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Natural Beekeeping

Organic Approaches to Modern Apiculture, 2nd Edition

By Ross Conrad
Foreword by Gary Paul Nabhan

Today's beekeepers face unprecedented challenges, a fact that is now front-page news with the spread of "colony collapse disorder." Newly introduced pests like varroa and tracheal mites have made chemical treatment of hives standard practice, but pest resistance is building, which in turn creates demand for new and even more toxic chemicals. In fact, there is evidence that chemical treatments are making matters worse.

It's time for a new approach. Now revised and updated with new resources and including full-color photos throughout, Natural Beekeeping offers all the latest information in a book that has already proven invaluable for organic beekeepers. The new edition offers the same holistic, sensible alternative to conventional chemical practices with a program of natural hive management, but offers new sections on a wide range of subjects, including:

  • The basics of bee biology and anatomy
  • Urban beekeeping
  • Identifying and working with queens
  • Parasitic mite control
  • Hive diseases

Also, a completely new chapter on marketing provides valuable advice for anyone who intends to sell a wide range of hive products.Ross Conrad brings together the best "do no harm" strategies for keeping honeybees healthy and productive with nontoxic methods of controlling mites; eliminating American foulbrood disease without the use of antibiotics; selective breeding for naturally resistant bees; and many other detailed management techniques, which are covered in a thoughtful, matter-of-fact way.

Whether you are a novice looking to get started with bees, an experienced apiculturist looking for ideas to develop an integrated pest-management approach, or someone who wants to sell honey at a premium price, this is the book you've been waiting for.


Natural Beekeeping is a wonderful book, beautifully written and illustrated, about how one can have healthy hives of bees without using synthetic pesticides, antibiotics, or artificial diets.  Ross Conrad explains in fine detail that the key ingredients of organic beekeeping are disease-resistant stock, favorable apiary sites, and good colony management, plus a reverence and respect for the bees.”--Thomas D. Seeley, Cornell University, author of Honeybee Democracy and The Wisdom of the Hive

Library Journal-

"Originally published in 2007 as colony collapse disorder was making headlines across the world, this updated edition by veteran beekeeper Conrad (former president, Vermont Beekeepers Assn.) is a holistic reference guide to organic apiculture. While newer parasites like varroa mites are making chemical treatments a normal part of hive ownership, many people are still looking for ways to manage their hives organically in order to reduce the amount of chemicals that affect bees, other pollinators, and the environment in general. This new edition adds information about urban beekeeping, top-bar hives, and marketing for those interested in selling honey and other products from their beehives. A comprehensive glossary and resource list will assist novice and experienced apiarists searching for equipment, mite-resistant bee suppliers, and pesticide testing and reporting agencies. VERDICT Conrad’s personal experiences and easy tone and the wealth of information make this title perfect for beekeepers looking for more natural hive management options. Highly recommended for purchase wherever urban farming is taking root." 


Ross Conrad

Ross Conrad

Ross Conrad learned his craft from the late Charles Mraz, world-renowned beekeeper and founder of Champlain Valley Apiaries in Vermont. Former president of the Vermont Beekeepers Association, Conrad is a regular contributor to Bee Culture—The Magazine of American Beekeeping. He has led bee-related presentations and taught organic beekeeping workshops and classes throughout North America for many years. His small beekeeping business, Dancing Bee Gardens, supplies friends, neighbors, and local stores with honey and candles, among other bee related products, and provides bees for Vermont apple-pollination in spring.


May 30, 2017

Ross Conrad at Sterling College

Sterling College, Craftsbury Commons, VT | Ross Conrad

Pollinators, Beekeeping, and Products from the Hive: In this five-day course, farmers, hobbyists, and landowners with interests in pollinator conservation and beekeeping will learn the context and skills to support beneficial insects and native pollinators, as well as to cultivate happy, healthy, productive honeybees. The course will also cover how to partner with your bees, add value to their products and create additional bee-related revenue streams. The first two days of this workshop are led by the Xerces Society’s Jarrod Fowler, who will teach best management practices that minimize land-use impacts on pollinators and other beneficial insects, assessment and design of habitat, and tools to increase and enhance their diversity. During days three and four, class sessions will be led by Ross Conrad, who will focus primarily on the benefits and mechanics of small scale and backyard beekeeping. We will cover fundamental topics and practices for natural and organic beekeeping including: location and equipment requirements; basic honey bee biology; swarming as an expression of the bees vitality; presence and mindfulness in the bee yard; and non-toxic pest and disease control. On our final day together, we will learn about an array of value added products from the hive, including pollen, propolis, bee venom, royal jelly, honey bee larvae and beeswax products. We will also try our hands at beeswax rendering and candle making. This is a hands-on exploration of pollinators and bees, punctuated with pollinator identification walks, an open hive demonstration and, weather permitting, ample opportunity for students to work with bees.

May 30 - June 3, 2017

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Ross Conrad discusses Natural Beekeeping

Natural Beekeeping with Ross Conrad DVD Trailer

Natural Beekeeping with Ross Conrad DVD Trailer

Natural Beekeeping: Ross Conrad on Bee Health

Natural Beekeeping: Ross Conrad on Bee Health

Natural Beekeeping: Checking a Beehive with Ross Conrad

Natural Beekeeping: Checking a Beehive with Ross Conrad

Natural Beekeeping

Pages:304 pages
Book Art:Full-color photos and illustrations throughout
Size: 8 x 10 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Paperback: 9781603583626
Pub. Date March 08, 2013

Available In/Retail Price

Paperback, 304 pages, $34.95