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Honeybee: Lessons from an Accidental Beekeeper Paperback – March 2, 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Nine years ago, from her home in Connecticut, Marchese, then a creative director for a giftware company, became a beekeeper and honey entrepreneur. In this engaging, delightfully informative work, she recounts how visits to the apiaries of the neighboring community's Back Yard Beekeepers overcame her initial trepidation of bees as she learned about the industry and craftsmanship of these insects and became bowled over by the taste of fresh honey. Step by step she explains how she got started as a beekeeper, from studying bee anatomy and hive organization, to ordering equipment online such as her Langstroth hive, a smoker (to calm the bees while working) and protective clothing. She had to learn to pour her three pounds of live Italian honeybees into the hive (the first time she got stung six times), while carefully introducing the all-powerful queen. Marchese is fascinated by the marvels of bee behavior—pollen foraging, dances, swarming—and imparts as well a goodly bit of bee history. She offers plenty of her own honey-beeswax concoctions, both edible and cosmetic, with excellent appendixes on the varietals of honey. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

C. Marina Marchese is the founder and owner of Red Bee Honey, which sells honey and natural products to gourmet food shops and fine restaurants all over the United States. (www.redbee.com)  Certified by the American Apitherapy Society, she has trained as a honey judge at the University of Georgia and serves on the board of the Back Yard Beekeepers Association of Connecticut.  Marina has written for Bee Culture magazine and The Journal of AmericanApitherapy Society, and Red Bee Honey was the cover story of the American Bee Journal in 2004.  A graduate of the School of Visual Arts in New York City, she is also an award-winning illustrator and designer.  Marina lives and tends bees in Weston, Connecticut.    
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Black Dog & Leventhal (March 2, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1579128734
  • ISBN-13: 978-1579128739
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,015,645 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I have to agree with the other one star review that this book is poorly written, inaccurate, and filled with numerous typographical errors. The book is also disorganized and, at many times, the book reads less like a tome written by someone with first-hand experience and more like a high school research paper in which the source of all of the information is Wikipedia.

For those expecting an accurate, informative account of honeybees and beekeeping, it appears that there may be other resources out there (admittedly, I am not an expert in this area). For those expecting to read a humbling - or perhaps even humorous - account of a NYC jet-setter trying out a career at the polar opposite end of her then career this is not the book you are looking for.

Finally, while not necessarily related to the book, I was extremely disappointed to learn that the majority of all of Red Bee's honey is not locally harvested from Marchese's own hives but rather is collected and marketed under the Red Bee name.
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Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed this book very much! Have read it twice so far, and sure to read it over again many more times as the years go by! It's nice to read a book on a fellow beekeepers experiences instead of the usual instructional type books. There are many of them out there, and I seem to be collecting them all, but books of this nature are a much more enjoyable read to me! A very nice job by the author!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was not the best book I have read in this genre, but I did enjoy parts of it. Part of the problem is that the books did not seem to know what it wanted to be. It started out as a memoir on how the author got into beekeeping, then it flirted with being a beekeeping manual without quite enough details. For a while I felt that it was an advertisement for the author's line of natural bee products that I am not familiar with, and then it turned into a review of honeys around the world with a pitch that honey should be as competitive as fine wines. Any of those books would have been fine, but the odd mixture of incomplete parts left me feeling that it was not well laid out, and it definitely needed more editing. There is an interesting index of world famous honeys in the back, and it does mention my personal favorite Tasmanian Leatherwood Honey (perhaps because I have not tried many of the others, but Leatherwood is excellent) so I liked that part.

I expected the book to be more like the excellent, though obscure _Beeing: Life, Motherhood, and 180,000 Honeybees_ by Rosanne Daryl Thomas which I read a few years ago and absolutely loved (5 stars), but this book was not nearly so inspiring. If you liked this book, please find a copy of _Beeing_ as it is a much better book in this genre. If you want a better book on the different types of honey in the world, I recommend _The Honey Trail: In Pursuit of Liquid Gold and Vanishing Bees_ by Grace Pundyk which is a fascinating travel tale sampling the honeys of the world and where they come from with many more details than this book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Speaking as a beginning beekeeper myself, this book is not worth its price, either in Kindle format or in print. It is -
Not informative. There are many other much better books for beginning beekeepers (and many of them are cheaper, too). I concur with reviewers that liken the books information sections to a high school research paper.
Not entertaining. I wanted a memoir of the author's first year or so of keeping bees. There's very little of that, and what there is, is not very interesting.
Offensive. All of her recipes specify using HER BRAND of honey. There's nothing special about her honey, except to her. This book feels like a thinly veiled advertisement for her product, and, having paid more than twelve dollars for the Kindle book, I'm pretty well offended by her insistence that I buy her honey, too.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book to read for our Garden Club's book club. It is absolutely fantastic! The writer does an excellent job in educating the reader all about bees, honey, beehives, and a wide variety of bee related information in the form of a very interesting story. Once I started reading I didn't want to put it down. I was expecting a boring book about bees and was happily surprised. Our book club will meet later this month (Jan 2012) and since we're in Connecticut we've arranged for the author to come to our meeting where we will discuss her book and she'll sign our books. I can't wait!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
After reading this book: I WANT TO BE A BEEKEEPER! She makes it sound so awesome! I once raised 2000 rabbits. I know I can raise bees. But I would like to start with some fresh honey. I'm planning my hive for mother's day!
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By B.E.N. on December 3, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm reading this book to learn more about bees and beekeeping since my sister and brother-in-law are involved in it. I'm learning from it but so far it's a rather dull read. I haven't deleted it from my Kindle since I want to finish it, but I find myself going to other books first.
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Format: Paperback
I am a new beekeeper and have had the opportunity to read seven books on beekeeping in the past month. I can say with absolute certainty that this is the most motivating, informative, and easy to understand book on beekeeping that I have read as of yet. The author inspires a wanna-bee beekeeper to actually take the steps to embrace the hobby. Upon reading this book, I have started my first hive and have also managed to catch a wild swarm. I am completely hooked on beekeeping and can see many, many more hives in my foreseeable future!
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