“A successful and funny book that is sure to swell the ranks of the world’s beekeepers.” —New York Times
A fascinating foray into the obsessions, friendships, scientific curiosity, misfortunes and rewards of suburban beekeeping—through the eyes of a Master Beekeeper . . .
Who wants to keep bees? And why? For the answers, Master Beekeeper Frank Mortimer invites readers on an eye-opening journey into the secret world of bees, and the singular world of his fellow bee-keepers. There’s the Badger, who introduces Frank to the world of bees; Rusty, a one-eyed septuagenarian bee sting therapist certain that honey will be the currency of the future after the governments fail; Scooby the “dude” who gets a meditative high off the awesome vibes of his psychedelia-painted hives; and the Berserker, a honeybee hitman who teaches Frank a rafter-raising lesson in staving off the harmful influences of an evil queen: “Squash her, mash her, kill, kill, kill!”
Frank also crosses paths with those he calls the Surgeons (precise and protected), the Cowboys (improvisational and unguarded) and the Poseurs, ex-corporate cogs, YouTube-informed and ill-prepared for the stinging reality of their new lives. In connecting with this club of disparate but kindred spirits, Frank discovers the centuries-old history of the trade; the practicality of maintaining it; what bees see, think, and feel (emotionless but sometimes a little defensive); how they talk to each other and socialize; and what can be done to combat their biggest threats, both human (anti-apiarist extremists) and mite (the Varroa Destructor).
With a swarm of offbeat characters and fascinating facts (did that bee just waggle or festoon?), Frank the Bee Man delivers an informative, funny, and galvanizing book about the symbiotic relationship between flower and bee, and bee and the beekeepers who are determined to protect the existence of one of the most beguiling and invaluable creatures on earth.
“A very entertaining book.” —American Bee Journal “A playful storyteller… A compelling memoir.” —Foreword Reviews “A useful how-to guide as well as an affectionate ode to nature’s pollinators and honey makers.” —Publishers Weekly “This book includes great humor and a use of allegory that reveals tremendous background knowledge.” —San Francisco Book Review “Frank’s personal stories of his beekeeping journey are entertaining, well written, and will quickly have you happily lost in the world of bees.” —Paleo Magazine "Bee People and the Bugs They Love is the bee's knees and getting a ton of buzz. Bee smart, people, and read this un-BEE-lievably interesting look at the quirky world of beekeeping." —Harlan Coben, #1 New York Times bestselling author
“A delightful portrayal for non-beekeepers of what life is like for those of us who are always thinking about bees.” —Tom Seeley, author of The Lives of Bees “A fun and exciting tale of the wonder-filled world of beginner beekeeping.” —Noah Wilson-Rich, author of Bee: A Natural History , and CEO and partner The Best Bees Company
About the Author
Frank Mortimer is an adjunct instructor at the Cornell University Master Beekeeping Program, Vice President of the New Jersey State Beekeepers Association, and a certified master beekeeper. As president of the Northeast NJ Beekeepers Association since 2011, he has significantly grown his club’s membership; aligned the Northeast NJ Beekeepers with Ramapo College; founded the “Honey Cup,” an annual honey tasting competition, and promoted beekeeping throughout the Northeast. Frank has published multiple articles in Bee Culture Magazine and has led beekeeping seminars across New Jersey and at The New York Botanical Garden. In addition, he successfully campaigned for his hometown of Ridgewood to become New Jersey’s first “Bee City USA.” Frank is married, has three children, and beekeeping is something the whole family enjoys doing together.
PRAISE FOR BEE PEOPLE AND THE BUGS THEY LOVE
"It is an achievement to convey so much knowledge so accessibly without once seeming overbearing. The main reason it all works is the honest descriptions of friendships that spring up around a shared, all-absorbing interest in bees. The book is written in a stylistically assured voice and with a structure that makes it easy to follow. And Mortimer intersperses useful facts about his passion in a successful and funny book that is sure to swell the ranks of the world’s beekeepers." —The New York Times
"Frank Mortimer's BEE PEOPLE AND THE BUGS THEY LOVE is the bee's knees and getting a ton of buzz. Bee smart, people, and read this un-BEE-lievably interesting look at the quirky world of beekeeping." —Harlan Coben, #1 New York Times bestselling author
"If the world of beekeepers has a top ambassador, it’s Frank (The Beeman) Mortimer. Bee People and the Bugs They Love is a delightful portrayal for non-beekeepers of what life is like for those of us who are always thinking about bees. —Tom Seeley, author of The Lives of Bees
"Bee People is a fun and exciting tale of the wonder-filled world of beginner beekeeping. It’s a relatable story that every beekeeper can easily identify with, and filled with helpful tips for those thinking of getting started." —Noah Wilson-Rich, author of Bee: A Natural History , and CEO and partner The Best Bees Company
"Bee People takes a long look at your first beekeeper’s meeting, that first bee sting, capturing your first swarm and tasting your first honey…My advice, read Mortimer’s book first, before you become a beekeeper. If you do, you will become a beekeeper. He gets it right. And Bee Nerd Alert: You will meet some of the best people in the world – beekeepers." —Kim Flottum, author, The Backyard Beekeeper, and editor-in-chief of Bee Culture Magazine
"Bee People gently provides a synopsis not just of beekeeping, but the principals themselves. Dear reader, you know these people. They may have delightfully funnier names, but make no mistake, as you read, Mortimer has conjured the eccentric beekeepers from every corner of the world, including yours." —Tammy Horn Potter, Author of Bees In America: How the Honey Bee Shaped a Nation
“Beekeeper Mortimer shares insights gleaned from years of pursuing his avocation in this illuminating debut memoir…Some of the most charming passages involve Mortimer’s friendships with other beekeepers, who are often as eccentric as they are kind and helpful…New or prospective beekeepers will find a useful how-to guide as well as an affectionate ode to nature’s pollinators and honey makers, while any readers who have had their lives reshaped by a single overriding passion will enjoy learning how Mortimer found his.” —Publishers Weekly
“Mortimer is a playful storyteller, and his text is lively with the challenges and appeal of keeping bees…Bee People is as much about beekeepers as it is about bees themselves, and those sketched include the Surgeon, who dons “full head-to-toe bee suits” and approaches his hives “the same way a surgeon walks into the operating room,” and the Cowboy, “who doesn’t wear any type of veil, usually has forgotten to bring his smoker, and just jumps in without any real plan.” Bee People is a compelling memoir that’s filled with information about beekeepers and the tiny, fascinating creatures to whom they tend.” —ForeWord Reviews
“A fun read…Mortimer does an excellent job of weaving lessons, and facts, in with his stories…entertaining, well written, and will quickly have you happily lost in the world of bees. Even with all the mistakes and missteps that can happen with beekeeping (he mentions quite a few of them!), he paints an almost idyllic picture that will have a lot of readers giving the idea of trying beekeeping more consideration than they may have in the past.” —Paleo Magazine “Author Frank Mortimer, aka Frank the Bee Man, writes a very entertaining book about his venture into beekeeping.” —American Bee Journal
“This book includes great humor and a use of allegory that reveals tremendous background knowledge. Beginning as a simple recounting of initial inquiry, coupled with personal conflict, this evolves into in-depth learning, great analysis of personalities, and a revealing of information that is masked finely in narrative.” —San Francisco Book Review
“The author goes over a lot of things you won't have to learn the hard way, which is how a lot of beginners seem to learn.” —Bee Culture
Mortimer’s enthusiasm bursts forth on every page, and his storytelling skills make this a practical handbook for novice beekeepers and a delightful read even for those who can’t imagine ever managing a buzzing hive. —Booklist Starred Review