Letters From the Hive by Stephen Buchmann

Letters from the HiveRunning with the bulls may be better known, but the author of this book, entomologist and professor at University of Arizona at Tucson, Stephen Buchmann, has run with bees while they swarm. He writes, “The bees are gentle, their stomachs full of honey for the trip, and they are not in the mood to sting.” I only wish he had also described the sound, smell, and touch of the tiny furry bodies on his skin as he struggled to keep up with bee speed, 15 mph.

Though his style is prosaic, Buchmann gives us a fine, brief history of bees and honey. He begins with the biology of the bee and how bees make honey. He moves on to honey hunts in prehistory, beekeeping beginning in India 4,000 years ago, how honey was traded and then declined with the advent of sugar cane, the variety of bee products (beeswax, bee bread, royal jelly, propolis) and their uses by bees and the rest of us, and a fascinating chapter on different types of honey, their color, scent and taste. Buchmann makes reference to the plight of wild and domesticated bees due to habitat loss, diseases, and pesticides and has a list of things we can do to assist the 4,000 species in the US.

Reviewed by Lily

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One Response to Letters From the Hive by Stephen Buchmann

  1. Sara van Dyck says:

    A fascinating book I read some time ago. We often read adventures of scientists who research gorillas or tigers, so the subject of bees is surprising and rewarding. And this is a good book for Eugene bee-fanciers.

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