Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Research

Whenever I start a new project, I research it obsessively. (Some people would say it's overkill!) I need to know exactly what I'm getting getting into so that all angles of the project can be anticipated. I take my responsibilities toward other living creatures seriously and do not want to be caught in a situation where I can't take care of their needs as well as my own and my family's.

Perhaps in the future, I'll discuss and review the wealth of information an aspiring beekeeper can find on the web. Today, I'll simply discuss some of the books I've read over the last few weeks.

  • John Vivian's Keeping Bees. I found this book at my local public library and it was the first book I read on bee keeping. This highly accessible book provided me with a general overview of the process of bee management and an introduction to some of the sensitizing concepts I'll have to keep in mind as I continue future research.
  • Kim Flottum's The Backyard Beekeeper. I have no plans to become a commercial beekeeper! I simply want one or two hives in my backyard which I can co-manage with the bees and observe their behavior. I don't want to extract large amounts of honey or beeswax and become a "bee tycoon". This book provided me with just that type of focus, especially in the areas of hive location and size.
  • Ross Conrad's Natural Beekeeping. I am committed to sustainable living and environmental responsibility and want my beekeeping practices to reflect those values. I want to approach beekeeping remembering that bees did not come into existence for the purpose of providing honey and beeswax to humanity but are "equal members" in the community of life. Someday I might write a post comparing the principles found in this book to those found in Daniel Quinn's novel Ishmael.
  • Langstroth's Hive and the Honey-bee. This is a "classic beekeeper's manual" written by the 19th century inventor of modern hive management, Rev. L.L. Langstroth. The love and enthusiasm Langstroth had for his bees is simply contagious and he still has many things to teach the modern beekeeper. His careful observations and scientific humility are great lessons often missing today.

I am currently in the middle of reading a few other books on bees as well and will include a short review of them as I finish each. In the future, I hope to read a few books on queen-rearing and will report back on those as well.

In the meantime, do any readers have any other suggestions for this novice beekeeper?

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