Not so “Newbee”: Book review by our resident beekeeper, who has navigated her way into the hobby through research, networking, and hands-on learning

Read the latest book recommendation from our resident beekeeper at Wolfe’s Neck Farm. Jen added this new hobby to her job responsibilities just last year, and her work has helped to support a declining bee population and promote sustainability on the farm.

“The Backyard Beekeeper: An Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Keeping Bees in Your Yard and Garden,” by Kim Flottum.795894_540530-backyard

We read “The Backyard Beekeeper” for a wonderful beginner beekeeping course I took at The Honey Exchange in Portland. The book was fascinating and helpful as I began my journey into beekeeping, and it has continued to serve as a resource as I enter my second season.

As a complete “newbee,” I appreciated the easy-to-read and informative text on everything from honeybee anatomy, biology, breeds and behavior to beekeeping equipment and assembly. The book also covers a variety of beekeeping practices in-depth – from the basics such as lighting a smoker and managing a newly arrived package of bees, to the more advanced challenges such as working with a swarm and troubleshooting honeybee pests and diseases. “The Backyard Beekeeper” is instructive.

Beyond that, it’s been really interesting learning about the honeybee lifecycle and how honeybees communicate. The bees convey information about the location and value of a food source by “dancing” in the hive, and through this dance, other bees are able to determine where a specific food source is in relation to the hive and the sun. Isn’t that amazing? If you’re considering keeping honeybees, I highly recommend “The Backyard Beekeeper.”

Read the full article, including Jen’s review of “Fruitless Fall: The Collapse of The Honey Bee and the Coming Agricultural Crisis,” by Rowan Jacobsen, in the Portland Press Herald.

Stop by Wolfe’s Neck Farm to see our bees at work! You can find their hives at the start of the trail head.

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