Bee Time

Bee Time

Lessons From the Hive

Book - 2014
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Being among bees is a full-body experience, Mark Winston writes--from the low hum of tens of thousands of insects and the pungent smell of honey and beeswax, to the sight of workers flying back and forth between flowers and the hive. The experience of an apiary slows our sense of time, heightens our awareness, and inspires awe. Bee Time presents Winston's reflections on three decades spent studying these creatures, and on the lessons they can teach about how humans might better interact with one another and the natural world.

Like us, honeybees represent a pinnacle of animal sociality. How they submerge individual needs into the colony collective provides a lens through which to ponder human societies. Winston explains how bees process information, structure work, and communicate, and examines how corporate boardrooms are using bee societies as a model to improve collaboration. He investigates how bees have altered our understanding of agricultural ecosystems and how urban planners are looking to bees in designing more nature-friendly cities.

The relationship between bees and people has not always been benign. Bee populations are diminishing due to human impact, and we cannot afford to ignore what the demise of bees tells us about our own tenuous affiliation with nature. Toxic interactions between pesticides and bee diseases have been particularly harmful, foreshadowing similar effects of pesticides on human health. There is much to learn from bees in how they respond to these challenges. In sustaining their societies, bees teach us ways to sustain our own.

Publisher: Cambridge :, Harvard University Press,, 2014.
ISBN: 9780674368392
Characteristics: 283 pages


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I absolutely loved Mark Winston’s Bee Time: Lessons from the Hive. This book won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction in 2015 and it deserves all of it’s accolades. Dr. Winston is a bee scientist and a professor at Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Dialogue. His writing on the topic of bees, sustainability, environment, food, science, history, and art flows seamlessly. I’ve always known that bees are remarkable and a valuable part of the ecosystems that make Earth function as a planet, but I never knew quite how valuable. This was a fascinating exploration of a topic that is more timely than ever as the environmental changes to our planet accelerate.

You have a chance to meet Dr. Winston in person at Honey, Hives, & Poetry in Surrey on Tues, March 15 at 7pm at City Centre Library. He will be joined by Surrey Poet Laureate Renee Sarojini Saklikar, Surrey poet Heidi Greco, and the Surrey Beekeepers Association. Black Bond Books will have books for sale. Call 604-598-7426 to save your spot. (Submitted by Meghan)

Oct 11, 2016

An enjoyable read. The writing style is academic but approachable, and the pace is emblematic of the inner peace that the author and most bee-keepers seem to glean from bee time. Packed with lots of information for those outside the bee world. Worth re-reading.

May 06, 2016

The worst nature writing I've ever read. The author claims to be a scientist, but it's written in a journalistic style. Repetitive, self promotional, fanciful. The author even recounts a story a bee shaman told him about having sex with a bee! (that must have hurt)

Cynthia_N Apr 09, 2015

I was expecting more of a self-help book that would talk about working together and community but the lessons from the hive were more how our ecological actions are affecting the earth using bees as the foreteller of the future. Interesting but very dry book but might have been because of my expectations.

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