The sunset over the Pacific photo at the top of this page is a tribute to the day, days that have been as well as days to come. On this page, you’ll find information about the press and the website, and reviews and kind words about Honey-Maker. A sampling of Honey-Maker’s Introduction, Chapter 1, and other details is available at the “Downloads” tab on the Resources page. As for the days, may they be filled with learning, growth, and love.

Honey-Maker: How the Honey Bee Worker Does What She Does

Fantastic book—far beyond my expectations! Well researched, accurate, and written with heart. Anyone (including myself) will learn a number of new things about bees. Definitely on my recommended reading list for beekeepers.

—Randy Oliver, Biologist,

The honeybee is one of the great wonders of the world, a wild creature that works by our side; when you read this fine account you’ll understand her world and her wonder much better!

—Bill McKibben, Author, Oil and Honey:
The Education of an Unlikely Activist

I didn’t think there was another way to write a book about bees, but Rosanna Mattingly found one. It’s just about workers. It’s basic, intermediate and advanced anatomy, physiology and biology. How a worker constructs comb, tends the queen, takes care of the young, makes honey and bee bread and forages. Collecting nectar, searching for food, making wax, swarming, stinging and living are covered, and much of the world worker’s are exposed to is also. Most bee books tell what bees do, but this one tell how they do it. It’s definitely not a how-to keep bees book. Well written and reviewed by a lot of folks known in beekeeping science and education, it has an extensive glossary and an excellent reference section….This one should be on your shelf.

—Kim Flottum, Editor, Bee Culture Magazine

If you want to be a good beekeeper, you have to know honey bees. And if you want to know honey bees, this is the book to read. I have kept bees, read extensively about bees, crafted a thesis about bees, and write daily about bees, but in spite of all that, I found something new in every chapter of this book. The sub-title implies the book is about workers only, but it is much more than that because, after explaining a feature of the worker, the author compares her to the drones and the queen and explains how they are similar or different. So in fact, you get the whole picture. The author breaks down the book into three primary sections: the head, thorax, and abdomen and explains the inner workings of every part of the bee.

The book is captivating: for example, when I read the section on how the honey bee wing moves in a figure eight pattern, I found myself following the motion with my hands in a rhythm that reminded me of feathering an oar. And her description of how pollen collected on the right legs is moved to the left legs and then back to the right pollen basket—and vice versa—is fascinating, especially when she goes on to explain that propolis is always kept on the same side it was collected on. Although Honey-Maker is not a how-to book on beekeeping, after a thorough reading, you can’t help but be a better beekeeper. Honey-Maker is highly recommended.

—Rusty Burlew, Author, Honey Bee Suite

Education and Master Beekeeper committees especially should take note of this one — Dr. Mattingly uses honey bee anatomy as a guide throughout the book — head, thorax, abdomen and all the parts on and in them; how they are constructed for unique functions and the ways the worker bee uses them to accomplish the many tasks she is consigned to during her short life. Though the queen may be be central to the existence of a colony, and the drone has his (temporary) place, nothing — but NOTHING — could function without the worker bee!

Rosanna Mattingly’s Ph.D. is in Ecology rather than Entomology, though the two are inextricably linked in her life. Her love affair with honey bees proved that, like the aquatic insects she began with, they “show us clearly the interconnectedness of the natural world — and our activities in it.” The book is written from that point of view and therein lies a facility few writers exhibit.

The information is exquisitely detailed, scientific yet written so a non-academic can understand it easily, and well illustrated with her own photographs. Basic lessons are molded around little bits of whimsy, tongue-in-cheek quips and hilarious analogies that draw parallels between humankind and beekind — the interconnectedness of us all again.

I am absolutely enchanted, and find myself reading while other things I ought to be doing wait. I agree (almost) completely with Kim Flottum of Bee Culture Magazine who wrote, “I didn’t think there was another way to write a book about bees . . . This one should be on your shelf.” I’d qualify that by advising “in your hands” rather than on the shelf.

Fran Bach, Editor, Western Apicultural Society Journal

We beekeepers keep bees because they are fascinating. Just how fascinating is the theme of Mattingly’s well-written book: a meticulous account of the unique anatomical and behavioral wonders of the Western honey bee. A want-have book for every bee-lover; not about beekeeping, but about the honey bee itself.

—Heike Williams, Co-Owner, Wild Harvest Honey

Honey-Maker is a unique book about honey bees that is educational as well as thought provoking. The concept of organizing the book based on anatomy (head, thorax, and abdomen) is fascinating. The author (Mattingly) integrates details of structure and function and biology in a seamless manner and makes honey anatomy fun and easy to understand. This book stimulates scientific curiosity in all that are interested in honey bees.

—Ramesh Sagili, PhD, Department of Horticulture,
Oregon State University

Honey-Maker is a must read for anyone interested in honey bees. There are plenty of how-to books available for beekeeping, but never have I read such a complete and fascinating description of how the honey bee functions. Rosanna clearly loves these little creatures and takes us through each amazing function, step by step.

—Jan Lohman, Past President, Oregon State Beekeepers Association

Honey-Maker is a great read for beekeepers, scientists, and nature-lovers alike. Writing about form and functions in such a comprehensive and detailed way can be a difficult challenge, but this book does so in such a captivating manner. Masterfully written and illustrated to highlight the incredible morphological adaptations that have contributed to the making of this remarkable insect. Anyone reading this book will obtain an astonishingly new or renewed appreciation for honey bees and all that they do.

—Judy Wu, Graduate Research Assistant, University of Minnesota

Recently there have been news stories of large honey bee losses and increased concern for bees as a result of these reports. This raised awareness is good. Honey bees are an essential part of our lives; no matter what we do, without them we could not survive. There is a need to make information about them available for interested people who are looking for a better understanding. What makes these bees so fit to take care of their colonies and pollinate our crops? How do they coordinate all the jobs that need to be done? How do they find the flowers that supply them with food? There are so many questions. Here is a book that has many answers. It is beautifully written and illustrated. The research to bring all this knowledge together has been well done, and the coverage of the functional morphology of the worker honey bee is comprehensive. But it is more that a detailed account of honey bee morphology. There is an underlying current that focuses on the beauty of nature and the author’s love for the honey bee. It is an explanation of why so many of us are caught up with these insects in fascinated wonder. A glossary of entomology and beekeeping terms is included, and a good list of references where we can find more information as desired.

—Lynn Royce, PhD, Entomologist

I just finished reading your book. I love your writing style, Rosanna. I love the way you write life into the details and don’t patronize the reader by leaving out juicy bits just because they’re not within the normal reach of a non-academic beekeeping text. It’s a really, really good book. One of my favorites. Wow!

—Karessa Torgerson, Co-Owner, Nectar Bee Supply

Honey-Maker provides not only a wealth of information that most of us know nothing about but also a glimpse into the complexity and wonder of creation. If a bee has this much intelligence and intricacy, how much is there also in all living creatures, including us. It is inspiring. I’ll never look at bees in the same way. I may take my hat off to them, but then hope I don’t get stung!

—Agnes Rands Warren, Author and Retired English Teacher

I had the good fortune to read Rosanna Mattingly’s manuscript several times while she was writing Honey-Maker. My other good fortune was to witness her taming of a swarm in her back yard. The result of her experience and passion is a fascinating, vital discourse on the connection between humans and honey bees. May this book sustain those who currently keep bees, and be just the ticket for encouraging future apiarists.

—Sharon Streeter, Co-Founder and first President,
Hardy Plant Society of Oregon

I just wanted to let you know how much the Educational staff here at The Oregon Garden has  enjoyed reading your book Honey-Maker.  We teach a complete lesson on honey bees for our Fifth Grade Education Program and have found your information really useful in uncovering those perplexing questions about bees.  We spotted your book at Ruhl Bee Supply while searching for hands-on lesson materials and have surely appreciated the detailed information.

—Cindy Quam, Fifth Grade Program Coordinator at The Oregon Garden

Beargrass Press

The name of this press stems from some of my experiences in nature. One such experience took place on a summer’s day while I was wading in the waters of Beargrass Creek in Jefferson County, Kentucky, where I was born and raised. It would be some time before I would even consider what became the path of my formal education: the study of freshwater systems, aquatic ecology. On that day, I found something small and somewhat flimsy, yet with enough form to tell me it was “something”—even though it was unlike anything I had ever seen. I later learned that it was the shed exoskeleton of an immature dragonfly. Although I was familiar with the adults, until then I had not even been curious about where they “came from.” This opened my eyes to another part of our world.

beargrass creek

Another experience occurred early one morning when I came across a large patch of beargrass, white with bloom against a heavy grey fog, at the top of Mary’s Peak in Oregon’s Coast Range. Again, I met with something new to me in time and space, something I had not known existed. Of course, there’s an unfathomable number of such things, which suggests that our opportunities for increasing awareness are endless, though they may go without our notice. Through this press, I hope to contribute reminders in what has become a very busy world to take a moment every day to experience the wonder and beauty of what is right in front of our eyes. There’s no end to seeing when we take time to look.

Author and Publisher

rosanna mattinglyRosanna Mattingly is a writer and educator focused primarily on the natural sciences and ecological relationships. Although she has worked with insects since the 1970s, including PhD research on aquatic insects, Honey-Maker and other works have grown out of her experiences as a beekeeper.

Rosanna has published professionally in academic research and education journals, written for general audiences, and developed and field-tested curricula involving science and the natural resources. A freelance writer/editor since 1991, she is owner of Meta Writing and Education Services, LLC, where she treasures work with individuals and groups to get writing projects to completion. She has served as editor of the Oregon State Beekeepers Association’s newsletter The Bee Line since 2005.

A native of Kentucky, Rosanna makes her home in Portland, Oregon. A little cat named Mariah is there, too. She is the one who watches over the pages of this website!

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