The Golden Age Of Beekeeping

In this book I tell the story not only of the bringing of honey bees to America, but also how beekeeping changed from a minor accompaniment to the family’s garden, to a significant industry more like dairy farming. The beekeeper went from being a slightly odd character having some secret knowledge and a bit of tolerance for bee stings—to a major partner in the industrial revolution.

All of this took a few of centuries. Strictly speaking, though, the Golden Age is the period from 1865 when The American Bee Journal began its unbroken print run (which continues to this day), to about 1920, when the use of motorized cars and trucks changed beekeeping forever.

Peter Loring Borst was born in Boston and grew up in San Diego. In 1974, he decided to become a professional beekeeper, and was hired by an outfit which comprised over 2000 bee hives and a few unskilled men. Over the following years, he worked for several commercial outfits and did a 5 year stint in a beekeeping supply factory.

In 1991 he moved to upstate New York where he worked as senior apiarist at Cornell’s Dyce Lab for Honey Bee Studies. Peter served for many years as president of the Finger Lakes Beekeepers Club, and also as its apiary manager. From about 2010 on, he has been a regular contributor to the American Bee Journal, and has also been published in Bee Culture, Bee World, and others.

For several years he traveled to many states to do presentations based upon his writing. Now in his 70s, he has cut back to a dozen hives and produces honey to sell locally. He lives in a house in the woods outside of Ithaca, NY with his wife and a profusion of wildlife including possums, raccoons, and bears.

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