Thursday, June 10, 2010

Book Review: Ted Hooper Bees and Honey.

Ted Hooper's Bees and Honey is a logical successor to Roger Morse. My edtion was published in 1979 by Rodale Press. They're the people that bring you Organic Gardening and a whole host of other natural lifestyle publications. This book is considerably more complete than Morse's work.

As an example of this, there is a 3-page section called "Finding the Queen." I think this is the only book I have ever seen that has a section by that name. Many operations in bee keeping begin with the sentence, "Find the queen, then do manipulation xyz."

Now, this is much easier said than done. Imagine 50,000 bees in a hive, or even 20,000, and now think that maybe 4-500 bees are in the air and you've got a hive 50% taken apart. Finding the queen is a whole operation in itself. Priscilla and I see a queen in about 5% of our hive inspections, though we're mostly looking for evidence of a queen and not the queen herself. I like that Ted Hooper saw fit to address this oversight of so many bee keeping volumes.

As such, Hooper's Bees and Honey is a good middle-ground book for the beekeeper who's not a beginner, but also not a seasoned pro. This is pretty much where Priscilla and I are.

Bees and Honey is a pretty complete volume. It has many clear illustrations, a lot of information, and a good complete index. It's a very good "serious" book for the beekeeper who is becoming advanced.

I'd fault it only in that it was written in England and published there first. This is only a problem in that descriptions of manipulations of hives are complicated, because there are several types of hives in use in England. Bees and Honey focuses more on the standard hive we use here in the United States than other English volumes do, but it's still annoying to me to have to wade through the nonsense about the British National Hive and other overly complex gear that seemed commonplace there.

In all, Hooper is complete enough that he rivals many other stand-alone volumes combined into one place. His section on queen rearing is mostly as complete as Roger Morse's book on queen rearing; his section on swarm prevention as long as Snelgrove's book on the topic, and considerably more modern.

Still, I tend to reach for Roger Morse or Richard Bonny since both authors kept bees in New England, and not Jolly Old England. Looking this book over again has made me think I should consult Hooper more.

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