|Back jacket illustration by Kyrsten Brooker|
1. Honeybees were domesticated even in long-ago times. The Babylonians, Assyrians, Persians; ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans all kept bees for their honey.
2. In the Middle Ages, it was believed that honey distilled in water would dissolve gold, rendering it liquid and therefore, drinkable.
3. Now as then, one honeybee can travel up to 8 MILES a day to forage for nectar and pollen.
4. If this tireless bee were to reach her full life expectancy of 12 weeks, she could fly a total of 672 miles - that's the distance from Brooklyn, NY to Lafeyette, IN.
5. And still, this bee, having visited tens of thousands of flowers, would collect only enough nectar to make 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey.
6. Some of a honeybee's favorite flowers are:
Purple flowering raspberries
Blueberries & Cranberries
7. Fred, the apiarist in THE HONEYBEE MAN, takes his likeness from illustrator Kyrsten Brooker's Grandpa Fargey, a dedicated flower gardener whose beautiful peonies Kyrsten (and no doubt, a fair number of bees) remembers with great fondness.
8. John Howe, for years an apiarist in Fort Greene, Brooklyn and the founder of the NYC Beekeeping meet-up, was the heart and brains behind Fred. He told me almost everything I know about honeybees and even introduced me to his hives. Even though until March 2010, it was illegal to keep honeybees and other "wild animals" in New York City. Now, almost everyone seems to have gone crazy for urban bees and honey!