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I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here. Along the way, I've passed a number of certification levels and am now a!
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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Sue Hubbell and A Book of Bees

I decided to read a bee book a month in 2008. My January 2008 book is A Book of Bees by Sue Hubbell.

As a commercial beekeeper in the Missouri Ozarks, she takes us on her own journey from winter through the year with her bees. The book is chatty and feels like a conversation in the author's kitchen.

In the course of the book, we are carried through all the intricacies of her thoughts about raising bees, building bee equipment, managing the queens in her hives. I love the way she writes because it reflects the way I feel when I manage my bees. She talks to her bees, even though they can't hear biologically. I find I often also talk while I am working with the bees.

Note: Hubbell says in the book that bees can't hear and that probably was based on the knowledge at the time she was writing, but as a result of a comment below, I found the research that honeybees can hear by way of an organ at the pedicel of the antenna.

She talks about the peaceful way she feels in the presence of the hive. I feel comforted by the slow pace that we have to use as beekeepers to avoid increasing the intrusion on the hive. And I love to sit and watch the bees from my sunporch - the amazing life and activity of the beehive are intriguing to observe from that vantage point.

Some parts of A Book of Bees make me laugh out loud. She quotes EB White's poem, "Song of the Queen Bee" which is funny from start to finish. I'd type the whole thing for you, but you can find it on one of my favorite bee blogs by clicking here.

As a side note: I bought my copy of the book used and it came with a 4X6 head shot of Antonio Banderas tucked in the back. I assume the previous owner had used it as a bookmark, so I have also marked my place with the picture. I'm sure the former reader simply liked to look at him, but I found myself wondering if he were in any way linked with bees. A Google search resulted in finding two things:

10 comments:

  1. I am actually reading the book as well, and it is an enjoyable read. I am hoping to get my wife to read it (and thereby be interested in working with the bees). BTW, commercial is "Nasonex" not nasonov (that's the gland and scent that the worker bees give off!)

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  2. Whoops! I'll fix it to Nasonex - shows you how often I've ever seen the commercial!

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  3. Anonymous10:44 AM

    Bees actually can hear, and sound plays a crucial role in the waggle dance used to communicate the location of nectar sources.

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  4. The book was written in 1988 and was not informed by current research, but I have corrected the post above and thank you for your helpful information.

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  5. Hi Linda

    I to enjoyed this book, its great to `hear` beekeeping through another`s mind, so many ideas and thoughts similar to mine ...

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  6. Anonymous3:42 PM

    I read this book a few years ago and then again this year. It is one of my favorites. The author is a special women and a pioneer for women beekeepers.

    Glad you loved it as well

    Annette from Placerville California

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  7. Sue Hubbell is a wonderful writer. I so enjoy your blog, Linda. Great stuff!

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  8. Anonymous4:27 PM

    I am a new bee keeper in Republic, MO which is at the gateway to the Ozark Mountains. I have spent a great deal of time in the area and loved reading the book and knowing that the hills her bees roamed are the same ones my roam today. It is a good book even if you are not a bee person.

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  9. I just found this book and am really enjoying it. Her writing style is lovely.

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  10. I love this book and refer to it often......I have given it to many new beekeepers & also my bee mentor who had not read it.....I love her writing style, her clear affection for her bees and for nature & her sense of humor....Your blog brings Sue Hubbell to mind which is a great compliment to you! Thanks for mentioning this book.....Hopefully, many more people wlll read it now.

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