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The Bad Beekeepers Club: How I stumbled into the Curious World of Bees - and became (perhaps) a Better Person [Hardcover]

Bill Turnbull
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)

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Book Description

20 May 2010

Hello. My name is Bill and I'm a bad beekeeper. A really bad beekeeper.'

So begins Bill Turnbull's charming account of how he stumbled into the mysterious world of beekeeping (sometimes literally). Despite many setbacks - including being stung in the head (twice) on his first day of training - beekeeping somehow taught Bill a great deal about himself and the world around him.

Bill chronicles his mishaps - and brief triumphs - with the humour and Zen-like acceptance of a man who knows his enthusiasm will always outweigh his abilities. At the same time his stories highlight the very real threats to our bee population, and what we can do to create a better environment for these vital and rather wonderful creatures.

Fascinating and hugely engaging, The Bad Beekeepers Club is a universally appealing story about a very singular passion.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere; 1st Edition edition (20 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847443982
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847443984
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 22.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 290,865 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


His description of the pleasure bees bring is captivating and told in such an engaging manner. This is truly charming. (News of the World)

An entertaining beekeeping memoir (The Times)

Book Description

* The hilarious, heartwarming and surprisingly inspiring account of one BBC Breakfast TV presenter's secret passion for bees...!

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully funny account of Bill's beekeeping. 21 May 2010
By IT123
This is a book I had been waiting for with some anticipation, heightened recently with the writer's bee blogs which are hilarious, witty, informative, and rather thought provoking. The problem though sometimes in eagerly anticipating a new book/film/ gadget is the book/film/gadget doesn't quite live up to its expectations.

No such problem with this book. It lived up to my expectations and more. Only a few pages in and the tears were coming down my face from laughing and in this vein I finished the book. For those who know nothing about beekeeping, you get a sort of beginners guide to beekeeping- parts of the hive, different types of bees that make up the colony, how to remove and extract honey etc. All intertwined with his own experiences, mishaps and occasional triumph over adversity. There is also a chapter devoted to stinging, or rather the nature of how he has been stung, and this chapter in itself is worth the price of the book alone.

For those who know Bill from his daytime job, this is not an autobiography; it is about beekeeping, so any references made to his job (BBC Breakfast), Strictly Come Dancing, etc are from the view point of how they impact on his beekeeping and vice versa. In addition, the problems facing bees worldwide and the measures being used to combat these problems are discussed, but not in such a heavy handed way, that you want to flick past those pages and get to the funny sections again.

All in all a very, very funny and witty book that this reader would recommend to anyone regardless of how interested or not they are in bees.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must for Beekeepers 2 Jun 2010
By KChal
As A beginner to beekeeping and currently on a course this book is just what I needed both funny and informative. Even if you are not a beekeeper still a great read!
Congratulations Bill and I am glad you were talked into writing it...
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really interesting and amusing read 28 May 2010
By Prospero77 VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Bill's writing style is as engaging and witty as his screen persona but the lexical structuring is such that he could almost be in the room with you. Amusement apart, if like me you're coming to the field of beekeeping as a complete novice it provides a real 'fly on the wall' initiation into the brotherhood. The science of hive construction and the 'what-to-expect' pratfalls of bee contact will amuse and entertain throughout. If you're looking for a holiday read with a difference I would definitely recommend.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
By Bengjii
I read this book on beekeeping and the effects of same after I had heard the Author talk about the subject (and the book) on local radio recently. I've always had a general interest in bees and the observation of same, but I'd shied away from the more technical and jargon-drenched books on the subject.

Bill's book is different - while he does lay down some of the basics of bees and their world, his main focus is very much on the effects that beekeeping has had on him, and by extension possibly on the reader also. His style is quite familiar and pretty laid back, and throughout he kept me interested in both his progress and on beekeeping in general.

I'm not quite sure why I bought this book - was it due to the interview or my lateral interest in the subject, but to be honest I'm glad that I did. I came away from it with a better understanding of beekeeping and some of the joys and pitfalls pertaining thereto, I feel that I have a better understanding of what is required, and I also came away feeling just a little bit better about the world in general.

Downsides? Not many to be honest, near the end the author did focus a lot on his struggles with a dancing competition and how it distracted from his BeeDuties, but overall I did not feel that this took too much from the overall work.

Nice job Bill
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Bees Knees 20 Sep 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Bill Turnbull describes his 'Apiaric' adventures with a touch of wry humour.
It is funny, thought provoking and informative. His wife must have the patience of a saint as he describes in a hilarious fashion the harvesting of honey in a completely unprepared kitchen - as only a man can...oblivious in his lack of foresight as to the abject mess this intails.

His experiences with a "bad tempered" colony are as most experiences with bad temper when you leave the culprit(s) alone to the book to find out.

Oh, and bees dont like fish!

As one who has contemplated keeping bees as a hobby I found this book invaluable.
Although it is not a textbook Bill Turnbulls knowledge and skill as an Apiarist comes across succinctly. After reading the book I abandoned the thought of beekeeping as it is certainly not something for the amateur. The bee populous of the U.K. is under threat from many viruses, parasites and bacterium. To plod along without the prerequisite knowledge of how to identify bees who are ill or infected would risk the spread of disease to the healthy colonies of reputable beekeepers

There is a scheme whereby you can support Beekeepers by "adopting" colonies in the UK. Those who are interested in Apiary should become involved in this way instead of "bumbling along" (pun definately intended) mistakenly percieving Beekeeping as a hobby easily taken up without much experience.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book!
Published 1 day ago by Mark Neighbour
1.0 out of 5 stars Not very good
It seems to be more of an autobiography (not of a bee-keeper) especially at the end where the author seems to have simply ran out of thing to say about bees.
Published 2 days ago by P M Attwood
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very good thank you
Published 9 days ago by Mr Andrew John Bainbridge
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Leaning and laughing and book that is so easy to read great
Published 22 days ago by Wendy Sawyer
5.0 out of 5 stars The Bad Beekeepers Club
I keep bees and bought this book to take on holiday. I only meant to have a quick look but finished it instead. Read more
Published 1 month ago by s a mc namee
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny and knowledgeable.
The book is written with brilliant sense of humour but in the same time has reasonable amount of useful information for a beginner in bee-keeping or someone who is generally... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Alla
5.0 out of 5 stars Bee for Bill.
A very entertaining book...especially if you like bees or would love to keep them. Bill tells you all the pitfalls in the form of an autobiographical novel. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars The Bad Beekeepers club
Nice to know that Bill shares all of the bizarre things that happens to us Beekeepers. Inforamative book wiht very funnay parts as well.
Published 2 months ago by arosmae
5.0 out of 5 stars Hubby Loved it
I bought this book for Hubby. From the start to the finish of this book he truly enjoyed it. A must read.
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the one to read
I have read a few other bee books about people's experiences, but this is definitely the one to buy. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Poppy Barrow
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