The idle beekeeper The low-effort, natural way to raise bees

Bill Anderson

Book - 2019

"From building a hive to harvesting honey, a top urban beekeeper shares how to care for bees the simple, mindful way. Global bee populations have been rapidly declining for years, and it's not just our honey supply that's at stake: the contribution of bees to the pollination of crops is essential to human survival. But even in industrial apiaries, bees are in distress, hiving in synthetic and hostile environments. Enter idle beekeeping: the grassroots, low-intervention system that... seeks to emulate the behavior and habitat of bees in the wild-and it only requires two active days of beekeeping per year, one in the spring and another in the fall. In The Idle Beekeeper, Bill Anderson calls upon his years of applied curiosity as an urban beekeeper to celebrate these underappreciated insects and show how simple and rewarding beekeeping can be. In this entertaining, philosophical, and practical guide, Anderson shares why and how to build a hive system that is both cutting-edge and radically old. Maximum idleness is achieved through step-by-step directions to help the beekeeper gently harvest honey with minimum effort, make mead and beeswax candles, and closely observe and understand these fascinating and productive social creatures. For anyone interested in keeping bees, The Idle Beekeeper is the definitive guide to getting started, even in a city, and without effort." -- ONIX annotations 03/19/2019

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Subjects
Published
New York : Abrams Press 2019.
Language
English
Physical Description
273 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 22 cm
ISBN
1468317067
9781468317060
Main Author
Bill Anderson (author)
  • Introduction: Why now?
  • Idle isn't lazy
  • Ideal homes
  • Follow the honey
  • A warm welcome
  • Bee chosen
  • Sweet secrets
  • Bee observant
  • Bee gentle
  • Bee productive
  • Close to home
  • Spring awakening
  • Seize it!
  • Those two diary dates at the hive
  • Appendices.
Review by Booklist Reviews

With the crisis in global bee populations, home beekeeping is experiencing a resurgence. Anderson has been keeping bees in urban London for decades, and has developed his own approach that requires and promotes extremely minimal human intervention. This method is rooted in trying to emulate bees' natural way of being as they would live in the wild, with exceptions only for spring maintenance and fall honey harvest. Anderson uses a Warré style hive, which mimics the ideal qualities of the cavity of a tree while remaining easy to build and maintain, and offers a few modifications to make it even more conducive to his approach. Anderson's love of bees and beekeeping is apparent and creates an effective enticement for readers to become beekeepers. His minimalist approach provides an easy entry to a potentially intimidating pastime. Appendices detail the process for constructing and insulating a modified Warré hive; making, insulating, and weatherproofing a converter box to install a colony into the hive; and several other small pieces of equipment specific to Anderson's method. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

In this charming anecdotal how-to guide, Anderson, beekeeping columnist for The Idler magazine, lays out a low-maintenance approach to his hobby. Making a distinction between being idle and lazy, he observes that "truly lazy people rarely cultivate themselves or the world around them," whereas the idle "invest the maximum doing things that interest them, that make them grow." As a beekeeper and self-proclaimed idler, he believes the insects "know how to do it better than I do" and advises other apiarists not to intervene too much. Anderson describes his personal experiences with beekeeping in London in recent years, from where he placed his first hive, to the mishaps that followed. Though "we might think we're providing spacious accommodation" to the bees, he notes, "all we're really giving is an empty space in which they build their home all by themselves." Topics covered include honey production and harvesting and typical bee behavior. Anderson also dispenses step-by-step instructions on, for example, how to detach the comb from the walls of a hive while keeping it intact. Readers keen on actually keeping bees themselves should find this information-packed book's instructional component particularly useful, and Anderson's fellow idlers will appreciate his laissez-faire personal ethos. (May) Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

From building a hive to harvesting honey, a top urban beekeeper shares how to care for bees the simple, mindful way.Global bee populations have been rapidly declining for years, and it’s not just our honey supply that’s at stake: the contribution of bees to the pollination of crops is essential to human survival. But even in industrial apiaries, bees are in distress, hiving in synthetic and hostile environments. Enter idle beekeeping: the grassroots, low-intervention system that seeks to emulate the behavior and habitat of bees in the wild—and it only requires two active days of beekeeping per year, one in the spring and another in the fall. In The Idle Beekeeper, Bill Anderson calls upon his years of applied curiosity as an urban beekeeper to celebrate these underappreciated insects and show how simple and rewarding beekeeping can be. In this entertaining, philosophical, and practical guide, Anderson shares why and how to build a hive system that is both cutting-edge and radically old. Maximum idleness is achieved through step-by-step directions to help the beekeeper gently harvest honey with minimum effort, make mead and beeswax candles, and closely observe and understand these fascinating and productive social creatures. For anyone interested in keeping bees, The Idle Beekeeper is the definitive guide to getting started, even in a city, and without effort.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

From building a hive to harvesting honey, a top urban beekeeper shares how to care for bees the simple, mindful way.    Global bee populations have been rapidly declining for years, and it’s not just our honey supply that’s at stake: the contribution of bees to the pollination of crops is essential to human survival. But even in industrial apiaries, bees are in distress, hiving in synthetic and hostile environments. Enter idle beekeeping: the grassroots, low-intervention system that seeks to emulate the behavior and habitat of bees in the wild—and it only requires two active days of beekeeping per year, one in the spring and another in the fall.      In The Idle Beekeeper, Bill Anderson calls upon his years of applied curiosity as an urban beekeeper to celebrate these underappreciated insects and show how simple and rewarding beekeeping can be. In this entertaining, philosophical, and practical guide, Anderson shares why and how to build a hive system that is both cutting-edge and radically old. Maximum idleness is achieved through step-by-step directions to help the beekeeper gently harvest honey with minimum effort, make mead and beeswax candles, and closely observe and understand these fascinating and productive social creatures. For anyone interested in keeping bees, The Idle Beekeeper is the definitive guide to getting started, even in a city, and without effort.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

From building a hive to harvesting honey, a top urban beekeeper and shows aspiring beekeepers how to keep bees the simple way.