Honey and Venom
2021 Ballantine Books
A year in the life of New York City’s premier beekeeper, who charmingly chronicles his adventures and the quirky personalities he encounters while spreading his infinite knowledge of and passion for the remarkable honey bee.
From the humble drone to the fittingly named worker to the queen herself—who is more a slave than a monarch—the hive world, Andrew Coté reveals, is full of strivers and slackers, givers and takers, and even some insect promiscuity (startlingly similar to the prickly human variety). Written with Coté’s trademark humor, acumen, and a healthy dose of charm, Honey and Venom illuminates the obscure culture of New York City “beeks” and the biology of the bees themselves for both casual readers and bee enthusiasts.
In this debut, Coté takes readers with him on his daily apiary adventures over the course of a year, in the city and across the globe. In Manhattan, among his many duties, he is called to capture swarms that have clustered on fire hydrants, air-conditioning units, or street-vendor umbrellas. Aside from maneuvering within a metropolitan populace as frenzied as the bees’, Coté is able to escape from the hive mind and the rigors of city dwelling with his philanthropic, international approach to apiculture. Annually, he travels to regions across the world with his organization, Bees Without Borders, where he teaches beekeepers how to increase their honey yield and income via beekeeping endeavors. For Coté, a fourth-generation beekeeper, this is a family tradition, and this personal significance pervades his celebration of the romance and mystery of bees, their honey, and the beekeepers whose lives revolve around these most magical creatures.
Tags: Books, food writing, memoir