About the Book
The subtitle of this book is "How One Man and Half a Billion Honey Bees Help Feed America" and that is really what the book is about. The author profiles one of the largest (and most interesting!) beekeepers in the US and shows how vitally important bees are to each and every one of us. She also presents the myriad problems facing beekeepers and their bees in today's world.
Why I Read It
This book was in the swag bag I received at the Harper Collins cocktail party at BEA earlier this year. The title and the cover intrigued me so I was excited to bring it home with me.
I LOVED this book! Who knew bees (and their keepers) could be so fascinating?! And I honestly had NO CLUE about the massive numbers of bees being moved around the United States in order to pollinate all the farms that stock all the stores across the country.
I was marking pages left and right as I read this book. Here are some of the tidbits that fascinated me:
- About 20 years ago a bee disease killed off almost all of the feral bees in the US - today there is approx 2% of the pre-1987 feral bee population, and those 2% are likely escapees from beekeepers' hives.
- Due to various diseases in the current bee population, the Western honey bee would not survive without the intervention of beekeepers.
- Most farms and orchards WILL NOT produce crops if they don't contract with beekeepers to pollinate their fields/trees. The country's mono-crop landscape cannot support wild pollinators, even if there were enough in the local area to do all the pollinating. And the addition of pesticides makes this an even larger problem.
- Did you know that, by US Postal Code, the Postal Service is required to deliver live bees by mail? Fascinating!