13 Buzzworthy Books About Bees
by Jaylynn Korrell
There’s no better time to read books about bees.
Did you know that several species of bees are endangered?
They are so important to life on earth. We can’t live without them, and other living things on earth can’t either. These insects play a vital role in our world, and it’s important (and fun!) to get educated about them by way of books about bees.
There are different types of books about bees depending on interest and goal. In this list, you’ll find books about bee intelligence, honey making, beekeeping, the history of bees, and even some buzzworthy fiction bee books.
When it comes to saving the bees, the more you know, the better. So get reading.
Here are some seriously buzzworthy books about bees!
(Everything on Independent Book Review has been independently selected by a very picky group of people. We may earn a commission on items you purchase through our links.)
1. OMFG, Bees!
An ode to bees
Does any book about bees have a better title than this one? OMFG, BEES! (Chronicle Books, 2023) uses humorous quips, lists, watercolor drawings, and musings to paint a unique reading experience.
With enthusiastic writing, Matt Kracht informs people of just how important bees are to the world. He delves into topics like bee behavior, distinguishing bees from other insects, honey making, and much more.
2. Honeybee Democracy
There is so much that we can learn from bees, but their decision-making process might be one of the most intriguing.
Every year, they have to work together to find and travel to a new home collectively. Their house hunting journey is one that demonstrates their unique survival strategy, and it’s something that author Thomas Seeley has been studying for years.
In Honeybee Democracy (Princeton University Press, 2010), you’ll get an inside look at the democratic debate among the honeybees, and why it makes them so successful.
3. The Mind of a Bee
An investigation of bee intelligence
Let’s be real. You have wondered what goes on in the mind of a bee. Are they about to sting me? How’s their workday going?
While we may not ever know for sure what’s going on in a bee’s mind, author Lars Chittka dares to dive deep into the cognitive abilities of bees and why they do the things they do.
In The Mind of a Bee (Princeton University Press), readers gather all about how bees have distinct personalities, can recognize human faces, exhibit basic emotions, count, and much more.
4. The Lives of Bees
Investigating wild bees
The survival strategies, social lives, and behavior of wild honeybees is the main focus in Thomas Seeley’s The Lives of Bees (Princeton University Press, 2019). In it, he investigates how wild honeybees may hold the answer to how to reverse the die-off of the planet’s managed honeybee population.
5. The Bee Book
Bee facts in a gift-friendly format
I loved this book from the moment I saw it from Bridge and Tunnel Books. Of all the books about bees this one has to be the most beautiful structurally.
Created in the shape of a honeycomb, this bee book has small pages that flip out and create even bigger, more dynamic shapes that act as a symbol for the 6 families of bees found in North America, as well as the flowers they’re attracted to. It’s a unique learning experience to say the least.
6. Keeping Bees With A Smile
Beginner beekeepers will gain a ton of practical knowledge with this book by Fedor Lazutin, one of Europe’s most successful beekeepers. Keeping Bees With a Smile (New Society Publishers, 2020) can make beekeeping more accessible, and it takes a fun approach to tackling this potentially intimidating hobby, side-hustle, or full-time gig.
7. The BEE: A Natural History
History of bees
Bees give life to our planet. They pollinate our plants, our crops. Without them, both our survival and our beauty dwindle.
Noah Wilson-Rich captures the unique diversity of bees and our relationship with them in this published by Princeton University Press.
8. ABC and XYZ of Bee Culture
What Burt considers “his beekeeper’s bible“
I first came to know this book from watching the documentary of the founder of Burt’s Bees, Burt’s Buzz. He accredits this book to all of his beekeeping knowledge, and we can see why.
It’s 832 pages long and has been around since 1877. This 42nd edition is both a collecter’s item and something you can tactically use to keep bees.
9. Following the Wild Bees
History & science of bee hunting
Thomas Seeley has already been in this list of books about bees, but it’s with such good reason! In this unique book, Seeley educates readers about bee hunting, an activity that was once widely practiced.
In Following the Wild Bees (Princeton University Press), Seeley describes the science and history behind this activity and providing insights it can give to those wishing to do it in present day.
10. Bees Make the Best Pets
This laid-back guidebook to bees is filled with trivia, tips, legend, and lore.
Written by someone who lives with half a million bees, Bees Make the Best Pets (Mango Publishing) is filled with funny and unusual observations that only a true beekeeper could write. It will give you a great foundation to dive deeper into beekeeping, bee observation, or plain old bee appreciation.
11. Grey Bees
In Grey Bees from Deep Vellum Publishing, one man goes on an epic adventure during perilous times so that his bees can collect their pollen in peace. On his adventure, he’s introduced to combats and civilians on both sides of the current political spectrum. His simple mission and moral compass charm them all, but a looming threat will jeopardize his own survival of himself, that of his bees, and that of his country. It was the winner of the Editor’s Choice Prize in Fiction in the Foreword Indies, too!
12. At the Mouth of the River of Bees
Sci-fi short story collection
Kiki Johnson uses nature as the inspiration for this short story collection from Small Beer Press. While bees aren’t the only thing to be highlighted throughout these stories, they are featured heavily. If you’re into science fiction with a natural twist, you may enjoy this collection.
13. The Bees Have Been Cancelled
With their importance, their peskiness, their sweet golden honey, and their near-extinction, there are few topics that have more poetic potential than bees.
In Maya Catherine Popa’s poetry collection The Bees Have Been Canceled, published by New Michigan Press, she touches on beauty and violence, ethics, current events, as well as the threat of bee extinction.
Have you added a bee book to your library yet? If you enjoyed this list, check out some of our other nature book lists like Must-Read Mushroom Books.
About the Author
Jaylynn Korrell is a nomadic writer currently based out of Pennsylvania. In addition to writing and reading for Independent Book Review, she curates lists at GoodGiftLists.com.
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