Master Beekeeping Resources

Listed below are major references that will be used by the Master Beekeeper Advisor in preparing the written exam. We feel the library of every Master Beekeepers – or resources they have ready access to- should contain several of these references. The first four Basic Resource Books listed are frequently utilized to develop exam questions. This list, however, should not be considered complete. There are many other excellent written resources available to beekeepers.

Individuals preparing to take the exams are not expected to read all of the books listed here, however, those wishing to taking the exam will find it helpful to have a working knowledge of the subject material represented by these texts. In addition, candidates should expect that several exam questions will be be about contemporary issues – th being written about in current bee journal articles and discussed at bee meetings. A Master Beekeeper should be up-to-date and knowledgeable about current trends and newer scientific findings/management practices of beekeepers.

Sources for various items are given. Many of the books are available at Amazon, but can also be obtained from bee equipment suppliers and from the publishers.

Basic Resource Books

  • Honey Bee Biology and Beekeeping. 2013 (revised edition). Dewey M. Caron with L. J. Connor. Wicwas Press. Most up-to-date and comprehensive combined biology and beekeeping book with excellent pest/diseases/mite coverage. (First edition also OK)
  • The Beekeepers Handbook. 2011 (fourth edition) Diana Sammataro and A. Avitabile. Comstock Publishing Associates. A well-illustrated book with very useful options for management. (Third edition OK but dated mite information)
  • What Do You Know? 2003, reprinted 2014. Clarence Collison. A.I. Root Company. An excellent study guide in question and answer format.
  • Another Close Look. Summer 2014. Clarence Collison. A.I. Root Company. A collection from his columns in Bee Culture on the biology and physiology of honey bees.

Reference Books

  • ABC&XYZ of Bee Culture. 2007. ed. Hachiro Shimanuki, Kim Flottum, Ann Harman. A. I. Root Company. Encyclopedia format; many color photographs; historical information.
  • The Hive and the Honey Bee. 2015. Ed. Joe M. Graham. Dadant & Sons. Formatted by chapters.

Beekeeping Journals and Newsletters

  • Apis Newsletter. Malcolm Sanford. Free subscription:
  • From the U. C. Apiaries. Eric C. Mussen. Free subscription:
  • Kelley Bee News: Modern Beekeeping. Walter T. Kelley Company. Free subscription:

The following are books grouped by specialized topics.


  • Understanding Bee Anatomy: a full colour guide. 2012. Ian Stell. The Catford Press. Excellent color photographs and drawings of all parts and systems of a honey bee.
  • Honey Maker: How the Honey Bee Worker Does What She Does. 2012. R. L. Mattingly. Beargrass Press. Excellent combination of anatomy and function—bees as bees really are.
  • Anatomy and Dissection of the Honeybee. 2009. H. A. Dade. International Bee Research Association (IBRA). Available from IBRA, A book in two parts: one-half anatomy and one-half detailed dissection instructions.

Basic Beekeeping

  • The Backyard Beekeeper: An Absolute Beginners Guide to Keeping Bees in Your Yard and Garden. 3rd Edition. 2014. Excellent photographs and up-to-date information.
  • Haynes:Bee Manual. 2011. Claire and Adrian Waring. Haynes North America, Inc. Well-illustrated with 500 color photographs.
  • Beekeeping for Dummies 2nd Edition. 2009. Howland Blackiston. Wiley Publishing. Typical ‘Dummies’ format.
  • Bee-senntialsA Field Guide. 2012. Laurence J. Connor and R. J. Muir. Wicwas Press. A basic beginning beekeeping book.
  • First Lessons in Beekeeping. 2007. Keith S. Delaplane. Dadant and Sons.

Bee Biology and Behavior

  • Honeybee Democracy. 2010. Thomas Seeley. Princeton University Press. Excellent coverage of how social honey bees function as a superorganism.
  • The Biology of the Honey Bee. 1991`. Mark L. Winston. Harvard University Press. An excellent classic but still relevant.
  • Mating Biology of Honey Bees (Apis mellifera) by Koeniger, G., Koeniger, N, J. Ellis, & L. Connor. Wicwas Press, 2014.
  • A Closer Look: Basic Honey Bee Biology by Clarence Collison, A. I. Root, 2017.


  • Beeswax: Production, Harvesting, Processing and Products. 1984. W. L. Coggshall and R. A. Morse. Wicwas Press.
  • Beeswax Crafting. 2002. Robert Berthold, Jr. Wicwas Press.

Dance Language

Diseases and Pests

  • A Field Guide to Honey Bees and Their Maladies. AGRS-116. 2011. Maryann Frazier, D. M. Caron, D. vanEnglesdorp. Pennsylvania State University Extension Publication. Excellent field guide with many photographs.            

 Because of rapidly increasing research findings on diseases and pests of honey bees, the following books cannot be considered current. Little on viruses, CCD or PMS.  Numerous scientific names are now incorrect.

  • Mites of the Honey Bee. 2001. Ed. Thomas C. Webster, K. S. Delaplane. Dadant and Sons. Rapidly getting dated but good basics.
  • Honey Bee Pests, Predators and Diseases. 1998 (reprinted 2013). ed. Roger Morse, K. Flottum. Includes a wide variety of pests and predators.
  • Diagnosis of Honey Bee Diseases. USDA ARS Agriculture Handbook 690. 2000 (updated). Hachiro Shimanuki, D. Knox. Available as pdf:

General Reading

  • Silent Spring. 2002 Anniversary Edition. Rachael Carson. Houghton Mifflin Company. Must be read—at least once—still relevant information about dangers of pesticides.


  • The Backyard Beekeeper’s Honey Handbook: A Guide to Creating, Harvesting, and Cooking with Natural Honeys. 2009. Kim Flottum. Quayside Publishing. Comprehensive information about honey from flower to table.
  • Robbing the Bees: A Biography of Honey—The Sweet Liquid Gold That Seduced the World. 2007. H. Bishop. Pocket Books. Has historical information.
Master Beekeepers


Information on plants for honey bees and other pollinators can be obtained from state and local Cooperative Extension Service offices, state and local beekeeping associations and also on the Internet by searching plants and honey bees.

  • Honey Plants of North America. 1926 (current edition is facsimile reprint of original). J. H. Lovell. A. I. Root Company.


  • How to Reduce Bee Poisoning from Pesticides. PNW 591. 2013 revision. L. Hooven, R. Sagili, E. Johansen. Available only Online: then enter PNW 591-E (exactly) in Search Entire Catalog box. The most up-to-date and comprehensive publication on pesticides.

                See also Managing Alternative Pollinators in section on Pollination.


  • Managing Alternative Pollinators: A Handbook for Beekeepers, Growers and Conservationists. 2010. E. Mader, M. Spivak, E. Evans. SARE Handbook 11. Natural Resource, Agriculture and Engineering Service. Available as printed book and as free Online download at:
    Comprehensive coverage of all pollinators but little on honey bees. Contains information on pesticides.
  • Insect Pollination of Cultivated Crop Plants. 1976. S. E. McGergor. Agriculture Handbook No.496, USDA. Reprinted by A. I. Root Company. Available as printed book and as free Online download: Insect Pollination of Cultivated Crop Plants: The First and Only Virtual Beekeeping Book Updated Continuously with additions listed by crop and date. Search Internet for title (Insect Pollination of Cultivated Crop Plants) and open the site.
  • Evaluating Honey Bee Colonies for PollinationA Guide for Commercial Growers and Beekeepers. 2011. R. R. Sagilli, D. M. Burgett. Oregon State University PNW 623. Search Internet for title (Evaluating Honey Bee colonies for Pollination) and open up either the Oregon State or Washington State Universities site. Practical information on colony rental, contracts and how to evaluate colonies.
  • Native Pollinators. 2005. Fish and Wildlife Habitat Management Leaflet No. 34. USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
  • Farming for BeesGuidelines for Providing Native Bee Habitat on Farms. 2004. M. Vaughan, M. Shepherd, C. Kremen, S. H. Black.


  • Bee Sex Essentials. 2008. L. J. Connor. Wicwas Press. Discusses queens, drones, mating and some genetics.
  • Queen rearing Essentials. L. J. Connor. Wicwas Press. A companion book to Bee Sex Essentials. Covers grafting and raising queens.
  • Rearing Queen Honey Bees. 1993, second edition. R. A. Morse. Wicwas Press. Excellent coverage of basics of queen rearing.
  • Successful Queen Rearing Manual. 1994. M. Spivak, G. Reuter. Available from equipment suppliers and Online   Good description of Doolittle method.

Top Bar Hive

  • Top-Bar Hive Beekeeping: Wisdom and Pleasure Combined. 2012. Wyatt A. Mangum. Stinging Drone Publications. Available only from the author. The most comprehensive book on top-bar hive beekeeping.
  • The Thinking Beekeeper. 2013. Christy Hemenway. New Society Publishers. A concise and well-illustrated book on top-bar hive beekeeping.

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