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The Green Life: Book Roundup Wednesday: Beekeeping for Beginners

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June 30, 2010

Book Roundup Wednesday: Beekeeping for Beginners

Book reviewEvery Wednesday, we review a selection of new and upcoming books addressing a specific aspect of environmentalism. This week we’re recommending books about the benefits of beekeeping.

Honeybee: Lessons from an Accidental Beekeeper (by C. Marina Marchese, $23, Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, Oct. 2009): It’s difficult to pin down a genre for this book. Part memoir, part beginner’s guide, and part recipe collection, Marchese’s work is an entertaining look at one woman’s discovery of the joys of beekeeping. As the founder and owner of Red Bee Honey, Marchese has the experience to back up her advice, observations, and humorous anecdotes. The book is filled with quaint drawings and tasty recipes and concludes with a helpful glossary and appendix that details 75 varieties of honey.

Why Do Bees Buzz?: Fascinating Answers to Questions About Bees (by Elizabeth Capaldi Evans and Carol A. Butler, $22, Rutgers Press, Mar. 2010): Offering both basic and specialized information about bees in a question-and-answer format, the authors answer questions such as, “Can a bee hear?,” “What is the waggle dance?,” “How high do bees fly?,” and “What do bees do all day?” This collection of research is presented in an approachable and extremely informative style. Photos and sketches accompany many of the bee-related facts.

Beekeeping for Dummies (by Howland Blackiston, $20, Wiley Publishing, Mar. 2009): For the novice beekeeper, this is an ideal manual. Blackiston addresses beginners’ apprehensions, how to build a hive, how to keep bees healthy and productive, what a beekeeper should know about Colony Collapse Disorder, and how to harvest honey. The book is probably not meant to be read cover-to-cover; rather, it’s more of a manual that can be referenced when needed.

The Backyard Beekeeper: An Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Keeping Bees in Your Yard and Garden (by Kim Flottum, $25, Quayside Publishing Group, Feb. 2010): Filled with colorful photos and enlightening diagrams, this beginner’s guide presents the basics regarding how to start out as a beekeeper. Although it doesn’t cover every detail of how to successfully manage a bee colony, the author lays the foundation for a solid understanding of where to begin and what to do when common predicaments arise.

The Honey Trail: In Pursuit of Liquid Gold and Vanishing Bees (by Grace Pundyk, $28, St. Martin's Press, Aug. 2010): Having traveled all over the world to research the state of bees, Pundyk offers a wide scope of knowledge about how honey and bees are being influenced by today’s environment. The travel narrative, written as a novel in the first person, examines how human interactions and changes in the natural world have affected bees. Each chapter focuses on a different area of our planet and is filled with personal stories and engaging details.

--Kristin Baldwin

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