The bee A natural history

Noah Wilson-Rich

Book - 2014

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Princeton, New Jersey : Princeton University Press 2014.
Physical Description
224 pages : illustrations (chiefly color), color maps ; 25 cm
Includes bibliographical references (pages 216-218) and index.
Main Author
Noah Wilson-Rich (author)
Other Authors
Kelly Allin (author), Norman L. Carreck, Andrea Quigley
  • Evolution & development
  • Anatomy & biology
  • Society & behavior
  • Bees & humans
  • Beekeeping
  • A directory of bees
  • The challenges faced by bees
  • Useful resources.
Review by Booklist Reviews

This stunning and beautiful little book might seem like merely a perfect ­conversation-starting coffee-table book were it not for the fact that the author is so clearly a world-class expert in bees. Although the photos take center stage, the author makes a strong argument that, of the 20,000 different species of bees, nearly all bee species are relevant to our daily lives because of their irreplaceable role in global agriculture and the production of any food that flowers. This matter is particularly central now, as bees are dying at an alarming rate. The book includes sections on evolution, genetics, and the social interaction between bees and people. Get lost in chapter 6—a catalog-quality directory of bees. You won't be sorry. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Choice Reviews

The title of this book might lead readers to believe that there is only one kind of bee, and the fact that a honeybee is depicted on the cover might suggest that the text considers only that species.  Both conclusions are wrong.  Though much of the material covered does refer to honeybees and beekeeping, one 45-page chapter, while not exhaustive, beautifully illustrates the diversity of those species within the group of Hymenoptera that people call bees.  Six additional chapters consider bee evolution and development, anatomy and biology, and societal and behavioral aspects as well as the relationship between bees and humans, beekeeping, and current environmental challenges faced by bees.  Each chapter is basically divided into two-page essays on specific topics.  Wilson-Rich and the other contributors are all associated with bee organizations and beekeeping services, so while this is not quite a coffee-table book, it is also not a scientific treatise.  The brief essays are well written and nicely illustrated, but coverage is superficial.  Nevertheless, it is an attractive volume and one that will be cited in many term papers.  Amateur bee fanatics will like it.  Summing Up: Recommended. General readers and lower-division undergraduates. --P. K. Lago, University of Mississippi Paul K. Lago University of Mississippi Copyright 2014 American Library Association.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Explores the role that bees play in the life of the planet, detailing such topics as the diversity of bee species, the human-bee relationship over time, beekeeping, identification, bee ecology and genetics, and bee health.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Wilson-Rich and his coauthors provide a comprehensive introduction to bees. The book begins with a summary of the scientific understanding of bee evolution, biology and behavior. It discusses human interaction with bees over time and the occupation of beekeeping and contains a guide to 40 bee species, giving a page with a full-color picture to each. The last chapter explains the current problems bees are having, ways to manage them, and future prospects. Annotation ©2015 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (

Review by Publisher Summary 3

An incomparable illustrated look at the critical role bees play in the life of our planetBees pollinate more than 130 fruit, vegetable, and seed crops that we rely on to survive. Bees are crucial to the reproduction and diversity of flowering plants, and the economic contributions of these irreplaceable insects measure in the tens of billions of dollars each year. Yet bees are dying at an alarming rate, threatening food supplies and ecosystems around the world. In this richly illustrated natural history of the bee, Noah Wilson-Rich and his team of bee experts provide a window into the vitally important role that bees play in the life of our planet.Earth is home to more than 20,000 bee species, from fluorescent-colored orchid bees and sweat bees to flower-nesting squash bees and leaf-cutter bees. This book takes an incomparable look at this astounding diversity, blending an engaging narrative with practical, hands-on discussions of such topics as beekeeping and bee health. It explores our relationship with the bee over evolutionary time, delving into how it came to be, where it stands today, and what the future holds for humanity and bees alike.Provides an accessible, illustrated look at the human–bee relationship over timeFeatures a section on beekeeping and handy go-to guides to the identification, prevention, and treatment of honey bee diseasesCovers bee evolution, ecology, genetics, and physiologyIncludes a directory of notable bee speciesPresents a holistic approach to bee health, including organic and integrated pest management techniquesShows what you can do to help bee populations