"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.
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?
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
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
This Land Is My Land, This Land Is Your Land
Types of Contracts
Chapter 3: Royalty: Finding the Best Queen There Is
The Queens We Can Get
What Do You Want from Your Bees?
Know What You Want
What Kind of Beekeeper Are You?
What Kind of Beekeeper Are You, Really?
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
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
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
Chapter 5: Wintering Your Bees, or Baby, it’s Cold Outside
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
About the Author