Guide to Hive Management for Backyard Beekeepers

From Facts About Honey Bees to Harvesting Honey, This Book Covers It All

With the alarming decline in honey bee populations, many people are joining the ranks of backyard beekeepers. Hive Management by Richard E. Bonney can help. The cause of the catastrophe affecting these pollinators varies among backyard beekeepers and bystanders alike.

Adding a honey bee population to our homestead is at the top of our to-do list. I have been reading as much as I can get my hands on and watching various videos from beekeepers whom I’ve grown to trust. Hive Management is one of the better books I’ve read.

Bees need our help!

For the practicing beekeeper or the serious novice who wants to start out right, this book is for you. Order the Hive Management today!


As a total novice among backyard beekeepers, I was delighted to find Mr. Bonney’s book written in such a way that not only could I understand what he was saying, but I could also envision it. The presentation of beekeeping based on ongoing activity throughout the year versus random seasonal tasks makes perfect sense to me. To quote Mr. Bonney:

“This book is intended to discuss hive management as an integrated activity showing where ever possible how activities relate from season to season. It also is intended to explain the reasons for many of the practices that would follow without understanding why we do them. Because we don’t know why, we often fail to take action at the proper time, or we take an action at an inappropriate time — reversing hive bodies too early in the season, for instance.”

Even in the preface of the book, you find helpful information. There are 149 pages in this book which makes it totally manageable even for those who don’t enjoy reading. These pages include 17 chapters, an appendix on diseases, mites and Africanized bees, an appendix on other sources for reading, and a handy index.

I won’t try to summarize each chapter, instead, I’ll share some bits of information I highlighted in my copy. In chapter one, initial inspection, he references a tip he found in the Old Farmer’s Almanac: “On the first day of February, a farmer should still have on hand half of his winter’s wood and half of his winter’s hay.” Mr. Bonney says this should be extended to backyard beekeepers and their bees because you should expect your bee colony to have one-half of its winter stores left on the first day of February.

He discusses winterkill and how to give your colony the best chance of surviving a long winter, how to feed your bees, and what to expect from your bees during cold weather. I found it very interesting that you cannot completely prevent winterkill in your bee colony. They only have a certain lifespan. The colony will actually remove dead bees from the hive. The bees which remain at the end of the winter are the younger generation and they will be ready to get to work as soon as spring arrives.

Every farmer and homesteader feels the rush of spring. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve planted too early in my haste to get going in the spring. We all fight it, but in spring hive management he warns the beekeeper against rushing the season. I learned this is imperative to the health and well-being of a bee colony.

Have you ever been fooled thinking spring had arrived only to have a hard freeze or significant snowfall? Your bees know when it’s time to get to work and they know what their spring chores are. All we have to do is to follow their lead. Mr. Bonney says when you see dandelions begin to bloom you can begin your spring hive management. He gives you complete, easy to follow and understand instructions for your spring chores. The information on what happens when the queen bee dies was amazing to me.

Have you ever seen a swarm of bees? I’ve only seen one and it was a colony of wild honeybees. I was working in the garden and kept hearing this funny sound like a small engine running. We began looking everywhere for it and couldn’t locate it. Something buzzed my head while I was standing under a big oak and I looked up. The swarm was hanging like a bunch of wild grapes from a large limb. They were there for over a day and then they were gone. After reading Hive Management, I understand the process and reasons for swarming.

I can’t think of a question I had this book did not provide the answer to, everything you need to know about cleaning, making a new hive, and minimizing robbing in your honey bee farm. This book takes backyard beekeepers and wanna-be-backyard beekeepers through the physical aspects of managing your hives, inspection, maintenance and even honey removal. Mr. Bonney also teaches you about the life of bees, their different roles, foraging and life cycles.

Late-season and fall management chores focus on preparing your hives for the coming winter. The flow of chores was easy-to-follow so you know what to expect and what you need to do for your hive. The equipment descriptions and photos were excellent especially as I need the level of beekeeping for dummies. They help explain what backyard beekeepers need to have in order to be successful.

I will keep this book on hand when I join the league of backyard beekeepers. Hive Management will be my reference book. I recommend this book for any level of beekeeper and especially for those in the first years among backyard beekeepers. You’ll want to keep this book on your shelf too.

Safe and Happy Journey,


The perfect reference book for those who wish to know more about bees. Order Hive Management today!.


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Guide to Hive Management for Backyard Beekeepers