The Barefoot Beekeeper is an agent provocateur: he has challenged just about every long-held belief, technique and method practised by modern beekeepers.Jean Vernon, The Telegraph
Hello I'm Philip Chandler. My early working life was spent mainly in printing, publishing, marketing and training.
I took up beekeeping at the turn of the century, having campaigned against GM crops for several years and concluding that bees were a lot more important than most people realized.
Conventional beekeeping seemed too mechanistic and bound up in Victorian attitudes towards nature, so I developed my own system based on top bar hives. A year spent working in commercial beekeeping at Buckfast Abbey convinced me that 'natural' beekeeping was the way to go.
In 2005 I was awarded Advanced Certification by the National Diploma of Beekeeping Board.
Having further developed my hive and techniques, I wrote The Barefoot Beekeeper in 2007 as a challenge to conventional beekeeping, and to put my case for reform.
Since then, around 10,000 people have bought my book and many of them have adopted top bar hives and natural beekeeping methods.
Nowadays I spend my time studying, teaching and writing. My aim is to teach others to observe for themselves and to learn from the bees, rather than from me.
Learning about beekeeping from books or distance learning can give us a broad understanding of their nature and behaviour, but of course there is a need to deepen that theoretical knowledge by practical, hands-on bee-handling.
Many local beekeepers' associations provide open sessions for beginners to experience bees at first hand, and may also provide training courses. These tend to focus on the conventional, commercially-derived approach to beekeeping, and while attitudes are beginning to change in some places, you are unlikely to find a great deal of sympathy for top bar hives or natural beekeeping.