Inside The New York Botanical Garden

QueenSpotting in the Beehive

Posted in From the Library on June 20 2019, by Esther Jackson

Esther Jackson is the Public Services Librarian at NYBG’s LuEsther T. Mertz Library where she manages Reference and Circulation services and oversees the Plant Information Office. She spends much of her time assisting researchers, providing instruction related to library resources, and collaborating with NYBG staff on various projects related to Garden initiatives and events.


Cover of QueenspottingQueenSpotting: Meet the Remarkable Queen Bee and Discover the Drama at the Heart of the Hive (2019) is a new book by Hilary Kearney, creator of Girl Next Door Honey, an educational beekeeping business based in San Diego, California. QueenSpotting is written in a very accessible manner, mostly in first and second person, and is extremely engaging.

In the “How to Use This Book” introduction, Kearney notes that readers do not have to be beekeepers to read or enjoy the book. The text is broken into three main sections, each comprised of technical beekeeping information, the author’s personal stories about beekeeping adventures, and “spot the queen” photographs, of which there are 48. Although I am not a beekeeper, I can appreciate that the book’s detailed exploration of one particular aspect of beekeeping—the queen—would be informative and useful for those who do keep bees. That said, my feeling is that the book best works as an educational resource for those who are not already beekeepers, and that more advanced readers might wish to supplement with additional resources for beekeeping tasks. One such task would be “requeening,” referring to when a beekeeper removes an older queen, replacing her with a new queen, preventing the colony from doing so naturally for the purpose of increased honey production.

For readers who would like to learn more about beekeeping, readers who would like to read some entertaining and charming stories about beekeeping adventures, and for those who love visual “eye-spy” games, QueenSpotting is sure to please. Both adults and more advanced younger readers will find Kearney’s enthusiastic and clear manner of writing to be entertaining, infectious, and well worth reading.

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