Reading and links to trusted sources

BBKA Guide to Beekeeping

This is the only book for beginners endorsed by the BBKA. It’s enjoyable and easy to read, has clear photography and illustrations and is the definitive text for the basic assessment.

The BBKA Guide to Beekeeping introduces the reader to the craft and includes sections on the workings of the colony, the structure of a hive, how to acquire bees and keep them healthy and each month of the beekeeping year.

Each chapter is accompanied by anecdotes, answers to frequently asked questions and fascinating facts about bees and honey. The second edition includes new step-by-step sequences illustrating procedures such as containing a swarm, identifying the queen, using a smoker and cleaning a hive as well disease management and many other key subjects. Authors: Ivor Davis NDB and Roger Cullum-Kenyon.

Guide to Bees and Honey

Former President of the British Beekeepers’ Association Ted Hooper MBE was the influential author of Guide to Bees and Honey which has sold more than 200,000 copies and has been translated into more than 12 languages since publication in 1976.

The fourth edition, updated by one of his pupils, includes techniques to control Varroa, a problem unknown to Hooper before his retirement in 1984. This is still the best-selling beekeeping book of all time and one of the most highly recommended books for new beekeepers. Author: Ted Hooper MBE

BBKA Special Editions

The BBKA has a range of special editions covering a whole range of subjects including colony management, feeding honey bees, natural varroa-resistant honey bees, general husbandry, queen rearing and practical mead making.

The special issue on Advanced Husbandry for example offers guidance to all beekeepers (not just those wishing to take the Advanced Husbandry Assessment) and includes articles written by experienced beekeepers. Each article presents personal experiences of beekeeping topics.

There is also a range of lamented sheets which summarise various manipulations for example, Bailey Comb Change, Pagden artificial swarm and shook swarm. The special editions and lamented sheets are all available from the BBKA website.

The Collins Beekeeping Bible

A bit of a coffee table book this one. It covers all the essentials from caring for bees, hive management and has clear instructions and step-by-step guides. It also contains a wealth of information on the culinary, medicinal, cosmetic and domestic uses of honey, beeswax and pollen. There’s also information on candle-making, making home-made furniture polish and beeswax hand cream plus honey recipes for cakes and breads, sauces and marinades, drinks and even flavoured spirits.

It also covers lots of background subjects like folklore, history of beekeeping, bees in literature and bee trivia. Illustrated with photography, illustrations and etchings, this is an invaluable handbook for a beekeeper and a good read for everyone else!

Haynes Bee Manual

The Haynes Bee Manual is a clear and concise introduction into the fascinating world of the honey bee. For anyone wishing to start beekeeping, this step-by-step guide full of colour photographs and and practical advice is a very good starting point. There is something reassuring about the scale and simplicity of this book which helps to make the idea of staring in beekeeping a bit less daunting.

Author: Claire Waring

For your delectation, an absolutely beautiful video showing a mating flight:

Links to trusted sources
Beekeeping through the eyes of biologist Randy Oliver: “this site is a record of my learning process as I try to understand aspects of colony health and productivity, and the reasons why various management techniques work (or don’t)”

National Bee Unit – BeeBase
BeeBase is the Animal and Plant Health Agency’s National Bee Unit website which helps keep honey bee colonies healthy and productive by providing information on pests and diseases, treatment options, beekeeping related legislation for England and Wales. I Beebase.

BBKA – British Beekeepers Association
offers a wide variety of benefits for members. There’s the Spring Convention, their excellent monthly magazine and extensive education programme. The website contains beekeeping information including links to videos, beekeeping news and events and even a shop! BBKA

Dave Cushman’s Website
Decades of beekeeping experience laid out over several thousand pages. A repository of apicultural information treasured in the beekeeping world. Dave Cashman.


SICAMM-Societas Internationalis pro Conservatione Apis melliferae melliferae
International Society for the Conservation of the Dark European Honeybee. SICAMM.


CABK – Central Association of Beekeepers
For those with an interest in the scientific side of beekeeping. By organising lectures and producing publications, the association enables beekeepers, bee scientists and others interested in bees to keep in touch with the latest research and ideas about bees and related topics. Acting as a bridge between the beekeeper and the scientist.

Scottish Beekeepers' Association Logo

SBA – Scottish Beekeepers’ Association
The member organisation that represents Scottish Beekeepers at National and International Level.


WBKA – Welsh Beekeepers Associations
Cymdeithas Gwenynwyr Cymru
The member organisation that represents Welsh Beekeepers at National and International Level.

Federation of Irish Beekeeping Associations Logo

FIBKA – The Federation of Irish Beekeeping Associations
Comhnasc Cumann Beachairí na hÉireann
This is the umbrella organisation for the County Beekeeping Associations in the Republic of Ireland, and organises the annual Gormanston Summer School


UBKA – The Ulster Beekeepers’ Association
UBKA is the organisation to which the Beekeeping Associations in Northern Ireland are affiliated

Galtee Bee Breeding Group Logo

NIHBS – Native Irish Honey Bee Society
To promote the conservation, study, improvement and re-introduction of Apis mellifera mellifera (Native Irish Honey Bee), throughout the island of Ireland.


SNHBS – Scottish Native Honey Bee Society
Promoting the conservation, maintenance, breeding and study of the Scottish Native Honey Bee.

Bees for Development Logo

Bees for Development
The philosophy of Bees for Development is to assist people living in poor and remote areas of the world, and to raise awareness about the value of beekeeping for poverty alleviation.

Bees Abroad Logo

Bees Abroad
Bees Abroad is a UK charity dedicated to the alleviation of poverty in developing countries through the advancement of the craft of beekeeping. Bees Abroad runs, funds and monitors beekeeping projects that it agrees to support

Honey Bee Watch logo

Honey Bee Watch
Honey Bee Watch is a global citizen-science study to better understand the traits of survivorship among untreated and free-living colonies. Starting with a UK-based pilot focused on Apis mellifera, it’ll eventually expand into new regions and include all 10+ Apis species. Its aim is to increase scientific knowledge about these species, potentially leading to more sustainable land management and beekeeping practices as well as educational programs and conservation initiatives to engage and inspire the wider public to act locally to protect threatened or endangered populations.


Type any beekeeping subject into the search engine of Youtube and you’re more than likely to find a selection of videos. There’s some really good stuff on Youtube but there’s quite a lot of rubbish too! New beekeepers should be cautious about treating YouTube as a definitive source of information.

Many of the videos are from overseas where climatic conditions and practices are often different to ours. If you find a good video, please send details or a link to and I’ll add a it to this page.

Honey bee under the microscope

Get up close and personal with our favourite Hymenoptera in this beautiful five minute video.

Three minutes on varroa

Watch this fascinating three minute video by Samuel Ramsey, doctoral candidate in entomology. He summarises his dissertation on Varroa which may offer some hope in the eradication of the biggest threat to our honey bees. If you’re interested, he also has some longer videos on Youtube.

BBKA Asian hornet conference 2021

This is an epic (nearly six hours) but covers absolutely everything there is to know about the Asian hornet. It’s definitely worth a watch but for most people, it would have to be in bite-sized chunks!

Beekeeping Events

The Beekeeping Events website compiles details of current and forthcoming local and national beekeeping events. There are details of both ‘in person’ events and webinars.

The Bee Improvement and Bee Breeder Association (BIBBA) has an excellent programme of talks and events, mostly free, for beekeepers at all levels. Speakers include their President Roger Patterson and subjects range from bee improvement and queen rearing to the role of the bee inspector and beekeeping at Buckfast Abbey. BIBBA

The National Honey Show

The Honey Show has some excellent lectures in their archive on many diverse subjects including managing varroa, queen rearing, practical beekeeping and honey bee biology: National Honey Show videos

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