips

Beginning Beekeeping: Everything You Need to Make Your Hive Thrive! by Tanya Phillips

Provides the basics for getting started with beekeeping, teaching readers how to foster and maintain healthy, vibrant hive colonies, as well as how to incorporate the various techniques and practices for keeping bees using conventional, as well as more natural, practices.

The Backyard Beekeeper: An Absolute Beginner's Guide to Keeping Bees in Your Yard and Garden by Kim Flottum

The Backyard Beekeeper: An Absolute Beginner's Guide to Keeping Bees in Your Yard and Garden by Kim Flottum

This resource makes the time-honored and complex tradition of beekeeping an enjoyable and accessible backyard pastime that will appeal to urban and rural beekeepers of all skill levels. More than a guide to beekeeping, this handbook features expert advice for: Setting up and caring for your own colonies; the most practical and nontoxic ways to care for your bees; harvesting the products of a beehive and collecting and using honey. With this complete resource and the expert advice of Bee Culture editor Kim Flottum, your bees will be healthy, happy, and more productive.

The Beginner's Guide to Beekeeping : Everything You Need to Know by Samantha and Daniel Johnson

The Beginner's Guide to Beekeeping: Everything You Need to Know by Daniel and Samantha Johnson

Raising bees is becoming increasingly popular in backyards and on farms large and small - and it's easy to see why. These resourceful insects produce organic honey and beeswax, all while constantly providing natural aid to the health of your yard and garden. Beginning with the basics, seasoned beekeepers answer all of a prospective beekeeper's questions on how to set up, care for, and harvest their very own bee colonies. With the help of this comprehensive DIY guide, raising bees can be an enjoyable and accessible backyard pastime for gardeners, crafters, and cooks everywhere.

Save the Bees with Natural Backyard Hives : The Easy and Treatment-Free Way to Attract and Keep Healthy Bees by Rob and Chelsea McFarland

Save the Bees with Natural Backyard Hives: The Easy and Treatment-Free Way to Attract and Keep Healthy Bees by Rob and Chelsea McFarland

The founders of a Los Angeles-based nonprofit dedicated to protecting honeybees reveals how a relaxed beekeeping hobby can prepare inexpensive equipment, attract wild bees and keep a honey-producing hive without chemicals to help protect local bee populations.

Advanced top bar beekeeping : next steps for the thinking beekeeper / Christy Hemenway

Advanced Top Bar Beekeeping : Next Steps for the Thinking Beekeeper by Christy Hemenway

Beekeeping outside the box – getting beyond the basics with top bar hives. Bee populations are plummeting worldwide. Colony Collapse Disorder poses a serious threat to many plants which rely on bees for pollination, including a significant proportion of our food crops. Top bar hives are based on the concept of understanding and working with bees' natural systems, enabling top bar beekeepers to produce honey and natural wax while helping bees thrive now and in the years ahead.

Homegrown Honey Bees : An Absolute Beginner's Guide to Beekeeping Your First Year, from Hiving to Honey Harvest by Alethea Morrison

Homegrown Honey Bees: An Absolute Beginner's Guide to Beekeeping Your First Year, from Hiving to Honey Harvest by Alethea Morrison

Discover the joys of harvesting honey from your own backyard. This introduction to beekeeping covers everything from acquiring your first bees to sampling delicious honey. Morrison outlines what you'll need to know to make it through the first year. With discussions of allergies, colony hierarchy, bee behavior, and more, this approachably informative guide bursts with enthusiastic encouragement. Keep your own bees, and enjoy the sweet buzz.

Storey's Guide To Keeping Honey Bees by Malcolm T. Sanford, Richard E. Bonney

Storey's Guide to Keeping Honey Bees by Malcolm T. Sanford and Richard E. Bonney

This trusted handbook is a must-have for novice and seasoned beekeepers alike. This go-to reference presents comprehensive yet accessible information on everything from planning hives and installing a colony to preventing disease and managing productive hives that will bear bountiful honey harvests year after year.

First Lessons In Beekeeping by Camille Pierre Dadant

First Lessons in Beekeeping by Camille P. Dadant

In light of the dwindling honey bee population, this century-old guide is more relevant than ever. Written by the scion of a celebrated family of beekeepers that continues to operate today, this richly illustrated resource is the perfect companion for beginning beekeepers as well as those with a casual interest in bees. Reader-friendly information ranges from a background on bee anatomy and the social structure of bee communities to different types of hives and how they function, honey production, wintertime beekeeping, and other practical matters.

Saving the Life Keepers: The New Science of Sustainable Beekeeping - Documentary

Saving the Life Keepers: The New Science of Sustainable Beekeeping

Bees are under-appreciated workers who pollinate 80% of our flowering crops which constitute 1/3 of everything we eat, so if they disappear, they could take most of our insect pollinated plants with them, potentially reducing humankind to little more than a water diet. This documentary reveals how local citizens, farmers, small and large businesses, and beekeepers can help protect and preserve bee populations. Documentary - 52 minutes.

Beekeeping for dummies by Howland Blackiston

Beekeeping for Dummies by Howland Blackiston

Everything you need to 'bee' a successful backyard beekeeper. This hands-on guide provides all the tools, tips, tricks, and techniques needed to become a real backyard beekeeper. You'll learn to identify the queen from her workers and drones, properly open and close the hive, distinguish one type of honey from another, and preserve your colony if disaster should strike.

Online Resources

Ohio State Beekeepers Association

Bee Culture - The Magazine of American Beekeeping

Conservation Work for Honeybees - USDA

Bee Facts - NRDC

Featured Image Credit: Image by Lolame from Pixabay.