On the shelf
If you’ve ever thought about venturing into beekeeping, “Homegrown Honey Bees” can tell you what to expect.
The book, billed as “an absolute beginner’s guide,” was written by Alethea Morrison and illustrated with photos by Mars Vilaubi. They’re husband-and-wife beekeepers from Massachusetts who share their challenges, failures and successes to help others get started in beekeeping ventures of their own.
Morrison is clearly a beekeeping cheerleader, but she doesn’t try to make the hobby sound simpler than it is. “Beekeeping is not for the faint of heart,” she writes. “It’s like the extreme sport of animal husbandry.”
The book covers the basic how-tos and answers such questions as how often you can expect to be stung, how much money you’ll spend and how much time you’ll need to devote to beekeeping. Brief profiles of urban beekeepers from around the country are included.
The book is written in a conversational style, with humor, I’ve-been-there wisdom and plenty of encouragement.
“Homegrown Honey Bees” is published by Storey Publishing and sells for $14.95 in softcover.
No space to store laundry baskets?
The Unhampered basket folds flat to about 2 inches deep, so it can be stashed in a narrow space. When it’s unfolded, it’s a sturdy basket with multiple handles, an optional divider to separate your load and a pocket to hold detergent or delicate items.
The basket was invented by Atlanta resident Barbara Miles and developed with support from the online community at Quirky.com. It can be ordered from the website for $29.99 plus shipping.
Q: My roof leaked because of a water dam, and some of the water got into my kitchen cupboards. Raccoon droppings were found on my roof, so I’m worried the water may have spread contamination from the droppings to my cupboards. How should I clean them?
A: Anytime you experience flooding, you can have contamination from various sources, so you should disinfect the surfaces, said Tessie Pollock of the Ohio Department of Health. You can use a commercial disinfectant or a solution of ¼ cup chlorine bleach per gallon of water.
Raccoon feces can contain the eggs of Baylisascaris roundworm, which rarely infects humans but can cause serious health problems when it does. However, Pollock said infection usually comes from direct contact and typically involves children touching the droppings and then putting their fingers into their mouths.
What’s more, the roundworm eggs dry up and die after about six or seven months, said Kevin R. Kazacos, a professor of veterinary parasitology at Purdue University and an expert on Baylisascaris roundworm. So if the droppings were old, you can be further reassured.
If you’re still concerned, Kazacos suggested dipping the dishes and other contents of the cupboards in boiling water, since the eggs die at about 144 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also wipe out the interior of the cabinets with hot, soapy water or clean them with a steam cleaner, he said.