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Publisher: New Society Publishers
Pub. Date: 2013-01-01
ISBN: 9780865717206
Format: Paperback - 208 pages
Size: 7.5" x 9" (w x h)
BISAC: GARDENING / Techniques

The Thinking Beekeeper

A Guide to Natural Beekeeping in Top Bar Hives

What's the buzz about the growing popularity of backyard beekeeping? Providing habitat for bees, pollinating your garden and producing honey for your family are some of the compelling reasons for taking up this exciting hobby. But conventional beekeeping requires a significant investment and has a steep learning curve. The alternative? Consider beekeeping outside the box.

The Thinking Beekeeper is the definitive do-it-yourself guide to natural beekeeping in top bar hives. Based on the concept of understanding and working with bees' natural systems as opposed to trying to subvert them, the advantages of this approach include:

  • simplicity, sustainability and cost-effectiveness
  • increased safety due to less heavy lifting and hive manipulation
  • chemical-free colonies and healthy hives.

Top bar hives can be located anywhere bees have access to forage, and they make ideal urban hives due to their small footprint.

Emphasizing the intimate connection between our food systems, bees, and the wellbeing of the planet, The Thinking Beekeeper will appeal to the new breed of beekeeper who is less focused on maximizing honey yield, and more on ensuring the viability of the bee population now and in the coming years.

About the Author

Christy Hemenway is the owner and founder of Gold Star Honeybees, a complete resource for all things related to beekeeping in top bar hives. A passionate advocate for bees and the pivotal role they play in our food supply, she is a highly sought-after speaker, helping audiences to understand the integral connection between bees, food, human health and the future of the planet. Christy is the author of The Thinking Beekeeper: A Guide to Natural Beekeeping in Top Bar Hives.


"No matter the box you keep your bees in, if you are a new beekeeper you need solid, practical and most of all accurate information to get started. You'll find that here. And if you are keeping your bees in a top bar hive, you'll find information you need here that's not available anywhere else. Both you and your bees will benefit from Christy's approach, advice and philosophy."
Kim Flottum, Editor Bee Culture Magazine

"Christy Hemenway's The Thinking Beekeeper is a very nice book. It provides a blend of the author's philosophy, ranting (about the use of chemicals in beekeeping), and clear practical advice about honey bee culture, especially regarding Top Bar Hives. There has been little written about the specifics of raising honey bees in Top Bar Hives. The bees are the same of course, but the Top Bar Hive is quite different from the traditional Langstroth Hive. At the University of Maine we had plenty of questions when we first embarked upon the use of the Top Bar Hive. NOW there is a good guide. Not only is the book informative, being accessible to all with its clear concise prose and liberal use of photos and data tables, but in addition it is enjoyable to read."
Dr. Frank Drummond, Pollination Ecologist, University of Maine

"Christy's passion shines through in this delightful book, which I'm sure will inspire many people to take up top bar beekeeping. I am particularly pleased to see that she has developed her own style, while staying true to the principles of simplicity and minimal interference with the lives of the bees. Having watched Christy's progress so far, I'm sure that Gold Star Honeybees has a great future."
Phil Chandler, author of The Barefoot Beekeeper

"It is great to see that top bar beekeeping is alive and well in Maine and that Christy Hemenway is passionate about her top bar hives. The top-bar hive is coming."
Les Crowder, coauthor with Heather Harrell of Top-Bar Beekeeping

"Whether you're looking for another argument for keeping your own bees or are already convinced, The Thinking Beekeeper is an excellent resource. Christy knows her stuff and shares her experience and passion on every page."
Roger Doiron, Founder, Kitchen Gardeners International

"The Thinking Beekeeper is a unique and exceptional resource for the beginning beekeeper. It will enable the novice to make a successful start in the craft and as he/she progresses all those instructions offer the opportunity to object to something Christy recommends. And that ladies and gentlemen is the badge of an independent practitioner and mature thinking beekeeper."
Marty Hardison

"No matter the box you keep your bees in, if you are a new beekeeper you need solid, practical and most of all accurate information to get started. You'll find that here. And if you are keeping your bees in a top bar hive, you'll find information you need here that's not available anywhere else. Both you and your bees will benefit from Christy's approach, advice and philosophy."
Kim Flottum, Editor Bee Culture Magazine

"Christy Hemenway's The Thinking Beekeeper is a very nice book. It provides a blend of the author's philosophy, ranting (about the use of chemicals in beekeeping), and clear practical advice about honey bee culture, especially regarding Top Bar Hives. There has been little written about the specifics of raising honey bees in Top Bar Hives. The bees are the same of course, but the Top Bar Hive is quite different from the traditional Langstroth Hive. At the University of Maine we had plenty of questions when we first embarked upon the use of the Top Bar Hive. NOW there is a good guide. Not only is the book informative, being accessible to all with its clear concise prose and liberal use of photos and data tables, but in addition it is enjoyable to read."
Dr. Frank Drummond, Pollination Ecologist, University of Maine

"Christy's passion shines through in this delightful book, which I'm sure will inspire many people to take up top bar beekeeping. I am particularly pleased to see that she has developed her own style, while staying true to the principles of simplicity and minimal interference with the lives of the bees. Having watched Christy's progress so far, I'm sure that Gold Star Honeybees has a great future."
Phil Chandler, author of The Barefoot Beekeeper

"It is great to see that top bar beekeeping is alive and well in Maine and that Christy Hemenway is passionate about her top bar hives. The top-bar hive is coming."
Les Crowder, coauthor with Heather Harrell of Top-Bar Beekeeping

"Whether you're looking for another argument for keeping your own bees or are already convinced, The Thinking Beekeeper is an excellent resource. Christy knows her stuff and shares her experience and passion on every page."
Roger Doiron, Founder, Kitchen Gardeners International

"The Thinking Beekeeper is a unique and exceptional resource for the beginning beekeeper. It will enable the novice to make a successful start in the craft and as he/she progresses all those instructions offer the opportunity to object to something Christy recommends. And that ladies and gentlemen is the badge of an independent practitioner and mature thinking beekeeper."
Marty Hardison


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