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Beekeeping is a weird and oftentimes mysterious “hobby” that a lot of folks aren’t quite sure what to make of. While a growing number of us are recognizing the importance of bees as pollinators, we’re just a little confused why anyone would want to voluntarily be around thousands of bees on a regular basis. To be honest, I fall into that category. Between living in place where I could never have beehives, and being married to someone who is allergic to bees, I wasn’t sure this book would be for me. I mean, if I can’t keep bees, why bother reading a book about beekeeping? I’m happy to admit, I was completely wrong and thoroughly enjoyed Bee People.

Bee People And The Bugs They Love (available June 30, 2020) by master beekeeper, Frank Mortimer is a fun read that follows Frank’s journey from anxious beginner to expert. In the beginning, his fascination and curiosity draws him to the world of bees, sometimes seemingly against his better judgement. As he begins his bee journey, he’s not at all sure of how to navigate it and, to the delight of readers, shares these missteps and blunders with us. Throughout the book, Frank’s love for bees only continues to grow and we follow along as he becomes more and more entrenched in the secret life of bees, until he finds his stride as an expert beekeeper. He does an excellent job of weaving lessons, and facts, in with his stories so that his portrayal of beekeeping ultimately has a way of grabbing you and getting you to not only think that you could do it, but that you need to do it.

Some of the facts shared in the book that I particularly enjoyed and thought gave an interesting glimpse into the secret life of bees include –

  • “…it takes twelve bees lifetime work to sweeten the average cup of tea.”
  • “…bees visit 2 million flowers to make 1 pound of honey!”
  • “…someone is five hundred more times likely to be allergic to peanuts than to bee stings.”
  • “The most serious and destructive killer of our honeybees…is a parasitic mite called Varro destructor.”
  • “…honeybees can count to four, and they are the only invertebrate capable of counting.”
  • “…almond pollination in Northern California…is the largest pollination event in the world. Almonds are..100 percent dependent on the honeybee.”

Frank’s personal stories of his beekeeping journey are entertaining, well written, and will quickly have you happily lost in the world of bees. Even with all the mistakes and missteps that can happen with beekeeping (he mentions quite a few of them!), he paints an almost idyllic picture that will have a lot of readers giving the idea of trying beekeeping more consideration than they may have in the past.