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Plan Bee: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Hardest-Working Creatures on the Planet
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Plan Bee: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Hardest-Working Creatures on the Planet

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  307 Ratings  ·  66 Reviews
A fascinating guided tour through the history, folklore, and function of the endangered honeybee.

Featured recently in major national news stories because they are disappearing at an alarming rate, bees are the unsung-and absolutely essential- heroes of the food chain. Now they get their due in this delightfully illustrated, fact-filled book, courtesy of a professional beek
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published April 28th 2009 by Perigee Trade (first published 2009)
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Aug 23, 2009 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in bees or beekeeping!
Shelves: 2009, bees
Fantastic! This is a book I would cheerfully recommend to folks interested in getting into beekeeping, or wanting to understand more about bees or beekeeping. It's a light-hearted and easy read that still manages to deliver good information without being overly scholarly or preachy.

Susan Brackney is definitely speaking from the hive tool and the heart. I found myself nodding at her descriptions, and she manages to elegantly capture the soul of beekeeping. In a book less than 150 pages, it captu
Mar 06, 2015 Monique rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Everything you ever wanted to know about honeybees? I have no idea. Lacking the expertise to confirm if this book is, indeed, everything I could ever want to know, I can confirm that it is motivating, informative and beginner-friendly.

Brackney successfully writes in a way that informs without being patronizing or overly technical. She breaks down and explains everything in a manner that is hugely interesting. Her anecdotes are cute and enjoyable, lending confidence to a reader such as I, that,
Dec 12, 2014 Rossdavidh rated it liked it
Shelves: yellow
Subtitle: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Hardest-Working Creatures on the Planet. The author, who is a beekeeper herself, has written this book in a first-person style, with plenty of short accounts of her own travails as she learned how to go about living amicably nearby to a swarm of flying creatures who will, if provoked, tear themselves in half in order to pump poison into your bloodstream.

She is also able to do her research in the more conventional sense, of course, and there'
Dec 08, 2011 Diane rated it liked it
Second book about bees in about a month. If you have to choose just one, choose this one. I did like the enthnology and history in the other one, but Brackney is more readable. Now, I have no particular interest in beekeeping or in bees - other than I enjoy most things about nature. Brackney has a style that some might not like - sort of jovial and self-demeaning, but she kept it just at the level that I found amusing not annoying. I actually liked her opening sentence: "This could have been a b ...more
Jan 17, 2011 Driftless rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: beekeeping
Farmer fantasies are all the rage, especially amongst my white-collar, middle-class neighbors. People with no farming background are searching out ways to get their hands dirty, striving to produce beautiful crops and taking well-earned credit for the results of their hard work. When I was a kid, Burpee tomatoes and zucchini were sufficient to fulfill the fantasy, but modern times have upped the ante considerably, adding not only hundreds of heirloom plants, but livestock such as chickens, tilap ...more
Mar 15, 2011 Fran rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Those cute black and yellow flying creatures that can cause us to stiffen in anxiety are really very fascinating. They work a lot harder than I do! Their social structure and communication methods quite advanced. Though their protection weapon is very intimidating, they are essential to our environment. They are responsible for pollinating about 80% of all the plants on the planet. About 30% of what we eat is the result of the activity of honeybees. As much as we usually want to kill them so the ...more
Ryan Williams
Sep 05, 2011 Ryan Williams rated it it was amazing
Plan Bee is a non-fiction book that has proven it self to be one of a kind. Though it has a gratuitous amount of information on bees, it is so well written that the whole time, I fell as if I were reading a fiction novel. Brackney found a way to put vital information about bees in a book that even for someone who wasn't interested in the subject could find it fascinating. She starts from the basic information of a bees anatomy, to why bees do what they do, to the history of bee keeping. The book ...more
Melissa Guimont
Aug 03, 2011 Melissa Guimont rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
This is a new favorite of mine. For the average nature lover who knows little about bees, this is a great introduction. This author has the gift of telling you fascinating facts with humor and respect for these invaluable creatures. I have always wanted to have a beehive, but know that it requires a great deal of patience, work, and time. This book gave me a glimpse into that life and made me feel better for having other ways to help these bees with plants and gardening techniques. I hope Susan ...more
May 30, 2010 Inga rated it really liked it

A Quick and interesting intro to honey bees written by a bee keeper. Covers a little of everything; colony collapse, how to be queen, bee anatomy and more. Falls in nicely with the current trends of DIY (real start to finish bee's wax projects) and sustainable agriculture (learn exactly how bees contribute and are effected by shifts in cultivation and habitat). There is even a quiz to determine if you have what it takes to tend a hive yourself.

Funny, illustrated and broken into short sections, t
Feb 12, 2016 Laura rated it really liked it
Shelves: bees
Enjoyable read on bees and beekeeping. I loved the little stories and how the information didn't overwhelm me. Favorite blurb:

[about the man who set the world record for training 109 bees to fly into his mouth]

'Gary wasn't stung during the stunt, and the record-setting bees didn't seem to notice or care about their accomplishment. For better or worse, honeybees are often much too busy to be bothered with personal reflection.'
Jul 16, 2009 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those interested in nature, honey bees
Recommended to Jennifer by: my own curiousity
enjoyable and educational. read it if you're interested in learning about honey bees. The author has a pleasant way of writing, almost as if you were walking along with her and she was sharing humourous and informative stories with you. Illustrations were decent, however, there were a few things described I would've liked more had there been an illustration with it. Good resources list at the end if one wanted to delve more into the subject.
Jessica Loomis
Oct 16, 2009 Jessica Loomis rated it really liked it
Brackney's book about bees and bee-keeping is a great introduction for those who are interested in honeybees and considering possibly-maybe becoming a beekeeper (including a cute quiz to rate your commitment level). Her style is somewhat narrative with a humorous and educational tone that grabbed my attention but may frustrate those looking for more in-depth explanations. Therefore, I'd highly recommend this book to the bee novices out there.
Nov 29, 2010 Megan rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, science
This was a quick (and surprisingly fun!) overview about honeybees that was interesting. It had the right about of detail for those who are curious about bees and beekeeping, without one feeling over or underwhelmed with information. Black and white photos, woodcuts, and drawings are used through out the text and were helpful.
Jul 16, 2010 Martin rated it liked it
Super easy read but very interesting and full of beekeeping information. I had hoped that it was going to be a bit more scientific and explain why honey bees are disappearing and why they suddenly abanadon their hives. Brackney has a wonderful sense of humor and this was a good introduction to the art of beekeeping which, one day I hope, will be a hobby of mine.
Jaffrey Clark
Dec 22, 2014 Jaffrey Clark rated it really liked it
This book was something of an impulse read for me. I have a streak of homesteader wanna-be in me, and the idea of keeping bees is certainly a romantic notion. And, since I find nature fascinating, this book was fascinating. The author educated me about bees without boring me. It stayed interesting, and at times somewhat entertaining.
Apr 24, 2010 Wan rated it liked it
did you know that bee dna is closer to humans than that of other's true, i read it in a book.
This was an informative read. By no means is it an instruction manual on bee keeping, but it doesn't claim to bee (sorry).
For a great how-to bee keeping book check out "The Backyard Beekeeper".
Mary Anne
Sep 18, 2012 Mary Anne rated it it was amazing

This is just the best book! Chock-full of information, and written with humor and love! I can't wait to get my own girls and experience the beekeeper's roller coaster of emotions! I would prefer to stay OFF the roller coaster, but that is not nature's way, I'm afraid. Onward with fortitude!
Jan 17, 2013 Melissa rated it liked it
I was assigned this for a class and was not expecting to enjoy it so much! A quick read that is correct in that it will tell you everything you want to know (and some things you didn't!) about bees. Anyone who is interested in beekeeping, or just in learning more about the beautiful creatures buzzing outside their window would enjoy this book.
Jan 07, 2012 Tom rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book is a light introduction into bees and beekeeping. It also contains an interesting mix of instructions for bee box assembly, candle making, recipes for lip balm, energy bars, and how to make a bees wax death mask. It wouldn't have hurt if this book was more in depth, but it was a pleasant read, and its always nice to be able to fly through a book.
Rebecca Stark
Aug 01, 2016 Rebecca Stark rated it it was amazing
Such a lovely read! I even forgot this book was educational! Great to enjoy an easy read about bees. Her love for these sweet little beings is palpable and it's clear she has done all she can to educate herself about them. I'm grateful she shared her wealth of knowledge in such a readable format!
York Honey
Mar 30, 2014 York Honey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bee-keeping
This is a really well written an accessible book full to bursting with fascinating facts about bees. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and would recommend it to anyone with an interest in our fuzzy pollinating friends.
Jun 10, 2009 Skigirl rated it really liked it
Good book and a fun read if you're interested in the subject, however Fruitless Fall has a lot more information and is considerably more in depth if you're interested in bees/pollination/problems facing future food production/etc.
Aug 05, 2010 Lindsey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Clear, concise, comprehensive. From a brief history of beekeeping to how practical tips and info about raising your own to scientific and anatomical info on the bees--pretty great and easy to read.
David R.
Feb 19, 2013 David R. rated it liked it
Brackney sets out to teach the subject of beekeeping in a short treatment that encompasses bee biology, the tools of the trade, and even recipes with honey and wax. It was a bit cloying for my taste and tends toward eccentricity.
Juliet Ekinaka
May 23, 2010 Juliet Ekinaka rated it it was amazing
This book taught me so much about beekeeping! I love this book and I continue to go back to it and read over her experiences and use her awesome tips and resources! A great, light hearted book that has information yet is a fantastic story all in one!
Jan 28, 2010 Teresa rated it really liked it
An enjoyable and very quick read about bees and the people who love them. I'm not starting a second career as an apiarist, but I do have a better appreciation for honeybees and their keepers. Good book for a lazy Saturday morning.
Jun 17, 2009 Amy rated it it was ok
The title is pretty accurate. This is like a tiny textbook on bees. Would have been more engaging if it were more rooted in the author's experience or in someone's story of beekeeping and discovery. As it is, it's pretty dry. Yawn.
Peter Wolfley
Oct 16, 2015 Peter Wolfley rated it really liked it
Bees are fascinating creatures and the people that raise them are equally as fascinating. I don't think I could ever do it.

I've always loved that the bee was part of Utah state culture. They are noble insects that we can learn a lot from.
Mar 20, 2011 Bronwynnro rated it it was amazing
Absolutely obsessed with bumble bees! Even have a tattoo dedicated to them on my left foot. I learned so much more about these fascinating insects, than what is common knowledge, after reading this book. My love only grew.
Aug 08, 2010 Bill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good natural history blend. An easy intro to the world of beekeeping. Not comprehensive by any means, but easily digestible by those without a background in beekeeping or just an interest in the plight of pollinators.
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“For better or worse, honeybees are often much too busy to be bothered with personal reflection.” 1 likes
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