Jack Mingo has written a delightful – and useful – book about being a beekeeper. Mingo is a beekeeper himself and he knows “All the Buzz about Being Resilient, Collaborative, Industrious, Generous, and Sweet – Straight from the Hive.” The book is arranged in short pages and mentions the hundreds of native bees which live in different places but it concentrates on honeybees.
I quickly turned to the three pages “How Great Thou Art, Reverend Langstroth,” who invented “bee space.” Before Langstroth invented ‘bee space’ bee skeps were made of straw and the bees fill in all the empty spaces with honey and propolis. This was not an ideal situation because you are not getting all your honey. Nowadays you no longer see skeps, you see the beekeepers’ wooden boxes where the bees fill the thin sheets of wax to save the honey, make more bees, make a business of selling honey.
The book has fascinating information including the light sensor, ocelli (a Latin word), of which there are three, on top of the honeybees eyes. The ocelli help the bees know when they are going up, and where they are, and when they are navigating. The book is full of honeybee information, about the quality of honey in some stores, and why the honeybees do a figure eight dance. Each bit of information about the honeybees appears on 2 or 3 pages, like Bees Are A Bad Role Model for Communities and Why Bees Make the Best Pet. We may smile while we read, but this is all good information and advice.
This book, Pollinators of Native Plants by Heather Holm does not limit the pollinators to honeybees. There are also chapters about Butterflies, Moths, Wasps, Flies and Beetles. These beneficial insects do not make honey but they do know how to pollinate flowers.
This book is rich with information about pollinating creatures beginning with Chapter One and basic information about the process of pollination. Then Chapter Two is about pollinators – Bees, Wasps, Beetles, Butterflies and Moths, and Flies. Chapter Three is about Pollinator Conservation and the different types of landscapes that are available.
Chapter Four Prairie brings us a list of many plants, where they grow, the flowering period, their habitat, and their range. For each plant there is information about the bees or the other insects that will pollinate.
Columbine is another Prairie plant, but Chapter Five is the Woodland Edge, and Chapter Six is devoted to the Wetland Edge.
In addition there are pages about Native Plant Interactions, Flowering Timelines, a Glossary showing the shapes of various plants, as well as Bees, Wasps, Butterflies, Moths, Flies and Beetles.
Heather Holm is the author of four books: Pollinators of Native Plants (2014), Bees (2017), Wasps (2021), and Common Native Bees of the Eastern United States (2022). Both Bees and Wasps have won multiple book awards including the American Horticultural Society Book Award (2018 and 2022 respectively).