From A to Bee

My First Year as a Beginner Beekeeper

  • Imprint: Summersdale
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 288
  • Price: £9.99
  • Publication date: 2 July 2012
  • ISBN: 9781849532723

About the book

Beekeeping. Oh my what have I done? I am 30 years old, I have been married for three years and am a new father to a fantastic little boy. Surely there are things that I should be doing at this age which do not involve little yellow and black insects that can hurt you if you are remotely clumsy (which at 6 feet 5, I have an amazing ability to be). James Dearsley’s wife thought he had lost his mind when he announced his intention to become a beekeeper. But like many interested in the self-sufficient lifestyle, he loved gardening and growing vegetables on his allotment and the old romantic in him had idealistic notions of teaching his little boy where honey came from, so he set himself what seemed a reasonable goal: to get, in a year’s time, just one jar of honey.


'A.k.a. The Surrey Beekeeper, Dearsley started the Beginner Beekeeper's page on Facebook - now the biggest online community of beekeepers - and has also released a beekeeping DVD.'

The Bookseller

'Written in a humorous, accessible, non-technical style… offering great practical advice'

Grow Your Own

'a funny, practical and inspiring account.'

The Daily Mail

'will inspire more people to take up this intriguing and captivating hobby'

David Squire

'James Dearsley's engaging exploration of the mysteries of beekeeping will ensure you'll never look at a bee the same way again.'

Kay Sexton, author of Minding My Peas and Cucumbers

'An endearing and amusing personal account of one man's immersion into the magical world of beekeeping.'

Anna Nicholas, author of A Lizard in My Luggage

'James offers us an entertainingly jolly, extremely readably account of all the trials and tribulations of becoming an English beekeeper… James is fearless in poking fun at himself… It is quite touching how completely absorbed he becomes in the bees.'


Featured in The Lady, August 2012.

The Lady

'Talk to any small-scale beekeeper, and they'll tell you there's more to this hobby than simply producing the glorious golden sticky goo at the end of it. Beekeeping is an ancient craft with many dimensions… To find out more about the highs and lows of James Dearsley's plunge into the remarkable world of beekeeping you can read his book'

The Ambridge Voice

"We liked [this book]. The Book charts James' ambition to produce in year just one jar of honey and is written in a humorous accessible, non-technical style while offering great practical advice."

Gifts for Garden Centres

"Dearsley writes with the boyish enthusiasm of a man falling in love with a new hobby… Containing endless illuminating facts, this is the ideal present for any budding beekeeper… A delightful introduction to an age-old art."

The Good Book Guide

'If, like me, you've ever thought of becoming a beekeeper, then this book is for you… Full of information as well as the ups and downs… This book was a delight to read, inspiring, and encouraged me to learn more about solitary bees and look for a local beekeeping course for next year.'

Living North

`Written in a humorous, accessible, non-technical style - while offering great practical advice'

Grow Your Own