Where Have All the Bees Gone?: Pollinators in Crisis

Lerner/Twenty-First Century. Feb. 2020. 104p. Tr $37.32. ISBN 9781541534636.
Gr 5-7–Though all the bees haven’t gone anywhere, and, as the author notes, even the colony collapse disorder that threatened to wipe out the commercial honeybee industry a few years ago has abated, Hirsch reports that researchers have discovered major declines in the numbers of certain North American bee species. The cause is hard to pin down, but the author points to improper use of neonicotinoid insecticides, habitat destruction, and evidence that commercially raised bees are spreading virulent forms of infections, diseases, and other parasites to their indigenous relatives. Why does it matter? “Without bees, we wouldn’t have food.” What’s to be done? Hirsch suggests that curious readers dig into her generous selection of print and online resources to raise awareness, plant a flower garden, and perhaps leave dried perennial stalks out for solitary bees to winter in. Still, along with clearer understandings of bee evolution and life cycles, and how pollination works, readers will come away concerned. Frequent sidebars, plus a mix of diagrams, flower pictures, and close-up photos of a variety of different types of bees, enhance the presentation.
VERDICT An informative survey for students of biology and environmental science and just a tick denser in language and content than Emily Morgan’s Next Time You See a Bee.

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