The honey bee is a willing conscript, a working wonder, an unseen and crucial link in America's agricultural industry. But never before has its survival been so unclear - and the future of our food supply so acutely challenged.
Enter beekeeper John Miller, who trucks his hives around the country, bringing millions of bees to farmers otherwise bereft of natural pollinators. Even as the mysterious and deadly epidemic known as Colony Collapse Disorder devastates bee populations across the globe, Miller forges ahead with the determination and wry humor of a true homespun hero. The Beekeeper's Lament tells his story and that of his bees, making for a complex, moving, and unforgettable portrait of man in the new natural world.
The Beekeeper's Lament does a wonderful job at depicting the symbiosis between agriculture and bees, and it avoids contributing to the (occasionally) vapid media coverage that surrounds honeybees and CCD. It provides a story that is pragmatic, objective, and informative and is for readers who want to better educate themselves about ecological change and current agricultural practices without slogging through pages of scientific reports. (Reviewed by Elizabeth Whitmore Funk).
American Bee Journal
This book is a terrific read.
Miller is a complex and colorful man, and his story, along with the story of the bees, is an engaging read.
Starred Review. Miller, smart, antisocial with humans, but tender toward bees and prone to writing ironic free-verse e-mails, keeps the narrative lively despite its often grim content.
A crackerjack story of one American beekeeper's days, with both his songs of joy and sorrow, presented within the context of beekeeping's natural and social history.
Trevor Corson, author of The Secret Life of Lobsters and The Story of Sushi
Rollicking, buzzing, and touching …You'll never think of bees, their keepers, or the fruits (and nuts) of their labors the same way again.
Elizabeth Kolbert, author of Field Notes from a Catastrophe
Hannah Nordhaus has written an engaging account of the men and insects who put food on our tables. The Beekeeper's Lament is a sweet, sad story.
Bernd Heinrich, author of Winter World and Mind of the Raven
I loved The Beekeeper's Lament. With great reporting and great writing, Hannah Nordhaus gives a new angle on an ever-evolving topic. You'll learn a lot.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is a phenomenon in which bees mysteriously disappear from their hives. "The main symptom of CCD is simply no or a low number of adult honey bees present but with a live queen and no dead honey bees in the hive. Often there is still honey in the hive, and immature bees (brood) are present."
Though "scientific literature has several mentions of honey bee disappearances - in the 1880s, the 1920s, and the 1960s," specific cases of CCD began to occur in American apiaries in October 2006, and beekeepers across the country were confounded when thousands of honeybees began to disappear, leaving behind empty, healthy hives. Since then, the occurrence of CCD has continued to increase, with a peak of 36% of American beekeepers reporting cases of the disorder in 2008, and "some beekeepers began reporting losses of 30-90% of...
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