Michal Paszkiewicz

review: Wisdom for Beekeepers

Having recently become very interested in bees, when I spotted this book, I just had to buy it. With my current consumption of honey being about 1l/month (I have a very sweet tooth) and my love for mead far exceeding that for beer (if you don't like mead, you've probably only tried bad ones), keeping some bees seems like a project I should definitely consider.

Wisdom for Beekeepers is a collection of 500 tips for successful beekeeping (as it says on the cover). It covers starting up and buying a hive and colony, pollination, the biology and behaviour of bees, colony management, ailments and diseases of bees and how to deal with them and honey crop and byproducts and their uses. The tips are presented nicely, with lots of pretty bee-related doodles. However, there are only a few actual diagrams (such as that of the hive equipment, the honey extraction cycle and the body of a worker bee). I was a bit disappointed that the pictures are designed to be attractive instead of providing more information to the reader. Having read the book, I am unsure whether I could tell the difference between two kinds of bees, unless one was a queen (I'd just assume that was the bigger one). The tips themselves provide a lot of information, but without seeing any diagrams, the reader is left to research what the author is actually writing about.

I definitely learnt a lot about beekeeping from the book, but considering my previous knowledge only included that gained from shortly visiting a bee farm as a tourist, that is unsurprising. It felt as if the book had not been reviewed comprehensively - some of the tips contradicted each other. Other tips were repeated multiple times throughout the book - had the author run out of tips and needed a way to make it to the goal of 500?

Overall, Wisdom for Beekeepers was a pleasant read, but I think I was expecting more from a book that had so many tips. Maybe my expectations were too high, but I definitely feel that the author could have achieved more with the material he already had in the book (e.g. some more detailed diagrams or some actual photographs of bees and hives). The book did however make me realise that beekeeping is more work than I previously imagined. It did also manage to motivate me to see if I can pursue the goal further. Next time I see another book about keeping, it's going to be bought and maybe the project will get started. In the meantime, I would give this book a rating of:

**

published: Sun Jan 22 2017

Michal Paszkiewicz's face
Michal Paszkiewicz reads books, solves equations and plays instruments whenever he isn't developing software for Transport For London. All views on this site are the author's views only and do not necessarily represent the views of TfL.