Buzz: The Nature and Necessity of Bees
by Thor HansonGenres: Non-fiction, Science
In Buzz, the award-winning author of Feathers and The Triumph of Seeds takes us on a journey that begins 125 million years ago, when a wasp first dared to feed pollen to its young.
From honeybees and bumbles to lesser-known diggers, miners, leafcutters, and masons, bees have long been central to our harvests, our mythologies, and our very existence. They've given us sweetness and light, the beauty of flowers, and as much as a third of the foodstuffs we eat. And, alarmingly, they are at risk of disappearing.
As informative and enchanting as the waggle dance of a honeybee, Buzz shows us why all bees are wonders to celebrate and protect.
Thor Hanson’s style is quite enjoyable — conversational, personal, but usually to the point. We’ll see some scraps of his family life as he talks about making experiments with his son, for example, but it doesn’t veer off into three pages of some scenario about a mid-life crisis and turning to bees or something like that (which can be a bit of a hazard with books of this genre). Mostly, he’s focused on the bees, and his enthusiasm for the bees.
I actually didn’t know much about any type of bees other than honeybees, so I really enjoyed hearing about sweat bees and alkali bees and learning a bit more about bumblebees and their tiny amount of honey.
Of course he also addresses colony collapse disorder, and the general decline of bee species worldwide, with some room for hope and some much-needed warning. Bees are just “cute” enough that I hope humans are going to come through for them.