Beginning Beekeeping: My Favorite Beekeeping References.

We’ve been toying with the idea of bees for several years now.

I’ve been researching for 5.

We’ve been on our land for over two years.

I’ve been planting flowers for a steady stream of early spring to late autumn food for them and planning future gardens for their benefit.

And then, the most exciting thing happened last summer. I GOT STUNG.


Stay with me on this, people. A bee, landed on my leg, stung me, and I didn’t freak out. I didn’t even blink. I just watched it happen, let her leave, looked for a stinger, kinda flicked it with my finger nail and finished my chicken chores. It burned and I’m not going to say I wasn’t a little miffed that the bugger got me for just walking by to let the chickens out, but it was tolerable.

Then I went inside, treated it with some witch hazel AND NEVER EVEN GOT SWOLLEN.

But most importantly here, people- I DID NOT FREAK OUT.

I’ve (and MrGillis too, quite frankly) been hesitant on bee keeping only because the last time I got stung as a kid it was a very unpleasant experience.

I was scared that, possible allergy aside, if I got stung, I’d freak out, get stung a bunch and die.

But I didn’t! And I’m not allergic( I think). So we finally got bees this spring! I am so excited!

So in celebration, here are my favorite resources out of what I’ve been collecting and hoarding for the last 5 years in hopes of eventually becoming a beekeeper. Enjoy!

Beekeeping Like A Girl– this website is run by a woman named  Hilary Kearney. She runs an urban beekeeping business so her website is more attuned to that crowd, but I love her approach to natural beekeeping, and the success of other beeks.

Song of Increase: Listening to the Wisdom of Honeybees for Kinder Beekeeping and a Better World– okay, so straight up- do not read this book unless you are openminded. Just don’t, you’ll be wasting your time. It’s very hippy dippy, nature magick, fairy dust type stuff and has less to do with beekeeping and more to do with understanding bees, their community, their drive and nature. I wanted to cry in the second chapter, and by the middle of the book I was convinced that this book could be a life changing philosophy if I let it. The knowledge, the wisdom that she somehow has garnered from the bees, it speaks to the soul in its completeness. I cannot recommend this book enough, as long as you are open to the idea of freely communicating with nature and its inhabitants. If this has you interested, by all means search more about biodiversity in gardening.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Beekeeping (Idiot’s Guides) – so I bought this book based on it’s amazon reviews, for the practical knowledge it would give me. It is fact based, has lots of amazing knowledgeable insights to the practical side of beekeeping. They really try to make it lighthearted in its teaching – I have really enjoyed this book as a way to learn more about the beginning steps I needed to take to start my beekeeping adventure. Do I agree with everything they said about beekeeping necessities? Nope. But all in all it was a well written quick reading/reference guide. Just not a beekeeping bible.


The Practical Beekeeper Volume I Beginning Beekeeping Naturally – this is exactly what it says. A very practical guide to beekeeping. I’ve enjoyed the knowledge gained, but will admit that parts of it can be a bit dry. Most of it is very informative and written very personably, with a lot of little anecdotes and tips from obvious real deal experience. As applied to the last book, I do not hold this as the bee keeping bible- it is a useful addition to your library.

Woman in Beekeeping- this is actually a private Facebook group, so I can’t link you to it. I can’t even screenshot anything to put here because it’s so private. So, bonus for feeling a bit secret society-ish. But trust me, this group has a lot of really knowledgeable women who are just there, with years of wisdom at your disposal. Just remember the whole opinions are like elbows thing, ok?

This is not a complete list- I actually have a few other references that I do NOT recommend, but it is largely because of my preference for natural preventative measures rather then chemical bandaids.

I also have three books I have been gifted/bought that I have yet to read because life.

All I know, is that you never know everything about anything. So keep studying- believe in the power of knowledge.

Until next time, have a wicked good day.


Published by gillisgardensllc

This is the official website for Gillis Gardens, LLC. Gillis Gardens is a farm, run by myself and my wonderful husband. We believe in biodiversity, organic growing methods and doing things ourselves. I knit, crochet, make jewelry and sew. MrGillis builds, doing everything from our plumbing to our mechanical to our renovations. We are both active members of our little community. We both take care of the plants and animals. He weeds, I harvest. He spreads manure, I plant. We raise multiple breeds of chickens for eggs and meat. We have a herd of Alpacas that we shear every year for their beautiful fiber, which we then have milled into ultra luxurious yarn. We make our own maple syrup, preserves and pickles. We raise bees for honey and herbs for medicine. We also raise pigs for meat and fun. We are the parents of two young children, and consider that our most important job. Follow our adventures here and also on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

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