My favorite bee journal is not published stateside but rather in Great Britain. Bee Craft, The Official Journal of the British Beekeeper’ Association, is a treat. The articles are fresh and original with a slightly European flavor, and the photos are well-matched to the content. Additionally, details that may seem mundane at first—things like layout, typesetting, and grammar—are important to me when I decide to sit down and read. Bee Craft, edited by Claire Waring and Margaret Cowley, tends to all the details better than most.
The British are known for loving their gardens and their bees, a truth demonstrated in the selection of content. Although the articles are primarily about honey bees and beekeeping, they occasionally dip into the conservation of bumble bees and other pollinators. This aspect of the environment is important to me personally, and I think more and more beekeepers on both sides of the Atlantic are beginning to realize that a healthful bee environment is important for all of us.
What follows is an in-depth look at why I love this publication.[list icon=”check”]
- Articles from the past year that I particularly liked include:
- “Honey Bee Look-alikes: Impersonators and Enemies in Disguise” shows tips for identifying bee-like insects.
- “The Benefits of Propolis” is about the importance of propolis to honey bee health.
- “Poisoning: Part 1” reviews the signs of pesticide poisoning and explains how the poisons affect the bee.
- “Abnormal Brood Conditions” explains what causes various brood abnormalities and how to recognize them.
- “The Need to Remain Vigilant: Asian Hornets” No, we don’t have them here . . . not yet.
- “Month by Month in Your Apiary” is not just a list but a detailed summary of what is happening in your hive every month, what you do, and why you do it. This top-notch feature with spectacular photos is written by Deputy Editor Margaret Cowley, someone who really knows bees.
- Do-it-Yourself articles are plentiful and well-illustrated. For example:
- “Floors are Easy to Make”
- “A DIY Roof”
- “A DIY Frame Feeder”
- The layout is attractive and comfortable. All articles are well-illustrated with photos, diagrams, or both. Color is used throughout in a pleasing, understated way.
- The sans-serif font is relatively large and easy to read. Articles are amply sub-titled which aids in understanding the material.
- The editors do a great job with the English language. No one tries to capitalize the Names of Seasons or other random Nouns. The articles are neither too complex nor too simplistic. They are perfectly designed for an intelligent person wishing to learn a new concept or skill.
- Little tidbits scattered about the journal make it fun to read. For example,
- In September a sidebar described the hornet hoverfly, and insect frequently seen during that month.
- In February a diagram explained the function and structure of the honey bee wing.
- In March, a diagram explained the role of direct and indirect muscles in honey bee flight.
So there you have it, a journal too good to pass up. Bee Craft can be reached at http://www.bee-craft.com where they offer both print and digital editions.