FREE READ ✓ The Beekeeper's Lament How One Man and Half a Billion Honey Bees Help Feed America

The Beekeeper's Lament How One Man and Half a Billion Honey Bees Help Feed America

REVIEW The Beekeeper's Lament How One Man and Half a Billion Honey Bees Help Feed America

“You’ll never think of bees their keepers or the fruits and nuts of their laborsthe same way again” Trevor Corson author of The Secret Life of LobstersAward winning journalist Hannah Nordhaus tells the remarkable story of John Miller one of America’s foremost migratory beekeepers. This was without doubt a very enjoyable book to read even though it wasn’t much of a science book If you want to find about bees themselves read The Buzz About Bees which I think is unbeaten as an exploration of the nature of bees Here you won’t really even get a feel for what a superorganism is or how individual bees really aren’t animals in their own right However what you will find a lot about is beekeepers and their complication ridden businessI was amazed at the complexity of industrial scale beekeeping in the US – how for example the bee people are paid large sums by almond growers to transport their hives into the almond groves to perform the pollination then have to move out again swiftly as there is no food at all for the bees once the blossoms have gone This whole idea of driving thousands of hives across America is one I simply hadn’t realized existedSimilarly it was fascinating to read about all the difficulties industrial beekeepers have faced Like most people I was vaguely aware of the ‘disappearing bees’ when Colony Collapse Disorder struck but not just how delicate bees were and how afflicted by other disasters particular a nasty mite that destroys them wholesaleEually along with that vague awareness I thought bees were in danger of disappearing – and they would if left to their own devices – but so effective is the industrial process that bee numbers are being kept up by setting up new colonies with remarkable rapidityThis is without doubt a very readable book though I do find Hannah Nordhaus’s writing style a little self consciously arty There are bits of science that you’ll find out along the way but it’s much about the industry and its ups and downs something that’s fascinating in its own right RecommendedReview first published on wwwpopularsciencecouk and reproduced with permission

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And the myriad and mysterious epidemics threatening American honeybee populations In luminous razor sharp prose Nordhaus explores the vital role that honeybees play in American agribusiness the maintenance of our food chain and the very future of the nation With an intimate focus and inc. As befits one who seeks to be a man of wealth and taste if I have to choose between them the former I aspire to live on a vast estate leading the life of a gentleman farmer That doesn’t seem to be the immediate future but we do have enough land to keep some chickens and grow some apples This year we are planning to add some honeybees so I figured I should educate myself before taking the first concrete steps The Beekeeper’s Lament a 2010 book by Hannah Nordhaus which combines talk of bees and beekeeping with modest philosophy about both seemed like a good place to start I was not disappointed—I learned a lot and I also found food for thought about modern agricultural and eating practicesNordhaus weaves together three threads the occupation of commercial beekeeper the agricultural industries that modern beekeeping largely exists to support and the biology of bees including at the end information about what most people are most interested in honey As part of this project I have so far also read two other books the lightweight but not worthless Keeping Bees with Ashley English and a hyper technical work The Beekeeper’s Handbook Others are in the mail; I’m a big believer in getting book knowledge before embarking on getting practical knowledge My wife and I are also taking a daylong class from the local beekeeper’s association From all these things I figure we should be able to start our project without screwing up too badly so I am not very worried about our own beekeeping though doubtless there will be challengesI think beekeeping is something both liberals and conservatives can get behind Not corporatist globalist Republicans and Democrats though—they no doubt think we should all stick to our comparative advantages and buy only cheap honey cut with corn syrup from Wuhan using cash earned from slaving away at some soul sucking job that adds no actual value to society thereby maximizing global GDP the Omega Point of humanity Other than for such morons though preserving nature eating healthy and better grasping our place in the natural world should all be apolitical even in these days of overpoliticizationThe focus of the book is a North Dakota based commercial beekeeper named John Miller a Mormon whose grandfather Nephi Ephraim Miller started the family tradition of beekeeping and also invented migratory beekeeping where bees are moved to follow flowers as they bloom He was a smart man; among other wisdom he passed down was “A successful manager watches all details because the honey business is a detail business if success is to be obtained” Daymond John would agree Nordhaus originally wrote a magazine article centered on Miller and later expanded it into this book While other beekeepers appear like all American agriculture it is an industry with ever fewer but larger scale participants Miller is used as an exemplar for the type—in short mostly men with somewhat difficult personalities who like to do things as they want to do them and who are in it less for the money though it is a business than because it’s what they want to doThe reader learn The Expat Diaries honeybee populations In luminous razor sharp prose Nordhaus explores the vital role that The Hired Man honeybees play in American agribusiness the maintenance of our food chain and the very future of the nation With an intimate focus and inc. As befits one who seeks to be a man of wealth and taste if I Death of a Ghost have to choose between them the former I aspire to live on a vast estate leading the life of a gentleman farmer That doesn’t seem to be the immediate future but we do The Monk of Mokha have enough land to keep some chickens and grow some apples This year we are planning to add some Gods and Generals (The Civil War Trilogy, honeybees so I figured I should educate myself before taking the first concrete steps The Beekeeper’s Lament a 2010 book by Hannah Nordhaus which combines talk of bees and beekeeping with modest philosophy about both seemed like a good place to start I was not disappointed—I learned a lot and I also found food for thought about modern agricultural and eating practicesNordhaus weaves together three threads the occupation of commercial beekeeper the agricultural industries that modern beekeeping largely exists to support and the biology of bees including at the end information about what most people are most interested in Perfect Ponies 3 in 1 honey As part of this project I The Pillars of the Earth (Kingsbridge, have so far also read two other books the lightweight but not worthless Keeping Bees with Ashley English and a Sigil (Irdesi Empire hyper technical work The Beekeeper’s Handbook Others are in the mail; I’m a big believer in getting book knowledge before embarking on getting practical knowledge My wife and I are also taking a daylong class from the local beekeeper’s association From all these things I figure we should be able to start our project without screwing up too badly so I am not very worried about our own beekeeping though doubtless there will be challengesI think beekeeping is something both liberals and conservatives can get behind Not corporatist globalist Republicans and Democrats though—they no doubt think we should all stick to our comparative advantages and buy only cheap Death of a Ghost (Albert Campion Mystery, honey cut with corn syrup from Wuhan using cash earned from slaving away at some soul sucking job that adds no actual value to society thereby maximizing global GDP the Omega Point of Why Arent They Shouting? humanity Other than for such morons though preserving nature eating Why I Went Back healthy and better grasping our place in the natural world should all be apolitical even in these days of overpoliticizationThe focus of the book is a North Dakota based commercial beekeeper named John Miller a Mormon whose grandfather Nephi Ephraim Miller started the family tradition of beekeeping and also invented migratory beekeeping where bees are moved to follow flowers as they bloom He was a smart man; among other wisdom Horse Sense (Saddle Club, he passed down was “A successful manager watches all details because the Wild Horses (Saddle Club, honey business is a detail business if success is to be obtained” Daymond John would agree Nordhaus originally wrote a magazine article centered on Miller and later expanded it into this book While other beekeepers appear like all American agriculture it is an industry with ever fewer but larger scale participants Miller is used as an exemplar for the type—in short mostly men with somewhat difficult personalities who like to do things as they want to do them and who are in it less for the money though it is a business than because it’s what they want to doThe reader learn

Hannah Nordhaus à 1 FREE READ

Isive reporting in a book perfect for fans of Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation Michael Pollan’s The Botany of Desireand John McPhee’s Oranges Nordhaus’s stunning exposé illuminates one the most critical issues facing the world todayoffering insight information and ultimately hop. A few years ago I was reading bits and pieces about the mystery of the disappearing honeybee when it came up in the news though as with most things the idea of yet another thing going horribly wrong just kind of overwhelmed me and I let it slide by lest my head explodeFast forward upon reading a random article on beekeeping the other day and finding myself fascinated with the whole affair I decided it was time to pick up a few books on the creature I really didn't think I'd enjoy this admittedly I've read way too many books of the variety in which a journalist tags along and reports on someone's life and their role in the focal subject and I've been shying away from that style lately But once Nordhaus sets the context of the primary beekeeper John Miller he is only drawn upon to supplement the wider story of bees and beekeeping And with great effect His term for the aggressive Africanized bee had me giggling behavior challenged bees as I imagined the bees akin to toddlers running amok in need of shots of ritalin joke and social skills classesIn fact this is currently my favorite style of non fiction book when I want to learn something while also hoping to really enjoy the subject At first I was eager to read about JUST honeybee science and behavior but Nordhaus covers all angles expertly She takes a broad scope covering each topic just enough before transitioning into yet another fascinating aspect Beekeeping history science the environmental politics surrounding pollination monocropping pesticides the contracting of what in nature is a completely natural event the difficult life of a beekeeper bee health or lack thereof the recent scourge of the varroa mite destroyed all feral bee colonies in the US colony collapse disorder honey types means of uality identification and the lack of US government regulation and classification pure honey may be up to 80 percent corn syrupIn addition the history of the bee is an example of how we meddle with and try to control nature for benefit and profit only for it to backfire spectacularly From bringing them over in the first place they are not native to North America to the effort by seedless citrus companies in California to institute bee no fly zones as pollination results in seeded ruined fruit Efforts over the centuries to impregnate ueen bees from clamping the vagina open for insemination to crafting a tiny silver penis I cringe I cringe and I can't help but be slightly affronted for the bee whether in gender solidarity or the lengths they went through to accomplish this I do not know Inbred varroa mite resistant drones that can head off infestations but suck at everything else a bee should do Lawns green deserts monocropping and feeding bees corn syrup while robbing them of honey and the theorizing that the result is malnourished bees that are likely to die en masseMy semi obsession with becoming a beekeeper may pass but I'll certainly be paying attention rather than vaguely deciding I like the flavor of clover honey over that of desert bloom honey In addition I'll never look at my endless tubes of Burt's Bees chapstic Little Answer hop. A few years ago I was reading bits and pieces about the mystery of the disappearing Undercover Secrets honeybee when it came up in the news though as with most things the idea of yet another thing going Amethyst horribly wrong just kind of overwhelmed me and I let it slide by lest my In My Own Words head explodeFast forward upon reading a random article on beekeeping the other day and finding myself fascinated with the whole affair I decided it was time to pick up a few books on the creature I really didn't think I'd enjoy this admittedly I've read way too many books of the variety in which a journalist tags along and reports on someone's life and their role in the focal subject and I've been shying away from that style lately But once Nordhaus sets the context of the primary beekeeper John Miller Jules et Jim he is only drawn upon to supplement the wider story of bees and beekeeping And with great effect His term for the aggressive Africanized bee The Memory Box had me giggling behavior challenged bees as I imagined the bees akin to toddlers running amok in need of shots of ritalin joke and social skills classesIn fact this is currently my favorite style of non fiction book when I want to learn something while also The Hometown Hero Returns (Home to Harbor Town, hoping to really enjoy the subject At first I was eager to read about JUST Fever at Dawn honeybee science and behavior but Nordhaus covers all angles expertly She takes a broad scope covering each topic just enough before transitioning into yet another fascinating aspect Beekeeping Jogging Round Majorca history science the environmental politics surrounding pollination monocropping pesticides the contracting of what in nature is a completely natural event the difficult life of a beekeeper bee May Takes the Lead (Pony Tails, health or lack thereof the recent scourge of the varroa mite destroyed all feral bee colonies in the US colony collapse disorder Quincy Jordan (Crystal Bay Girls, honey types means of uality identification and the lack of US government regulation and classification pure Death and the Penguin honey may be up to 80 percent corn syrupIn addition the Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander, history of the bee is an example of The Path of Initiation how we meddle with and try to control nature for benefit and profit only for it to backfire spectacularly From bringing them over in the first place they are not native to North America to the effort by seedless citrus companies in California to institute bee no fly zones as pollination results in seeded ruined fruit Efforts over the centuries to impregnate ueen bees from clamping the vagina open for insemination to crafting a tiny silver penis I cringe I cringe and I can't Emily Dickinson Poems help but be slightly affronted for the bee whether in gender solidarity or the lengths they went through to accomplish this I do not know Inbred varroa mite resistant drones that can My Sisters Wishes head off infestations but suck at everything else a bee should do Lawns green deserts monocropping and feeding bees corn syrup while robbing them of Flesh Wounds honey and the theorizing that the result is malnourished bees that are likely to die en masseMy semi obsession with becoming a beekeeper may pass but I'll certainly be paying attention rather than vaguely deciding I like the flavor of clover At Sixes And Sevens honey over that of desert bloom Mr. Piper and His Cubs honey In addition I'll never look at my endless tubes of Burt's Bees chapstic


10 thoughts on “The Beekeeper's Lament How One Man and Half a Billion Honey Bees Help Feed America

  1. says:

    This was without doubt a very enjoyable book to read even though it wasn’t much of a science book If you want to find about bees themselves read The Buzz About Bees which I think is unbeaten as an exploration of the nature of bees Here you won’t really even get a feel for what a superorganism is or how individual bees really aren’t animals in their own right However what you will find a lot about is beekeepers and their complication ridden businessI was amazed at the complexity of industrial scale beekeeping in the US – how for example the bee people are paid large sums by almond growers to transport their hives into the almond groves to perform the pollination then have to move out again swiftly as there is no food at all for the bees once the blossoms have gone This whole idea of driving thousands of hives across America is one I simply hadn’t realized existedSimilarly it was fascinating to read about all the difficulties industrial beekeepers have faced Like most people I was vaguely aware of the ‘disappearing bees’ when Colony Collapse Disorder struck but not just how delicate bees were and how afflicted by other disasters particular a nasty mite that destroys them wholesaleEually along with that vague awareness I thought bees were in danger of disappearing – and they would if left to their own devices – but so effective is the industrial process that bee numbers are being kept up by setting up new colonies with remarkable rapidityThis is without doubt a very readable book though I do find Hannah Nordhaus’s writing style a little self consciously arty There are bits of science that you’ll find out along the way but it’s much about the industry and its ups and downs something that’s fascinating in its own right RecommendedReview first published on wwwpopularsciencecouk and reproduced with permission


  2. says:

    This is Nonfiction Environmental Science about the plight of bees and the things beekeeper's do to keep them alive First let me just say I listened to the audio and I didn't care for the narrator at all She had a nonchalance to her voice and absolutely NO passion for the subject It felt like the book was just words to her Other than that this was interesting to see the lengths that beekeepers go to in order to take care of their bees and to try to turn a profit The profit part by no means sounds like a sure thing But with these beekeepers it isn't always about the money but the love and dedication they have for the bees and the profession


  3. says:

    The age of mass production has not been kind to beesBefore humans intervened before the days of agribusiness bees left to their own devices had hard short and sometimes violent and vicious lives Since we've started helping them their lives are worse And we owe them a huge debt of gratitudeThis fascinating book looks at the lives of bees and at one cantankerous commercial beekeeper John Miller It is no small irony that someone who “isn't fond of death” who takes it personally is involved in death everyday; it is part of the businessLike many I had heard of CDC Colony Collapse Disorder that has wreaked havoc among bees and their keepers What I didn't realize that CDC is only a part of the problem that bees are susceptible to a whole host of fatal and really nasty diseases And the solutions of dosing the bees with drugs forcing them into unnaturally early springs transporting them around the country feeding them with cheap corn syrup instead of their own honey – these things are not making the situation better Neither is monocroppingThe politics of beekeeping is really eye opening Beekeepers are a dying breed and agriculture as it is practiced today couldn't exist without them You don't have to be especially interested in bees to find this book very informative If you eat their lives affect your life than you probably knowThere were a couple of places in the book where the writing seemed a touch dry to me Statements like “in the wild honey bees have disappeared entirely” made me wish for footnotes and a bibliography although the statement was explained later in the book As was “bees began bringing that nectar home to evaporate into honey” Even in my ignorance I knew that honey isn't just evaporated nectar oh no not anything that straightforward burpThe next time you are spreading that big ol' glop of honey on your English muffin give thanks for the dozen bees who together spent their whole lives making just a teaspoon of the stuff


  4. says:

    A terrific book for anyone who has uestions about the demise of the honey bee Layman or Apiarist you will enjoy the well researched and humor injected narrative I learned so much and it never felt like I was learning


  5. says:

    As befits one who seeks to be a man of wealth and taste if I have to choose between them the former I aspire to live on a vast estate leading the life of a gentleman farmer That doesn’t seem to be the immediate future but we do have enough land to keep some chickens and grow some apples This year we are planning to add some honeybees so I figured I should educate myself before taking the first concrete steps The Beekeeper’s Lament a 2010 book by Hannah Nordhaus which combines talk of bees and beekeeping with modest philosophy about both seemed like a good place to start I was not disappointed—I learned a lot and I also found food for thought about modern agricultural and eating practicesNordhaus weaves together three threads the occupation of commercial beekeeper the agricultural industries that modern beekeeping largely exists to support and the biology of bees including at the end information about what most people are most interested in honey As part of this project I have so far also read two other books the lightweight but not worthless Keeping Bees with Ashley English and a hyper technical work The Beekeeper’s Handbook Others are in the mail; I’m a big believer in getting book knowledge before embarking on getting practical knowledge My wife and I are also taking a daylong class from the local beekeeper’s association From all these things I figure we should be able to start our project without screwing up too badly so I am not very worried about our own beekeeping though doubtless there will be challengesI think beekeeping is something both liberals and conservatives can get behind Not corporatist globalist Republicans and Democrats though—they no doubt think we should all stick to our comparative advantages and buy only cheap honey cut with corn syrup from Wuhan using cash earned from slaving away at some soul sucking job that adds no actual value to society thereby maximizing global GDP the Omega Point of humanity Other than for such morons though preserving nature eating healthy and better grasping our place in the natural world should all be apolitical even in these days of overpoliticizationThe focus of the book is a North Dakota based commercial beekeeper named John Miller a Mormon whose grandfather Nephi Ephraim Miller started the family tradition of beekeeping and also invented migratory beekeeping where bees are moved to follow flowers as they bloom He was a smart man; among other wisdom he passed down was “A successful manager watches all details because the honey business is a detail business if success is to be obtained” Daymond John would agree Nordhaus originally wrote a magazine article centered on Miller and later expanded it into this book While other beekeepers appear like all American agriculture it is an industry with ever fewer but larger scale participants Miller is used as an exemplar for the type—in short mostly men with somewhat difficult personalities who like to do things as they want to do them and who are in it less for the money though it is a business than because it’s what they want to doThe reader learns a great deal about bees in particular how variable their output can be depending not only on what flowers they take nectar from but also weather disease competition and so forth Until the nineteenth century beekeeping was a marginal business done as a sideline by some farmers Much honey was collected from wild swarms not farmed Modern beekeeping dates from Lorenzo Langstroth a Massachusetts beekeeper born in 1810 It was he who designed the removable frame system for bees with which we are all familiar recognizing after intensive study that a gap of 38 inch between frames ensured the bees would not fill the gap with new comb Before that skeps conical hives typically made of straw were used but those did not permit viewing the bees and had to be destroyed to harvest honey thus making beekeeping a mostly unprofitable business Modern hives are basically unchanged from Langstroth’s original—his design cannot really be improved upon at least for commercial beekeeping although home beekeepers can select among various modern designs that at higher cost allow easy honey extraction which is something I may use Langstroth’s goal was to make it possible to keep bees as “a branch of the rural economy” and he succeeded beyond his expectations Nordhaus extensively uotes him and I have ordered an annotated copy of his classic work still in print The Hive and the Honey BeeMiller is based in North Dakota from his website his large operation is still operating in 2020 but he as nearly all commercial beekeepers today trucks his bees across the country to earn money by pollinating crops The majority of target crops are in California thus the center of gravity in this book is California and in particular the almond industry in California since that is what makes the entire modern beekeeping industry a viable business Because of foreign competition in honey mostly Chinese an American beekeeper cannot turn a profit without also renting out his bees as pollinators In fact pollination earns most of the money and the honey is a side businessCalifornia produces eighty two percent of the world’s almonds and almonds are eleven percent of California’s agricultural output although contrary to general belief agriculture is only a small percentage of California’s GDP In 2010 the crop was 15 billion pounds; now it’s 23 billion This sounds good; who doesn’t like almonds I’m particularly partial to marzipan myself? But like all modern farming of both crops and animals the almond industry is entirely artificial and hugely destructive of the natural landscape Almonds reuire very specific growing conditions and several hundred suare miles in central California are ideal as long as massive uantities of water can be supplied by irrigation And growing them in this way is very profitable No surprise for several decades and land has gone to planting regimented lines of almond trees But as Nordhaus says it is not bucolic “The valley smells like a brew of fertilizer chemicals and manure” This is an industrial operationIt is pollination of almonds that reuires bees to be imported by the billions In a normal ecosystem local insects and birds pollinate local plants But almond trees reuire very intensive pollination—unlike most plants the pollination they get the they yield All the local insects and birds that might pollinate have either been killed by herbicides and pesticides or driven away by habitat destruction Thus this artificial landscape reuires an artificial solution to pollination—trucking in bees every spring This is how John Miller earns his living and around this activity Nordhaus discusses the mechanics of keeping bees everything from getting stung to bee breeding to most critically bee pathologies including what we have all heard of Colony Collapse DisorderBut before we get to about bees let’s talk about almonds Obviously like all modern agriculture the almond industry is driven by economies of scale But that does not answer the key uestion—to what end do we need economies of scale? The glib answer is in order to get efficient production and therefore cheaper goods or in some cases monopoly profits but that is not at issue here But what are the benefits of cheaper food? At one extreme it prevents starvation or malnutrition which is good At the other it permits fat people to gorge themselves while still having extra money to lead empty consumerist lives It’s pretty clear that the almond industry and American agriculture as a whole is very much on the latter side of the scale Nobody is starving here and malnourishment is by choice it may be true that some children go to bed hungry but that’s because they have crappy parents not some failure in the rest of America When I was young almonds and all tree nuts were a delicacy Now due to economies of scale I can get five pounds for ten dollars Is this an improvement? No for the only upside is the ability to consume large uantities of what used to be luxuries For the most part this is just a form of gluttony which is a vice that erodes moral fiberAnd that’s ignoring the direct costs which are huge but often hidden or glossed over As we’ll see migratory beekeeping is probably one cause of Colony Collapse Disorder But there are other direct costs to our society resulting from industrial farming For example it’s increasingly evident that massive use of chemical pesticides is a bad idea I have elsewhere extolled Norman Borlaug and the Green Revolution but let’s not forget that was not about using chemicals but producing better hybrids We’re told that pesticides are safe but an awful lot of them I’m familiar with from the early 1990s when I worked summers in a university entomology department that offered services to farmers are now banned though we were assured back then they were totally safe Today drenching millions of acres not just crops but lawns and golf courses in atrazine a known endocrine disruptor that kills many amphibians seems like a bad idea Might the fifty percent drop in human sperm counts and the general feminization of Western men have something to do with that? We’re not supposed to talk about it though just like all the other things our corporatist overlords don’t want us talking about such as mass immigration and the destruction of the family by compelling women to work to fund a consumerist lifestyle What all these things have in common is that a slice of the ruling class profits while the rest of society suffers but is told it’s OK because the plebs can now buy food trinkets and enervating emasculating entertainment Almonds are merely one example of this stupid systemThese direct costs are tied to increased risks that impose no costs until they do For example both modern apiculture and modern agriculture rely very heavily on the creation of monocultures In bees ueens are bred for specific characteristics which means genetic variance is sharply reduced exacerbated by the destruction of wild bees which we’ll get to later Monoculture in crops is even extreme; we’re just waiting for the next plant plague so far we’ve beat down several Again creating fragility in food production so we can stuff our faces for cheap today is no way to run a responsible societyThe same basic system with even moral component exists in factory farming of animals Why should billions of chickens pigs and cows suffer so Fatty McFatty can eat two half pound burgers at a sitting with a giant side of fries cooked in soybean oil recently found to cause neurological damage at least in mice washed down with a Big Gulp made sickly sweet by high fructose corn syrup? No good reason I can fathom All in all I think food should be expensive at a minimum reflecting in its cost the externalities it imposes and in many cases by forbidding imports to compete with American production which would have the extra benefit of making sure America isn’t overly dependent for staples on others though I think we are not generally much dependent on others for true staplesThe counter argument usually offered relies on the myth that it is expensive to eat healthy so making food expensive would harm the poor This is a total falsehood on display in the popular 2009 documentary Food Inc There a four person family in California seeks their dinner An obese father and mother drive their two daughters around one about sixteen and normal the other about twelve and morbidly obese Their dinner is six sandwiches and three drinks no fries which seems unlikely for 1148 They realize full well that eating like this is unhealthy and offer ever shifting excuses instead of what is clearly the real reason—fast food tastes good because it’s engineered to appeal to human addictions which is one of the main points of the documentary The parents say they only have a dollar to spend per person but they spend than 2 per person on a meal and if ordering as their body size makes it clear they normally eat they would probably spend like 5 or 6 They claim “We don’t have time to cook” because they work fifteen hours a day—but both children are clearly capable of cooking by themselves for the whole family They then go to the grocery store “Look at the broccoli Too expensive man” It’s 129 a pound They say pears are also too expensive even though the younger daughter wants some They’re ninety nine cents a pound; you could buy seven for the cost of one of the burgers The simple reality is that this family could save a large amount of money and help the father’s Type II diabetes by cooking simply at home But they don’t want to do it If though each burger cost five dollars as they should they would The current system is topsy turvy and benefits nobody—except our noxious neoliberal overlordsThose who profit from this aren’t local farmers for the most part True almond farming seems to still be largely a profitable family enterprise But Gackle North Dakota Miller’s home base is dying like most of the small towns of the Northern Plains Agricultural profits go to giant corporations which further goose their profit by importing cheap compliant labor from across our southern border The effect is to destroy the invisible webs of our society It is true no doubt that all mighty civilizations are built around cities leaving aside whether ours ualify as centers of civilization any longer But that must be balanced by power and prestige existing in the provinces and a thriving working class in smaller towns and villages Over centralization of power leads to neither a humane nor a successful society but organizing agriculture for economies of scale creates exactly that centralization even though the land being worked is far from the halls of power—because to the cities is where the money generated goes This is a big part of why we are now ruled by corrosive coastal elites whereas in the past power was distributed across the countryAnd back to bees review completes as first comment


  6. says:

    The Beekeeper’s Lament How One Man and Half a Million Honey Bees Help Feed America by Hannah Nordhaus Published by Harper Perennial this nonfiction work is altogether fascinating and thought provoking Part artform part science beekeeping is certainly one of the most difficult industries To choose such an unsteady livelihood in order to produce honey and pollinate a vast majority of the foods Americans eat is certainly a career that deserves respectAnd yet most beekeepers must find creative ways to sustain their businesses People love honey Bees? Not so much At least not when you consider the varied ways industrialized farming practices and ever expanding suburban sprawl have made the art of beekeeping and arduous each yearIn this work Nordhaus follows the lives of several weathered beekeepers attempting to sustain their businesses Despite their experience — in many cases the beekeeping business is handed down within a family for generations — these men and women are now facing issues their fathers and grandfathers never had to deal withHere are some fascinating things I did not know about beekeeping bees and honey that I gleaned while reading this bookA honey bee ueen can lay up to 3000 eggs male and female per day at her productive peakOne honey bee will produce on average one twelfth of a teaspoon of clover honey – which is by far one of the most sought after due to it’s fragrance and pleasing tasteHoney like wine gets better with ageChina was recently caught exporting honey with toxic pesticides and antibiotics A 2002 ban was put in place to keep Chinese product from reaching American consumers but since the ban other countries such as Australia India Malaysia Thailand Russia Indonesia and Taiwan have increased their exportation of honey All of these countries are believed to be shipping Chinese product to America and Canada It is generally assumed that roughly 50% of the imported honey in America comes from Chinese apiariesA trick for testing the purity of honey as opposed to honey that has been adulterated with water or high fructose corn syrupGood honey flows from the knife in a straight stream forming a bead as it lands on a surface Should the cascade break into separate drops a second stream of honey will temporarily sit on top of the older bead forming a layer If the honey has too much water it will break into droplets as it falls pooling as it hits bottom without taking form Good honey never separates in the jarCalifornia almond farmers grow roughly 80% of the almonds sold world wide and because almond trees do not self pollinate these farmers rely on beekeepers to transport their hives to almond farms in order to raise their cropColony Collapse Disorder CCD rampant pesticide use changes in weather suburban sprawl varroa mites and other parasites have recently led to a very staggering realization — something is happening to honey bees not only nationwide but worldwide Beekeepers and scientists alike are trying to get to the bottom of this matter through various scientific methods such as genetic testing honey pollen sampling Melissopalynology and geographical mapping of pesticide use and parasite outbreaksThere are several types of honey bees within North America Recently the European honey bee a mild tempered bee has been mating within labs and in the wild with the African honey bee which is an ill tempered insect much likely to sting humans However the African and Asian honey bees have in comparison with the European bee fared better through CCD outbreaks In addition Nordhaus has made an attempt to weave within the statistical analysis and scientific jargon moments of honestly written poems prose and fleeting thoughts crafted not only by herself but by one of the beekeepers with whom she studies Here is a passage by NordhausBut on that luminous and bittersweet August weekend it was perhaps hard to let go just yet We cleave to the way things are not only to hold back a chaotic future and not only because that is what we know Gackle is a testament to the value of sheer persistence There is value in returning to the one who loves you in keeping the family farm going in living where you grew up in keeping bees when no amount of common sense and economic self preservation can justify it The colony may be collapsing in North Dakota but not everyone is flying off There is value yes and there is dogged romance in persistence Regardless of your feelings on the sometimes offensive insect for anyone who has been stung you’ll know what I mean one thing is certain you will never eat honey the same way again In reading this book you will gain knowledge of all that goes into producing those amber colored plastic bears — and a greater respect for those stinging insectsFor book reviews please visit wwwtheornamentedlinewordpresscom


  7. says:

    Primarily a profile of John Miller a prominent beekeeper who produces a huge amount of America’s honey he owns literally billions of bees Also gives you a good glimpse into the complex social and biological lives of bees and looks briefly into Colony Collapse Disorder CCD Two potential causes 1 Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus or IAPV which is carried on RNA kind of like AIDS in humans IAPV is correlated strongly like 90% with CCD though nobody can say for sure it’s the cause It could be a symptom or a coincidence 2 Could also be Nosema ceranae a new fungus from Asia It’s related to nosema apis a common fungus that’s been around for a while and doesn’t cause massive bee loss on the same scale as its relative and probably works by increasing toxicity of pesticides I also found this super interesting “The insect kingdom enjoys little cell repair Humans relate poorly to this truth If a bee is sick she doesn’t get better If she breaks a leg it doesn’t heal If she ruptures her exoskeletal protection she dries out and dies If her wings are too warm to fly she dies” I listened to on audiobook and I swear to God I fell a little in love with the voice that reads it It’s so evocative and emotionally charged when she says things like this poignant passage “Amid all this chaos the ueen sits like a rockstar in a moshpit laying eggs encircled by fawning workers attending to her every need That’s what a healthy hive looks like But when a colony collapses when the population dwindles when the incubating larvae get too cold when the workers expire in a huddled fluttering mass inside the hive or crawl out the entrances to die away from home and when the ueen finally dies too then it is an entirely different sceneScattered disheartened survivors plundering robber bees and wax moths filth and rot and ruin and invasion and death creeping in like a neighborhood abandoned to the junkies And when that happens the real tragedy is not simply the loss of the 60000 or even 80000 insignificant and perhaps soulless individuals— but of the future That sort of loss is harder to comprehend The death of a hive is both mindnumbingly ordinary and mindblowingly sad”


  8. says:

    It took me a long time to get through this narrative When I started I knew we had problems with our nation's bee population and so I thought it would be good to learn about beekeepers and how they are coping I am not sure if it was Nordhaus' writing or when I was reading this but I just couldn't keep my focus on this bookI learned a lot I had no idea how important bees are to almond trees and it never occurred to me that people moved bee hives all around the country I am alarmed at all the problems with mites and diseases that bees have It is especially scary because so much food is dependent on pollination by bees So for all that I learned I give Nordhaus three starsI also liked meeting John Miller the beekeeper who is the focus of the book It is good to meet people through their stories that I would never encounter in my own narrow life There are so many people in the world doing jobs I can't even imagineI think Nordhaus' explanation of our national bee dilemma would have been stronger as an essay in The New Yorker or another magazine It would have been tighter concise and her argument may have had force


  9. says:

    A few years ago I was reading bits and pieces about the mystery of the disappearing honeybee when it came up in the news though as with most things the idea of yet another thing going horribly wrong just kind of overwhelmed me and I let it slide by lest my head explodeFast forward upon reading a random article on beekeeping the other day and finding myself fascinated with the whole affair I decided it was time to pick up a few books on the creature I really didn't think I'd enjoy this admittedly I've read way too many books of the variety in which a journalist tags along and reports on someone's life and their role in the focal subject and I've been shying away from that style lately But once Nordhaus sets the context of the primary beekeeper John Miller he is only drawn upon to supplement the wider story of bees and beekeeping And with great effect His term for the aggressive Africanized bee had me giggling behavior challenged bees as I imagined the bees akin to toddlers running amok in need of shots of ritalin joke and social skills classesIn fact this is currently my favorite style of non fiction book when I want to learn something while also hoping to really enjoy the subject At first I was eager to read about JUST honeybee science and behavior but Nordhaus covers all angles expertly She takes a broad scope covering each topic just enough before transitioning into yet another fascinating aspect Beekeeping history science the environmental politics surrounding pollination monocropping pesticides the contracting of what in nature is a completely natural event the difficult life of a beekeeper bee health or lack thereof the recent scourge of the varroa mite destroyed all feral bee colonies in the US colony collapse disorder honey types means of uality identification and the lack of US government regulation and classification pure honey may be up to 80 percent corn syrupIn addition the history of the bee is an example of how we meddle with and try to control nature for benefit and profit only for it to backfire spectacularly From bringing them over in the first place they are not native to North America to the effort by seedless citrus companies in California to institute bee no fly zones as pollination results in seeded ruined fruit Efforts over the centuries to impregnate ueen bees from clamping the vagina open for insemination to crafting a tiny silver penis I cringe I cringe and I can't help but be slightly affronted for the bee whether in gender solidarity or the lengths they went through to accomplish this I do not know Inbred varroa mite resistant drones that can head off infestations but suck at everything else a bee should do Lawns green deserts monocropping and feeding bees corn syrup while robbing them of honey and the theorizing that the result is malnourished bees that are likely to die en masseMy semi obsession with becoming a beekeeper may pass but I'll certainly be paying attention rather than vaguely deciding I like the flavor of clover honey over that of desert bloom honey In addition I'll never look at my endless tubes of Burt's Bees chapstick the same way again


  10. says:

    It is always amazing to me that vast number of other worlds that are out there We all get so engrossed in our own worlds that we often do not pay attention to the vast and intricate and interlocking other worlds that spin simultaneously around us As I enjoy honey on my toast I am now aware of a whole world of bees their keepers and the mass production of honey in the modern world Hannah Nordhaus's portrayal of real world people is fascinating and incredibly well writtenIf you want a glimpse into another world that is so important and close to our everyday lives I really recommend that you delve into this book


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