The Beekeepers: How Humans Changed the World of Bumble Bees

Scholastic Focus. Mar. 2021. 320p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781338565546.
Gr 5 Up–Church details the fascinating life of bumble bees, or “humble-bees,” as they were once known, and their complex relationship with humans. The initial chapters explore bumble bee history, including bees that arrived in Iceland via Viking ships. Anatomy topics include a third eye that detects light intensity and bumble bee poop. Scientists have been studying bees for the last 200 years, but they are just now learning how the insects’ sesame seed–sized brains accomplish great feats. Bumble bees can create mental pictures and are social learners. The main focus of the text centers on commercial beekeeping industry practices and the introduction of harmful pesticides, pathogens, and parasites that are causing startling declines in bee populations worldwide. The text ends on a hopeful note, with stories of citizen scientists who are encouraging a global wave of change. Young readers can find small ways to help bumble bees that will make a difference.
VERDICT A welcome addition that fills the gap between picture books and adult nonfiction for budding bee enthusiasts, or for school reports.

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