What Bees Want: Beekeeping as Nature Intended

Countryman Pr. Feb. 2022. 256p. adapted by . ISBN 9781682686737. $25. NAT HIST
Beekeepers and beekeeping instructors Knilans (Animals as Teachers & Healers) and Freeman (Song of Increase) discuss the practice of “preservation beekeeping” or “natural beekeeping,” where the bees’ needs (not the beekeepers’) are prioritized. Knilans begins by chronicling what she learned during her early days of keeping honeybees, which involved multiple failed hives. The second part of the book is an overview of preservation beekeeping, in which domesticated bees are housed in conditions that mimic as closely as possible how they would live in the wild. It covers bee biology, choosing and locating hives, acquiring bees through swarms and bait hives, bee language, plantings and water features for bees, and what to do when a queen dies. The authors advocate a low-chemical approach and not disturbing the hives (backed with research) and discuss the hours of pleasure they receive from observing the activities of hives, their mystical connection to their bees, and how the bees have impacted their lives. At the end of the book are resources and appendices on species protection and Darwinian beekeeping.
VERDICT An informative, captivating look at natural beekeeping useful for backyard beekeepers and anyone fascinated by bees; however, not for those looking to maximize honey production.
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