The Behaviour and Social Life of Honeybees – By Ronald Ribbands


Written by Ronald Ribbands.

2016 reprint, jointly published by IBRA and Northern Bee Books.

Softback, 352 pp.

ISBN: 978-1-908904-87-4.



This reprint is interesting both as a reference book for beekeepers who wish to better understand what is going on in their hives and also for researchers wishing to explore the roots of their own studies.

In 1953 the then Bee Research Association published this classic book by C Ronald Ribbands of Rothamsted Experimental Station, UK. The book was highly acclaimed for the clarity of its explanations of bee biology, but despite a US edition in 1964, strangely the book has never been reprinted – until now. This new facsimile edition features a short biographical introduction, and a foreword by Prof. Tom Seeley of Cornell University, USA, in which he explains why the book is so important to him and remains relevant despite the passing of the years.

The original cover states: “This book is a comprehensive review designed to meet the needs of scientists, beekeepers and all readers who are interested in the natural history of insects. It is written in everyday English without scientific jargon. The author particularly emphasises the most recent researches, including surprising results which have hitherto only been described in scientific journals. In addition, many interesting experiments are reported for the first time. The author also provides evidence to show that the honey bee community is no longer something incomprehensible; he builds up a picture step by step which enables him to explain its greatest mysteries in terms which are easy to understand. Understanding these facts can help beekeepers in the intelligent pursuit of their craft; scientific aspects of many practical beekeeping problems are fully discussed. Farmers and fruit growers will be particularly interested in the chapters concerned with pollination and with the possibility of directing honeybees to particular crops”.

Reviews of the 1953 edition:-

American Bee Journal: “A must for every scientist, experimenter and educator and a happy and valuable selection for all interested in the honeybee”.

American Scientist: “Recommended in the strongest of terms”.

Natural History Magazine: ”Erudite, as well as interesting… well-documented”.


Additional information

Weight 0.775 kg