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Background Reading & Links

Johan Thür
David Heaf Papers

An international charity specialising in work to alleviate poverty through beekeeping. Also offers courses in natural beekeeping in the UK

Bees have successfully lived in tree hollows for millions of years, benefitting from their deep, warm cavities. Matthew Somerville's log hives replicate this habitat and allow them to thrive. These hives are a new development in the UK and help the conservation of our most important pollinators.

In this free resource, a Friend and former student of the Natural Beekeeping Trust, shares her voyage of discovery into the fascinating world of honeybees and provides advice to those who wish to explore a natural, chemical-free way of keeping bees as a hobby.

Jonathan Powell's blog - Always taking the bee's view on things


Biodynamic beekeeping research (mainly in German)

Gaia Bees promotes alternative and bee-centered bee hive designs and offers installation and care for “landscape apiaries”.

Protecting and conserving all bee species

Protecting open spaces, common land, village greens and public paths in England & Wales

Information about honeybees and their role in Nature, listening to bees, Sacred Apiculture and beekeeping classes.  Written by Jacqueline Freeman who featured in the film Queen of the Sun: What are the Bees Telling Us? and who wrote a piece entitled Drones, the Holiest of Bees, in the companion book to the film.  Her latest book is The Song of Increase: Returning to Our Sacred Partnership with Honeybees.

Dedicated to beekeeping using the hive developed by Abbé Émile Warré

A wonderful outfit dedicated to bee conservation and resear​ch in the Cape 

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Related sites


Translated by David Heaf from Bienenzucht. Naturgerecht einfach und erfolgsicher by Johann Thür, Imker (Wien, Gerasdorf, Kapellerfeld, 2nd ed., 1946). Ch. 1 & 2.

A searchable database of scientific papers, mostly with abstracts, relating to near-natural beekeeping, compiled by David Heaf, December 2016

A report produced by the Bee Coalition (2015)

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Recommended reading

By Jonathan Powell

Written by Trustee Jonathan Powell, this e-book contains everything you need to know to make a tree hive. You can download a copy here.

The Buzz about Bees

By Jürgen Tautz

If you only buy one book on honeybee biology, make it this one.  Fantastic pictures.

The Bee Friendly Beekeeper

By David Heaf

The Bee-Friendly Beekeeper examines the issues surrounding modern beekeeping practices in order to identify an approach to keeping bees that is not only better for the bees themselves, but also for the future of beekeeping.

Honeybee Democracy

By Tom Seeley

Tom Seeley's very readable story of how swarms find new homes.

‘Honeybee Ecology’ and ‘The Wisdom of the Hive’

By Tom Seeley

Two great books by Tom Seeley.  The latter is a detailed account of how colonies process information to ensure they do the right things at the right time.

'The Biology of the Honeybee' and 'Bee Time'

By Mark Winston

Another great bee biologist. Bee Time is more philosophical.

Bees and Honey, from Flower to Jar

By Michael Weiler

A very readable introduction to beekeeping.

The Bee Garden : How to Create or Adapt a Garden To Attract and Nurture Bees

By Maureen Little

Published by Spring Hill, an imprint of How To Books Ltd.

Reading list compiled by Tim Malfroy

A list of recommended Natural Beekeeping books

Kefyn M. Catley

Written a few years ago, but still relevant.

By Reese Halter

 Subtitled 'the Economics of Pollination'.

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