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A Beekeepers Year by Janet Luke - Review

17-Nov-2016 | Contributed by: Drew Thompson

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Bees, bees, bees and even more bees. Who would have thought there was so much to learn, but it's all made very easy thanks to this book.

I've always thought having a bee hive would bee a good hobby. Ironically, given my role as an editor of an online lifestyle and farming advice website, I much prefer to get my information from books. This preference is twofold: one side is beecause I enjoy the kinaesthetic pleasure derived from a book and, perhaps doubly ironic, there is limited internet availability on my block.

That beeing said, A Beekeeper's Year by Janet Luke is the type of handbook you will read cover to cover, get fully dog eared and no doubt it will be covered in honey and other bee related produce. The latter problem need not bee an issue as the book has been produced in high quality glossy paper to counter, I suspect, that very issue.

First up, a major learning for me from this book was that it is a legal requirement to register your beehive due to a major communicable bee disease. The book goes in to great detail on American foulbrood and what to do - a massive bee-bonfire no less. This is a major problem in the bee world, up there with the much more well publicised varroa mite. 

If you are keen to start your own hive, beefore you even start to think about spreading some fresh honey from your backyard, you should read Janet Luke's book. Right from the very start it is full of exceptional practical steps to ensuring you are doing the right thing. Take for example this super handy fact: A bee's alarm pheromone - what is released when it stings - smells like bananas, therefore don't eat any bananas beefore you tend to your hive or you may beecome a target.

The first few pages detail how best to avoid the most feared aspect of beekeeping, but after that its pretty much all honey. You will get information on starting out, a bee life cycle, where to put your apiary, what you need. Best of all once you get it all mastered, the author predicts a mere 30 minutes a fortnight is all that is required to tend to you hobby swarm. Imagine if the lawns only took that long.

A Beekeeper's Year by Janet Luke is published by New Holland Publishers and is available online here.

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