By Tammy Horn
The University Press of Kentucky; $29.95
Bees are essential — period. Their primary function isn’t to spoil picnics or inflict pain by stinging. Bees pollinate much of what we need to sustain the food chain. They’re out in fields and among trees dusting pollen hither and yon so plant life can grow.
In the process of sustaining themselves in these pursuits, they set up an amazing culture of interdependence in hives, which results in highly-prized products — honey for food and other multiple uses and beeswax for candles and works of art. But bees are under siege from predators over which they — and we — have little control.
Tammy Horn, with a family heritage of beekeeping, is concerned about the worldwide loss of bees. If bees disappear, so does much of our food supply worldwide. Horn’s purpose is to generate interest in beekeeping generally and research specifically.
As director of Coal Country Beeworks in eastern Kentucky, Horn is engaged in reclaiming surface-mine sites with pollinator habitat, thus replacing abandoned and ugly acreage with plant life that in turn invites animals and birds.
Beeconomy takes us on a world tour from the rise of civilization to the present, tracing the intertwined role of women and the role of honeybees as essential for a sustainable society. Read it.