First things first, bees are wonderful. It’s hard to imagine an insect more familiar and beloved than our dear Anthophila clade. We have records of keeping them since at least Ancient Greek or Egyptian times, which predates the domestication of even horses and silk moths. Our longstanding fascination continues today, especially in non-fiction writing.
A Short History Of The Honey Bee: Humans, Flowers, And Bees In The Eternal Chase For Honey by E. Readicker-Henderson takes a reader on a brief but beautiful tour of the tasty end-result of a hive’s careful pollination work. This is a great coffee table book, with lavish high-definition close-ups of wings and stingers and fuzzy little thoraxes.
Plan Bee: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About The Hardest-Working Creatures On The Planet by Susan Brackney takes things in a more rigorous direction, focusing on the absolutely essential role of bees in human agricultural efforts (they’re responsible for pollinating more than 90% of the crops we eat!).
Lastly, bees can be saved (in part by you!). Hirsch uses this to great effect in her above title to end things on an optimistic note, and she’s not alone in her good faith concerning conservation efforts. Victory Gardens For Bees: A DIY Guide To Saving The Bees by Lori Weidenhammer is a classic take on the most simple thing that can be done for bees: more flowers! Especially native flowers to encourage local pollinators. This is perfect for anyone looking to set up a more bee-friendly environment in one’s literal and idiomatic backyard!
If your inclinations are slightly more industrial (in a cottage-industry-type way), I will once again recommend The Bee Book by Fergus Chadwick, Steve Alton, Emma Sarah Tennant, Bill Fitzmaurice, and Judy Earl! This is one I touched upon in a blog post many moons again about cosy reads, and this is a warm and friendly take on properly running an apiary! The beautiful illustrations take you through different types of bees and give tips on what to do with all the delicious honey. Keeping bees is truly its own reward!
And of course, there are ways to support beekeeping efforts in the community. WPL introduced our teaching beehive last summer, and we are looking forward to a new season of programs and workshops this year, along with a brand new hive of bumbling buddies! Keep your eyes on our social pages for more information on this exciting initiative. We’d love to get the buzz going this World Bee Day!