New For This Spring

bees-at-law. By Noel Sweeney. Published by Alibi, Veritas Chambers. ISBN 978-1-872724-04-1. Available from the author or Northern Bee Books, for $50.00. 6” x 8.25”, soft cover, 345 pgs.

The author of this book is an attorney specializing in animal law. He has written about dogs and dog welfare, and animals-in-law and animal welfare in general, so has an all-around understanding of how animals, people, communities, other animals and the law work together, or not.

He appreciates the value of bees to man and the environment, and summarizes that generally the law has a paternalistic view of bees and supports their cause whenever it can. Judges generally hold bees in high esteem, being a positive force for good for our society.

The author states that this work analyses how the background of the judge and the behavior of the beekeeper towards his neighbor can be the crucial factors that determine where the liability of each lies. And, it considers the treatment meted out to bees in many different ways for many different reasons, save for the fact that legally it is often related to a distinct lack of care for their welfare. Laws are the only system that can save bees from their natural enemy: us, he adds. The author of this book is from the UK, so it has a UK historical slant to it, but only a very little. Much of the recent history comes from the US and the UK, while the historical insights of course are from Roman, Greek and previous ages.

The format of this book is different than you might first suppose. It looks at bees and people, and what can and will happen when they mix. He looks at the value of bees, honey bee history, how dangerous bees can be, he examines in depth and width negligence in both principle and action by bees, beekeepers, farmers, neighbors and the like. He talks of pests, crime against bees, and finally searching for the soul of a bee.

He does all this using case studies, and the decisions of judges for or against plaintiffs and defendants. Citing work all the way back to Plato and further, he analyzes the results of important, precedent setting cases and justifies, defends and explains the resulting decisions. Many of these were found in the US, the UK, and many in other countries. It is a look at bees and people from a global perspective.

And it is one of the best histories of keeping bees I’ve run across. What happened when and why, and what happened because of it shape much of the legal issues bees, beekeepers and the world we inhabit together enjoy, or endure, depending on which side you are on. If you live in New Jersey right now, or are curious about this historically legal look at bees and people, this should be on your shelf. — Kim Flottum



The Book Of Bees. Written and illustrated by Piotr Socha. Published by Thames and Hudson, Ltd., London. ISBN 978-0-500-65095-0. 13.5” 11”.  72 pgs., all color, hard cover. $20 on Amazon.

This very big children’s book, translated from the original Polish is an absolute wonder. Each two page spread is essentially a chapter covering a topic, including Bees and dinosaurs, the honey bee’s body, the queen bee, swarms, dancing, several pages on pollination, fruit and vegetables, and the plants bees like, bees in history from Egypt, Greece, Rome, St. Ambrose, Napoleon, forest beekeepers, the modern hive and equipment, different kinds of honey bees, how bees make honey and even a bit about present day almond pollination. The art, so briefly shown here, is amazing and so easy to use. In a couple of places the two page spread is more like a newspaper with short articles on a variety of topics. One is shown here.

This would be a week’s worth of study with a child, with the words at the bottom describing the marvelous art on each page, and then all the detail on each spread. Share this book with a child this year. — Kim Flottum



Mead and Honey Wines. A Comprehensive Guide. By Michael Badger, MBE. Published by Brown Dog Books, ISBN 978-1-78545-195-9. Available in paperback, hardcover and e-book. 378 pgs. Color throughout. 6.25” x 9.25”. Paper is $43.00 U.S.

I’ve had some experience with this book because the author asked me some months ago to write the Epilogue, so I had to be in on the ground floor as it was being produced. Plus, I got to share some of this with Ken Schramm, who was asked to write the Foreword. This is good company to be in.

The part of the title that is most useful is A Comprehensive Guide. It is just that. Michael talks about mead in general which is a good overview of the product and the process, but then details methods and practices for mead production that is excellent, and from my point of view, stresses record keeping to its fullest, a habit not to be taken lightly with this craft. The equipment needed and how to use it are part of this, and a fundamental look at handling honey.

Problems happen, and fixing them is next, followed by bottling, corks, equipment, aging and serving. Things I wouldn’t have considered  but are as necessary as the honey itself. He has recipes for meads, and honey wines, along with Pyments, Melomels, Cyser, Hippocras, Metheglin and honey vinegars. Advanced mead techniques is followed by the flavors of honey, a subject I’ve had some experience with and finally exhibiting and judging mead at shows.

Ken Schramm said it best. This isn’t a book to read. It’s a reference book to use. If mead is part of what you do, you’ll do better. If it isn’t, you’ll start out right. — Kim Flottum



Lannie Ballard of Natural Bridge

proudly displays his recently issued patent. The patent is for a one-person hive lifting tool he designed to aid young beekeepers, female beekeepers and older beekeepers who have lost strength in their hands to lift beehives often weighing up to 70 pounds.

Available at Dadant & Sons.






The redesigned Honey Squeeze is more eloquent, efficient, and affordable. The stainless steel construction comes with a lifetime warranty and is 100% made in the USA. The machine dispenses honey, maple syrup, chocolate syrup, agave, and simple syrup without mess or contamination. It weighs only three pounds 11 ounces and measures 14 inches high, 7 inches wide and 6 inches deep. It will display nicely on any kitchen countertop.



For pricing and more information visit




The Bee Corp., an IU-based agriculture tech startup, receives NSF grant of almost $225,000

The Bee Corp., an agriculture technology startup founded by Indiana University alumni, has received federal funding to conduct research to improve its beehive monitoring system.

The National Science Foundation awarded The Bee Corp a one-year SBIR Phase I grant of almost $225,000. The company is pursuing an additional $50,000 in matching funds offered by Elevate Ventures, a private venture development organization that nurtures and develops emerging and existing high-potential businesses into high-performing, Indiana-based companies.

The funding will allow The Bee Corp. to build upon the baseline statistical model of a healthy hive developed by the company in 2017. The new model will look for anomalies in hive data that correspond to common threats to hive health, including pest- and disease-related problems. The findings will be used to improve existing monitoring products for beekeepers.

Ellie Symes, CEO of The Bee Corp., said the NSF grant represents a significant milestone.

“The National Science Foundation award will allow us to discover new insights about honeybee health through hive data,” she said. “We will be able to build better models of hive activity and develop new applications for internet of things technology within the beekeeping industry.”

Ting Gootee, chief investment officer of Elevate Ventures, said the matching grant encourages small businesses to explore their technological potential.

“Originally an Indiana University student-led venture, The Bee Corp. shows how young entrepreneurs can find success if matched with the right resources. Their innovative approach combining tech and agriculture first attracted Elevate Ventures to invest in June 2017,” she said. “We are thrilled The Bee Corp. has earned an SBIR Phase I award so we can continue our support.”

The Bee Corp. has hired Gretchen Riggs, its first non-founder employee, as a data scientist. She will spend the majority of her time working on the grant project.

“Gretchen will analyze data collected during the project,” Symes said. “She will lead a three-person team of IU graduate students to build and test algorithms and make recommendations on product creation.”

For more information, contact The Bee Corp. at


Bespoke Bee Supply Sustainable Hives

When woodworkers Kyle Lagendyk and Bill Ryan founded Bespoke Bee Supply in 2017, they set out to craft the most environmentally responsible hives and beekeeping accessories available on the market. The sweet payoff of their efforts: Langstroth and Top Bar Hives that waste 30-60% less lumber than conventionally made hives and are made with only Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood.

These sustainable hives also eliminate non-natural (and unnecessary) design elements, such as metal roofs or plastic windows, which ensures a healthier environment for the bees (and the rest of us). And the company has a pending Benefit Corporation status, which shows its commitment to social and environmental advocacy, public transparency and accountability to the beekeeping supply industry.

Each hive is made by hand in Bespoke’s Portland, Oregon workshop with wood sourced from nearby Pacific Northwest forests. No aspect of hive production is outsourced, ensuring the quality of each one.

By ensuring every practice and process sticks to a strict set of environmental and bee-first standards, Bespoke truly lives its motto – beekeeping for good.

You can follow Bespoke on Instagram for tips and

behind-the-scenes peeks at

Hives and other beekeeping products can be found at and are shipped nationwide.

Hives: from $169.99; use the code BEECULTURE10 at checkout for 10% off hives on your first order.