A Food & Travel Blog

Book Review – Backyard Bees – A Guide for the Beginner Beekeeper

25/07/2014 | By

I’m not going to beat about the bush with this review of “Backyard Bees – A Guide for the Beginner Beekeeper” by Doug Purdie (Murdoch Books, 2014) – I absolutely love this gorgeous, comprehensive and timely book about backyard beekeeping. Even those who have no experience of or interest in food production will surely have some inkling of the crisis which is facing the world bee population and what that means for future global agriculture. Just because we haven’t seen the worst of it here in Australia yet, doesn’t mean that it’s not going to come to us so, in the meantime, the more people who come to love, understand and care for bees the better. Beekeeping doesn’t have to be done on any large scale – almost anyone can have hives. They don’t take up a lot of time or space and reward you handsomely with liquid gold on a regular basis. Not to mention the warm glow of knowing you are doing your bit to help the planet.

“Backyard Bees” covers every aspect of learning why you might want to become a beekeeper (or apiarist, as the professionals are called), all about these very special little bugs, how to keep them happy and healthy, when and how to harvest your share of their labour and what to do with it once you’ve gleaned it (lovely honey and wax recipes!).  You’ll find comprehensive advice on choosing a hive, what equipment you will need, case studies and introductions to beekeepers from all walks of life.

I’ve been speaking to honey producers about getting some hives on our property for a few months now, but this book has really spurred me on and I hope to have some this spring. Doug Purdie went from no bees at all to managing 70 urban beehives in five years. Of course, you probably won’t want to do that dear reader. But then again …?

“Backyard Bees” is now available at good book shops and retails for $35.

A complimentary review copy of “Backyard Bees – A Guide for the Beginner Beekeeper” was supplied to Lambs’ Ears and Honey by Murdoch Books.

Lambs’ Ears is taking a break. The last seven months have been extraordinarily stressful, especially the last 8 weeks or so. My husband and I are going have a well-deserved rest and lie around in Vietnam for the next week or so, so blog posts may be a little sporadic for the next two weeks. Of course, I doubt that I will be able to stay away from social media for any length of time, so if you are curious about what I’m getting up to you can always find me on Facebook, Twitter and sharing lots of lovely pictures on Instagram.

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  1. InTolerant Chef

    We have a great group in Canberra that will supply hives to your backyard and look after them,giving you a share of the honey. I so wish we could have them, but I’m allergic and is just not worth the risk!
    Have a wonderful, relaxing time in Vietnam sweetie,I hope you have fun xox

  2. Tania @My Kitchen stories

    What an interesting book. I look forward to your bee tales and honey inspired recipes. My grandfather used to keep bees and as a child they terrified us. God only knows how important bees are , so i hope this will encourage more to begin there own aviary. Have agreat holiday and I look forward to your pics on instagram. Hey don’t think im following ou there …. i will have wont I?

  3. Kyrstie @ A Fresh Legacy

    Have a great break Amanda. This book looks like it is exactly what I need. I am keen to see if bee keeping is something we could try.

  4. Anna @ shenANNAgans

    I am so keen to host a hive at my place too. Will have to grab a copy of the book if ya thinks its a good read. Thanks Amanda.
    Sounds like you really needed a good break, glad you are looking after you. Happy Gin O’Clock… its after midday, good to go right?! Enjoy!

  5. Krista

    I’m so delighted you shared this because my hubs and I will be getting native Australian bees shortly, followed by honey bees next year. 🙂 I’m looking for the very best information for us, so this book will be brilliant. 🙂

  6. celia

    Have a lovely break, Amanda! I don’t think I can do backyard bees – they scare me too much, and our backyard is already full of them! 🙂

  7. Tom

    Hi Maureen

    The great thing about Oz bees is that they DON’T STING.

    Free honey and NO STING. And we get more resilience in the biosphere.