Natural Beekeeping: Organic Approaches to Modern Apiculture
Natural Beekeeping: Organic Approaches to Modern Apiculture

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Product Description

"The various chemicals used in beekeeping have, for the past decades, held Varroa Destructor, a mite, and other major pests at bay, but chemical-resistance is building and evolution threatens to overtake the best that laboratory chemists have to offer. In fact, there is evidence that chemical treatments are making the problem worse. Natural Beekeeping flips the script on traditional approaches by proposing a program of selective breeding and natural hive management. Conrad brings together the best organic and natural approaches to keeping honeybees healthy and productive here in one book. Readers will learn about nontoxic methods of controlling mites, eliminating American foulbrood disease (without the use of antibiotics), breeding strategies, and many other tips and techniques for maintaining healthy hives. Conrad's reservoir of knowledge comes from years of experience and a far-flung community of fellow beekeepers who are all interested in ecologically sustainable apiculture. Specific concepts and detailed management techniques are covered in a matter-of-fact, easy to implement way. Natural Beekeeping describes opportunities for the seasoned professional to modify existing operations to improve the quality of hive products, increase profits, and eliminate the use of chemical treatments. Beginners will need no other book to guide them. Whether you are an experienced apiculturist looking for ideas to develop an Integrated Pest Management approach or someone who wants to sell honey at a premium price, this is the book you've been waiting for."

Customer Reviews:

  • A helpful guide forall beekeepers
    Written for either an established beekeeper or novice, this book was recommend to my husband and I by our beekeeper's association. If you want to aid your bees without harmful toxins, this guide will take you step-by-step within the various areas of beekeeping for a more earth and bee-friendly way of handling each situation....more info
  • Excellent discussion of beekeeping alternatives
    With all the problems facing honeybees these days there is a greatly renewed interest in reducing the stress on bees and in "natural" beekeeping. This book provides excellent information without being environmentally overboard.

    The author keeps bees in standard Langstroth hives and the methods and procedures he describes would be familiar to any beekeeper. He has basically adjusted standard beekeeping practices to allow the bees to operate in a less stressful environment and without the use of chemical treatments. He includes discussion of "organic" hive products and what is required for that designation.

    The author acknowledges that he doesn't have all the answers which is refreshing in a way. He isn't demanding wholesale changes in equipment or general practices but more of a tweaking of hive management in the interest of healthier bees.
    ...more info
  • Disorganized and simplistic
    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. There's a brief section on small-cell, but nothing at all about natural cell. Conrad doesn't seem to have ever even observed a feral hive in preparation for this book.

    And if you are looking for a reference on the latest techniques in disease management for naturally managed hives, this is the wrong book. His summaries of the treatments and their benefits and drawbacks is cursory at best, and the information contained there could be found for free on the internet in much greater detail (and more clearly written). In addition, his citations can include such sleepers as a verbal report from somebody in his beekeeping club.

    Even the information on operating a certified-organic apiary is pretty useless: the federal standards are explained more clearly on the USDA web site than Conrad seems to be able to do it. He can't seem to decide whether he's writing a long commentary or a manual of practice.

    This book failed to provide me with any useful information on organic treatments for bee pests and diseases. Its focus on strictly conventional hive management was disappointing. The disorganized arrangement of information means that even if I wanted to use it as a reference I would spend half my time hunting for topics. A real disappointment....more info
  • A bit pricey for a beekeeping book but very good.
    I've bought some good beekeeping books for less than $[...]. My previous favorite book, the current edition of Dadant's The Hive and the Honey Bee, cost me $36 and it's around 1300 pages long. At $[...] (less at and far fewer than 1300 pages Conrad's book is bit pricey.

    There is a lot of white space on the pages that seem to be intended to make it a larger than necessary book but white space is also good for making notes.

    What I like best is the survey of organic methods covered. The author doesn't have an agenda as far as what you must do when something happens. He gives you options so that you can pick what best suits you. He's not a dictator like some folks I've met in the beekeeping world.

    The author did a good job. I like the book. I don't like the price. This has recently become my favorite book.

    The more experience in beekeeping that I get the more I appreciate the details included in this book. It's practical and very helpful. This is my beekeeping bible!!!

    Yeah, it's pricey but it's the best beekeeping book I've found. I strongly suggest you buy it....more info
  • Well written and lots to think about
    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....more info
  • "NEW" Natural Means to Beekeeping
    Excellent coverage on methods for those that want to find a way to back away from chemicals in our hives.

    I own a lot of beekeeping books that are read & re-read through winter months & when need some guidance.

    Like them all.

    But if I could have only two, it would be Natural Beekeeping & the Backyard Beekeeper.

    Very refreshing approach to what I like to call Bee Stewardship....more info
  • A good read with a lot of good tips
    I thought this book was very well written with a lot of good information. I agree with on reviewer that his information is not well indexed. It would be a better reference if it had a better index to find topics. This book reads more like someone giving a presentation or sitting down and talking to you while covering various topics.

    I found the book very enjoyable, since I just started beekeeping with more natural means in mind....more info
  • Organic beekeeping
    I have really enjoyed this book. The author isn't just writing about beekeeping, but applies the philosophy of beekeeping to life in general. Very interesting approach. ...more info
  • very nice book
    I am a new beekeeper but I found this book very informative yet easy to understand. Definately something to keep for the reference shelf as I am sure I will review it again and again....more info
  • Great natural beekeeping book, easy to follow, easy to understand
    I'm new to beekeeping but, I found Conrad's text extremely informative and very easy to follow. He goes into great detail concerning all aspects of keeping bees. I'd like to add that during conversations with other long time beekeepers in our area (not big commercial beekeepers) I learned that they follow an approach more like Conrad's. If you don't have any experience or a mentor, I think one needs to purchase several books, research, find a happy medium, and start there. We all will have to adjust our practices over the years as we gain experience. Bottom line, For me as a beginner, this was a must read. Good luck!...more info
  • Natural Beekeeping: Organic Approaches to Modern Apiculture
    This is an excellent resource and guide and fun read. A great book for those who want more out of beekeeping than honey, as there is so much more. This book talks of having a relationship with your bees and being a very comfortable beekeeper. ...more info
  • Natural bee keeping
    I read this after reading "Beekeeping for Dummies". I am an organic gardener, so organic bee keeping is the only way to go! If you are not convinced that organic is the way to go, this book will convince you! It is well written, concise, but at times dwells too long on a subject that could be covered quicker. Talks alot about CCD and the link to pesticides. It is a great reference book for years to come.
    ...more info
  • Purchase with other bee books for a true beginner.
    This was a good purchase but thought it a little too much technical information for a true beginner. I purchased this book in addition to Backyard Beekeeper which I loved. the two books are great hand in hand. I would not buy this book strictly by itself for the beginner. Read Backyard Beekeeper first then read this book....more info
  • Natural Beekeeping
    There is nothing new in this book. The author needs to work for someone else, the whole book is basicaly about going green! I found no new usefull information in this book. All he does is rehash what others have already written. I already know that this planet is headed for destruction! This book is a poor resource for beekeepers looking for information! I cannot and will not give this book a good rating! I regret buying it! I was looking for something new, a new approach, but nothing that I already didn't know!...more info
  • Good Alternative Approach
    This book presents some great alternatives for natural beekeeping. However, the author wanders and cannot focus on any single topic. I really wanted to glean some new ideas about beekeeping from this, and I did find the information that I wanted, but I finally gave up reading the book before I finished because the author's style just wore me out....more info
  • Any collection strong in organic gardening, harvesting or beekeeping needs NATURAL BEEKEEPING.
    Beekeepers face new challenges in keeping bees alive and healthy but until now there's been no holistic orientation on beekeeping. NATURAL BEEKEEPING: ORGANIC APPROACHES TO MODERN APICULTURE offers up an alternative to chemical practices and delivers a program of natural hive management using nontoxic methods to control mites, eliminate common bee diseases, and produce naturally resistant, healthier hives. Both novices and neo-pros receive tips on everything from genetics and breeding to pests and harvesting, with chapters coming from one who learned from world-renowned beekeeper Charles Mraz. Any collection strong in organic gardening, harvesting or beekeeping needs NATURAL BEEKEEPING.

    Diane C. Donovan
    California Bookwatch...more info
  • Should be a booklet
    I ordered this because of the rave reviews. I went to a County Ag class and one at UC Davis. The info hand outs there are 100% better. This book is very unorganized with way to much filler. It is also east coast information, not much for western bee "havers" and keepers. You can bring the important information down to 30 pages. Bottom line go take a class, use the handouts and print organic info off the web. Your time and money would be better spent doing that. I donated my copy to the library....more info


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