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The Backyard Beekeeper

The Backyard BeekeeperYou can probably guess which book I went for first --- the one subtitled "An Absolute Beginner's Guide to Keeping Bees in Your Yard and Garden."  I'd been vaguely considering trying to take a beekeeping course before our bees arrived, and I'm thrilled to be able to feed my antisocial side and instead read a book chock full of photos.

The only downside of the book is that its subtitle is accurate --- it's pretty simple and doesn't introduce more contentious topics I've read about on the internet (like whether to use a queen excluder or not).  But after reading The Backyard Beekeeper, I still felt like I had spent a week walking around with an expert.

I've yet to read the last two chapters, which offer recipes for making lotions, soap, and food out of beeswax and honey.  I'll save those to explore once we start to roll in honey and beeswax!

I'll leave you with one of the more rivetting scenes from the book.  A new queen has matured and flies away from her hive to mate with drones from neighboring colonies.  She rises 30 to 300 feet above a clearing and "emits an alluring come-hither pheremone...inviting a whole slew of drones to follow.  The fastest drone catches her from behind...and...inserts his reproductive apparatus.  The act stuns and seems to paralyze the drone.  His body flips backward, leaving his mating organs inside the queen.  He falls and dies.  These organs, called the mating sign, are removed by the workers when the queen returns to her hive."

Hope that wasn't too intense for this family friendly blog!  (Though bee sex is probably less shocking that chicken butchering.)

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