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Honey Bee Hobbyist: The Care and Keeping of Bees (Hobby Farm) Paperback – December 21, 2010

4.8 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Norman Gary received his PhD degree in Apiculture (the scientific study and management of honeybees), a very rare degree in the field of Entomology. After 3 years of postdoctoral research at Cornell, he joined the faculty at the University of California (Davis Campus) in 1962 as a professor and research scientist, a career that would last 32 years. Norman has published over 100 scientific papers and chapters in 4 books. Beginning in the ‘60s, he developed a secondary career in the entertainment world as a “bee wrangler,” training his favorite insect to perform in action scenes in movies, television shows, and commercials. He did bee scenes in 18 movies, working with about 40 well-known movie stars, appeared as a guest in more than 70 television shows, did 6 commercials with bees. Norman is also an accomplished musician, playing professionally for 45 years, including his own Dixieland band, the Beez Kneez Jazz Band. He holds two Guinness world records for bee stunts, invented a patented bee apparatus and developed the “Thriller Bee Show” that was performed at fairs, festivals, and other events. He was a member of the Screen Actors Guild, American Federation of Radio and Television Artists, and 10 other professional organizations. Norman is currently retired, after raising two children with his wife in Citrus Heights, CA.
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Product Details

  • Series: Hobby Farm
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Hobby Farm Press; Original edition (December 21, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933958944
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933958941
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 8.2 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #833,448 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By R. Oliver on January 26, 2011
Format: Paperback
In order to get off to a good start at beekeeping, one must understand the honey bee (I've taught beekeeping classes for over 30 years). This is not a step-by-step set of instructions, nor does it promote any specific equipment or method, but rather offers the wisdom of a master beekeeper and bee scientist distilled into a very easy-to-read handbook. I'd consider this book to be a great first read about beekeeping, in order to get a factually accurate overview of what goes on in a bee hive, without getting bogged down in the details of equipment and specific management.
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Format: Paperback
I've been keeping bees on a small scale for 15 years and still learned a lot from this book. It is good to know some bee biology and at the same time how to have fun with your bees. Dr. Gary has a light hearted approach to beekeeping because that really is how he is. What a combination...science and fun! I urged anyone who wants to start beekeeping to read this first.
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Format: Paperback
If you are considering the world's sweetest hobby, or already have a hive, this will be a great book to start with. In a larger format (almost 10x8") and with more than 100 professionally done color photographs, the book is at the same time concise and attractive. It begins with whether you should start with this highly rewarding art or not, telling you everything you need to do (where to keep your hives, when to start, and down to city ordinances related to beekeeping) (Chapter 1). Chapter 2 and 3 deal with just enough honey bee anatomy and the hive structure so that the reader can be inaugurated into the starting of the beesiness -- whether with package bees, a swarm caught, or bees from friends (chapter 4). Chapter 5 deals with queen biology and the swarming process, something a beekeeper must know or s/he might lose 60% of his bees when it comes late spring. Then a nice and concise description of activities inside the hive, including nursing, food processing, pheromones, and yes, the famous honey bee dances that communicate among foragers the direction and distance of food sources (Chapter 6). Chapter 7 deals with out activities of bees, which includes foraging for nectar, pollen, water and propolis. How does the stinger work? how do you minimize the stinging incidents? The art of smoking the bees is discussed and of course, the highly notorious Africanized honey bees are dealt with in Chapter 8. Chapter 9 is the main focus of the book, being the longest chapter in the whole book. Its content is quite diverse, ranging from basic seasonal management, preventing robbing bees, feeding bees with sugar or pollen, to how to move bee hives, swarm control, requeening methods, to a brief mention of disease and pests.Read more ›
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Many books written by academics for laymen fall into one of two categories: they either use language and terms that are above the reader's head, or they are written in a condescending manner. Dr. Gary, who has impeccable credentials in the bee world, strikes a perfect balance in this book. Its accessible to all, and not preachy as some beginning guides can be. I've been associated with honey bees for years and still learned a couple of things: that newly hatched bees don't sting, and that honey bees are extremely docile away from their hives. This latter point is important in assuring the public that honey bees are not a nuisance or a threat to health. Too many communities today are considering anti-beekeeping ordinances, a concern to city-dwelling hobby beekeepers. This book, a homage to the honey bee and to the joys of beekeeping, should be required reading for those that rule on backyard beekeeping. Dr. Gary wisely refrains from giving recommendations for controlling the scourge of beekeeping today: the dreaded varroa mite. There are no sure-fire ways to control this pernicious pest, and recommendations are constantly changing; there are plenty of ways that the beginning beekeeper can access current reliable varroa control measures as long as he (she) is aware that the best control measure today might be totally different tomorrow. The book's appeal is enhanced by gorgeous illustrations and graphics that break up the text and make reading the entire book a pleasureable experience. By the time you finish you realize you've taken a short course in beekeeping 1A, without the drudgery that often accompanies school work. Highly recommened.
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I'm new to beekeeping and have only the knowledge that I've learned through internet research. This book provided a great foundation of basic knowledge for easing into the hobby, and I would recommend it for anyone who is just starting out.

However, for the Kindle edition, about 4 chapters into the book I found that words were missing and there were excessive typographical errors. I don't know if these mistakes exist in the original book, or if an Amazon typist got lazy half-way through when converting to a Kindle edition. At first the errors were manageable, but when whole words were missing I found myself trying to figure out what that word must have been in order to make sense of the sentence. It is for this reason alone that I am only giving 4 Stars as opposed to 5. I will say, however, that if you are to purchase any bee book in the Kindle format, this might be the one to choose; most of the content is text, and it's not really meant to be a thick reference book that you'd prefer to have in print (read it once or twice, and you probably won't read it again...you'll likely buy a more comprehensive beekeeping manual).

One other note, and this can be a pro or a con depending on how you look at it. The language used in the book was sometimes a bit too elementary. I'm not at all a snob about this, but I sometimes felt that this intended audience for the book was the local 4H club. I would have preferred slightly better in-depth explanations than simple language. However, I'm confident that my 7-year old can probably read and understand this; so, it's a good book for the whole family to start beekeeping.
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