October 2016: Bees


How doth the little busy bee
Improve each shining hour,
And gather honey all the day
From every opening flower!
—Isaac Watts

Everyone should have two or three hives of bees.
Bees are easier to keep than a dog or a cat.
They are more interesting than gerbils.
—Sue Hubbell


Humankind’s interest in bees and the honey the produce is recorded in cave paintings dated as far back as 800,000 years. In myth, honey was thought to be a favorite food of the gods residing on Mount Olympus. These days, many of us procure our honey from plastic bottles, but the journey from flower to hive is so much more compelling than a trip to the grocery store. Visit the Arboretum and explore these library resources to learn about the lives of some of nature’s busiest workers and how they create this tempting treat.

At the Arboretum

Meet the Beekeeper

On Monday, October 10, you’ll find the Arboretum’s beekeeper, Greg Fischer, at the Arboretum Store. Listen as Greg discusses bees and the honey they produce, while enjoying a sample from the Arboretum’s 2016 harvest!


“Reverence for the bee is as old as humanity. Bees, in fact, were on the planet long before humanity existed. Ancient civilizations believed that bees were divine messengers of the gods, or deities themselves. Kings and queens of the Nile carved symbols of them into their royal seals, and the Greek of Ephesus minted coins with their images. Emperor Napoleon embroidered the mighty bee into his coat of arms as an emblem of power, immortality, and resurrection.” Holley Bishop, Robbing the Bees, page 4.

Library Resources

Robbing the Bees: A Biography of Honey--The Sweet Liquid Gold that Seduced the World by Holley Bishop

Letters from the Hive: An Intimate History of Bees, Honey, and Humankind by Stephen L. Buchmann

Bees in America: How the Honey Bee Shaped a Nation by Tammy Horn

The Bees in Your Backyard: A Guide to North America’s Bees by Joseph S. Wilson

Sweetness and Light: The Mysterious History of the Honeybee by Hattie Ellis

The Bee: A Natural History by Noah Wilson-Rich

Resources for Young Readers

Big City Bees by Maggie De Vries

Bees Dance and Whales Sing: The Mysteries of Animal Communication by Margery Facklam

Flight of the Honey Bee by Raymond Huber

I Was Born in a Tree and Raised by Bees by Jim Arnosky