Bees in America
By Tammy Horn. ISBN: 978-0-8131-9163-8. Copyright 2005. Softcover with 333 pages including notes, glossary, bibliography, and index.
"Bees in America: How the Honey Bee Shaped a Nation" is an enlightening cultural history of bees and beekeeping in the United States.
Early European colonists introduced bees to the New World as part of an agrarian philosophy borrowed from the Greeks and Romans. Colonists imagined their own endeavors in terms of bees' hallmark traits of industry and thrift and the image of the busy and growing hive soon shaped American ideals about work, family, community, and leisure. The image of the hive continued to be popular in the eighteenth century, symbolizing a society working together for the common good and reflecting Enlightenment principles of order and balance. In the Great Depression, beehives provided food and bartering goods for many farm families, and during World War II, the War Food Administration urged beekeepers to conserve every ounce of beeswax their bees provided, as more than a million pounds a year were being used in the manufacture of war products ranging from waterproofing products to tape. Like so many other insects and animals, the bee population was decimated by the growing use of chemical pesticides in the 1970's, but beekeeping has experienced a revival as natural products containing honey and beeswax have increased the visibility and desirability of the honey bee.