Better Beekeeping The Ultimate Guide to Keeping Stronger Colonies and Healthier, More Productive Bees

Better Beekeeping by Kim Flottum

The Ultimate Guide to Keeping Stronger Colonies and Healthier, More Productive Bees

Format: Paperback / softback, 176 Pages
ISBN: 9781592536528
Publisher: Quarry Books
Buy from an Online Retailer
$24.99 $19.99 / £16.99 £13.59

"Better Beekeeping is the most lucid call to action ever written about land-based beekeeping."—Tammy Horn, author of Bees in America and Beeconomy: What Women and Bees Can Teach Us about Local Trade and the Global Market

"There are numerous beekeeping books on the shelves that instruct on 'how to,' but Better Beekeeping is a book that explores 'why to,' which is essential for this ever-changing world of beekeeping today."—Jennifer Berry, research coordinator at the University of Georgia's Honey Bee Research Lab, commercial queen and nuc producer, and columnist for Bee Culture magazine

Backyard beekeepers everywhere agree: a successful colony is a thing of beauty.

Thousands of beekeepers have started beekeeping thanks to Kim Flottum's first book, The Backyard Beekeeper, and they have added to their repertoire of skills with The Backyard Beekeeper's Honey Handbook. Now, Better Beekeeping answers the question, "What do I do now that I'm a beekeeper?" This book takes serious beekeepers past the beginning stages and learning curves and offers solutions and rewards for keeping bees a better way. Better queens, better winters, better food, and better bees await any beekeeper willing to take on the challenge of having the right number of bees, of the right age, in the right place, in the right condition, at the right time.

Kim Flottum brings a background of more than a decade 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.

Format: Paperback / softback, 176 Pages
ISBN: 9781592536528
Illustrations: 150
Size: 8 in x 10 in x 0.5 in / 203.2 mm x 254 mm x 12.7 mm


Chapter 1: Growing Your Operation: How Big Do You Want to Get?

Trading Time for Money

Buy Preassembled Frames

Planning Ahead Saves Time and Money (But You Knew That)

Use It Up, Wear It Out

Business Goals and Bigger Pictures:

1. Where Are You Now?

2. Where Do You Want to Be?

3. How Will You Get There?

Buying Equipment

Standardization and Value

The Mercy Buy

Places to Put More Bees

Breakthrough: Lease Land for Beeyards

Expanding Your Honey House

New Ways to Expand

More Better Honey

Chapter 2: A New Look at Honey Production, or if Muhammad Won’t Come to the Mountain...

What It Once Was and Why It Changed

How Beekeeping Changed

More Change: Honey Money

A Price to Be Paid

Non-Agricultural Areas

Expanding Natural Bloom

Early Nectar Crops, Then Farm Crops

Migratory Beekeeping for Nectar Crops

Planning a Honey Crop

Types of Honey Crops

Planting Perennial Shrubs and Bushes

Long-Term, Permanent Plantings

Growing Your Own, with Help

Other Cost Considerations

How Much Land Is Required?

Working with Landowners with Lots of Land

Costs per Acre

More Land: Bigger, Better, More Complicated

Recommended Plantings for Honey Bees

Shrubs and Bushes

Cover Crops


Permanent Plantings

This Land Is My Land, This Land Is Your Land

Types of Contracts

Chapter 3: Royalty: Finding the Best Queen There Is

Royal Lineage

The Queens We Can Get

What Do You Want from Your Bees?

Know What You Want


Survivor Queens

What Kind of Beekeeper Are You?

What Kind of Beekeeper Are You, Really?

Buying Queens

Mated Production Queens

Uncapped Queen Cells

Getting Queen Cells

Acquiring Virgin Queens

Raising Your Own Queens

Getting Breeder Queens

Raising Production Queens

Random Queen Production

The Starter/Finisher: The King of Queen-Rearing Techniques

The Cloake Board Method

Background Check for Drone Colonies

Chapter 4: The Working Class or the Bees that Beekeepers Keep

Preventing Springtime Swarming

Before Spring Arrives

Early-Season Feeding

Opening and Repacking the Colony After Feeding

Reducing Congestion in the Brood Nest

Equalizing Colonies, Discarding Dinks


Making Spring Splits

Making Summer Splits

All About Honey Production

Measuring Growth

Preventing a Welfare Bee Population

Pests and Other Problems

Rallying Cry: Varroa Mite Resistance or Death

Signs of Hope

Trapping, Avoidance, and IPM


The Rest of the Lot

Controlling Nosema

Chapter 5: Wintering Your Bees, or Baby, it’s Cold Outside

Winter Rules

Unnatural Habits

From the Past

Take Care of the Bees

The Natural Question

The New Nosema

The Golden Rule

How Much Honey?

Too Cold Too Long


When It’s Really Cold

Planning Your Wrap


Common Sense and Practical Facts






Photographer Credits

About the Author