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Book Review

An interesting book of interviews with an eclectic collection of commercial beekeepers from several very different locations. All of these people have something unique about their operations, and the author finds ways to get them to share much about how they do business. This isn't a book for beginners, but each of these people talk about the problems that beginners will have.

...you get a feel for the whole operation, which is uncommon, but both entertaining and insightful.

Kim Flottum, Bee Culture


Donohoe sets the scene at the start of each interview. He does it so well that you feel like a silent observer—you can almost hear the accents and feel the atmosphere. Each interview is recorded and transcribed for the reader.

This is a fabulous book to read and it is wonderful to have something in print that goes beyond a book for beginners. This is a book for the individual looking for the next level of information, potential expansion, and for the experienced beekeeper interested in other practices and tips that could potentially be adapted into their own beekeeping operations.

Judith de Wilde, New Zealand Beekeeper


Steve with Murray McGregor

Murray McGregor - Denrosa Apiaries

With around 4,000 colonies Murray is probably the biggest commercial bee farmer in the UK. He is based in Coupar Angus in Perthshire, Scotland. The main crop is heather honey, and the whole operation is geared towards that.

Murray learned beekeeping from his father from the age of eight. He is a former chairman of the Bee Farmers Association.

His assistant, Jolanta Modliszewska, who I also interviewed, is in charge of the queen rearing operation at Denrosa

Michael Palmer - French Hill Apiaries

Mike runs his 1,000 hive operation from his base in St Albans near Lake Champlain in Vermont, USA. In the winter it gets very cold so his bees have to be healthy and strong. A big part of making his business sustainable has been raising excellent local queens and keeping taking nucleus colonies through winter.

With a wealth of experience, Mike is no stranger to visits from 'knowledge seekers' like me, and he is a regular speaker at beekeeping events across the world.

Steve with Mike Palmer
Steve with Randy Oliver

Randy Oliver - Grass Valley, California

Randy combines deep scientific knowledge with years of commercial beekeeping experience and a natural gift for communication and teaching. He helps many researchers to obtain funding and reviews papers prior to publication. He also conducts his own field trials and has a regular section in the American Bee Journal. His sons have now taken over the running of the commercial bee farm, although Randy is on hand to advise if needed.