Sweetness and Light: The Mysterious History of the Honeybee [Paperback]
Hattie Ellis (Author)
From Publishers Weekly
For anyone who's wondered about how humans first started eating honey—after all, bees guard it jealously—Ellis's charming history will be a treat. Apis mellifera is "the most studied creature on the planet after man," she writes, although even so, it turns out that the honeybee's biological ancestry isn't quite clear. There is some evidence that their relatives existed 200 million years ago or more—earlier than the earliest known flower, in other words, which would mean that they were eating something other than nectar. British food writer Ellis (Tea) leaves the tedious details of bee taxonomy to the experts, but satisfies readers with the fact that bees probably evolved from an ancestor of the carnivorous wasp. She then reveals the state of modern beekeeping by visiting apiarists and letting them talk about their bees, which they do, quite happily, relating tales of the delightful symbiosis of human and bee. Ultimately, it's all about the honey, and those who prefer to think of the sweet stuff as something that comes from jars might cringe at Elllis's description of how bees make it: the phrase "sucked and pumped, sucked and pumped, sucked and pumped" is queasily accurate. Entrancing anecdotes, accurate details and meticulous research add up to a sweetly satisfying read. 20 b&w photos.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
As Ellis points out, wherever bees are, whether jungle, tundra, or forest, they find nectar to turn into honey, honey that tastes of mint, or grapes, or oranges, depending on the flowers the bees have visited. Ellis, a columnist and food writer, has created a marvelous combination of natural history and social science as she explores the ways of bees, honey, and humans. The history of bees and flowers are inexorably intertwined--flowers need bees for pollination; bees need flowers for nectar. And as shown in Paleolithic art, humans have stolen honey from bees for millennia, and as early as the ancient Egyptians began to create homes for bees to encourage them to live nearby. Ellis follows the course of beekeeping, even visiting modern beekeepers on Manhattan rooftops. Nancy Bent
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Three Rivers Press (April 25, 2006)
Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.2 x 0.7 inches
Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces