Established along with European settlers, honey bees are an essential part of today’s American landscape. Yet, how does the honey bee accomplish the many tasks that aid not only the survival of the colony but our own as well? Many of the answers involve the worker bee, the unique focus of Honey-Maker, and are as astonishing as the exquisite structures that enable the worker to perform her many tasks.
Honey-Maker takes us into the beehive for a look through the lens of a bee-loving biologist. Beginning with an overview of the colony, which includes the queen, workers, and drones, the book then divides into sections that reflect the design of an insect: Head, Thorax, and Abdomen. We learn how the worker, the familiar bee we find on our lawns and in our gardens, makes wax and constructs honeycomb, tends the queen, raises all of the colony’s young, forages for and collects nectar and pollen, makes honey and bee bread, dances, grooms, swarms, and stings. We also see the capacity of the honey bee worker to cooperate with other members of her colony and to alter her activities and physiology to meet the colony’s ever-changing needs. Honey-Maker further speaks to our age-old relationship with the honey bee and suggests ways in which we all might contribute to a more habitable landscape.
Richly illustrated and containing a glossary, bibliography, and index, Honey-Maker serves as a reference, introduction, and guide to both the honey bee and the millions of known and yet-to-be-described other insects on the planet today. It will inform and delight all who are interested in the workings of the natural world.
Rosanna Mattingly is a writer and educator focused primarily on the natural sciences and ecological relationships. Although she has worked with insects since the 1970s, including PhD research on aquatic insects, this book grew out of her experiences as a beekeeper. A freelance writer/editor since 1991, Rosanna has published professionally in academic research and education journals, written for general audiences, and developed and field-tested curricula involving science and the natural resources. She is president of Meta Writing and Education Services, LLC, and has served as editor of the Oregon State Beekeepers Association’s newsletter since 2005. A native of Kentucky, Rosanna makes her home in Portland, Oregon.