Monday, August 4, 2014

A Sting in the Tale

A Sting in the Tale: My Adventures with BumblebeesPollinators are everywhere these days – in our gardens and in the news.  Several national chains, like Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and Lowes have pledged to sell or label plants that are “bee-friendly” and do not contain neonicotinoids (OK, it’s not 100%, but it’s a step in the right direction).  Even the White House issued a Fact Sheet on the economic challenges posed by declining pollinator populations; they established a Pollinator Health Task Force (headed by EPA and USDA) which will develop a National Pollinator Health Strategy – maybe we’ll finally catch up with Europe on pesticide policy! 

But you’re a greenmomster, and I’m guessing you want more pollinator news!  Well, if you can’t see yourself at the beach with some boring romance novel, have I got the book for you – A Sting in the Tale by Dave Goulson, founder of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust in the UK.  Here’s a very entertaining non-fiction book about bumblebees.  And who doesn’t love bumblebees, in all their furry, clumsy, loudly buzzing glory?  I get a kick out of bumblebees, because they’re gentle and seem to defy the laws of physics when they fly.  Dr. Goulson has spent his career as a researcher in England and France studying these creatures, and his book provides an entertaining look at the various types of bumblebees he encounters.  He does an expert job at very simply explaining ecological concepts, like the Allee affect and genetic bottlenecking.  And I learned fascinating insights into the use of bumblebees for pollination, much the way honeybees are used worldwide.  Dr. Goulson also includes many funny stories about his learning curve as a child and his adventures on a farm in France.

If you're looking for something a little more enriching than the usual summertime read, but still want to relax with a book, I highly recommend A Sting in the Tale.  Happy reading!

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