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Read of the Week: The Book of Bees by Piotr Socha

How do bees communicate? What does a beekeeper do? Who survived being stung by 2,443 bees?

Hey, nature folk! This week I’ve been reading The Book of Bees and I’m ready to give you the lowdown, honey.

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First impressions

There are three first things you’ll notice about The Book of Bees:

  • It’s big
  • It’s bright
  • It’s seriously, really big

My initial reaction was ‘woah there’, and then a slight panic of ‘this is never going to fit on my bookshelves!’ But then I opened it… and fell in love.

With its bold illustrations, fun facts and amazing size, it’d be easy to think of this as a children’s book. As I started to read I was so happy to find that this fun book was written for adults too.

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What’s it all about?

The Book of Bees by Piotr Socha (Thames & Hudson) takes you through everything from bee biology, apiary dynamics, bee myth and folklore (honey is the drink of the gods after all), right through to the vast history of bee traditions from all across the globe.

I have learned so much from this book. In fact, just call me a bee expert. Did you know we’ve been stealing ideas from bee architecture for millennia? Or that that the Eiffel Tower’s design was built on the structure of a human thigh bone? OK… that’s not very bee-ish, but this book is a goldmine of interesting facts.

A force of nature

Bees are both more intelligent and more brutal than I could ever have imagined, and I love them all the more after finishing this book. After reading The Book of Bees, I will never look at honey in the same way again. It takes four to seven bees – working full-time for a whole season – to make just ONE spoonful of glorious, golden honey.

Every single bee is a genius and an evolutionary marvel.

For bee lovers and new-bees, this book is a fantastic gift for everyone who loves nature and wants to save it.


Be-e a helping hand

Spring is just a couple of days away, and we all know this snow is going to disappear tomorrow, right? (Right??) It’s definitely time to welcome in the bees!

While numbers have dipped, it’s great to hear there so many bee success stories of people bringing them back to their patch. Here are some top tips to make your garden the buzzing place to be:

  1. Fill your flowerbeds with crocuses, sunflowers, heather and brightly-coloured plants. These will shout out to bees so they know to get them while they’re hot!
  2. Make a bee hotel. It’s easier than you’d think: cut a plastic bottle in half and fill it with bamboo sticks, twigs and reeds to give solitary bees a cosy home.
  3. It might surprise you, but bees need vegetables as much as we do. Bees require a variety of food to survive. Your French runner beans will do just the trick (and they’ll pollinate them for you too!).
  4. Go wild. Put the mower away for a couple of months. Bees love to shelter in overgrown grass. It’s great for wildlife, and gives your garden some rustic charm…
  5. And finally, if you see a bee that’s struggling, give it some reviving sugar water to help it on its way.

Have fun!

Find your copy of The Book of Bees at Thames & Hudson, £16.95

**Read my other bee and nature book reviews here!

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Jennifer is currently available for commissions and can be contacted here.

Specialities: British wildlife I.D. (birds, mammals and wildflowers), the natural world, allotment life, witchcraft writing, Shamanism, Paganism, New Age, veganism, eco-living.

Formats: Copywriting, magazine journalism, blogs, articles, long-form copy, newsletters.

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