Sunday, December 31, 2017

Our Native Bees by Paige Embry

From the publisher: Honey bees get all the press, but the fascinating story of North America’s native bees—an endangered species essential to our ecosystems and food supplies—is just as crucial. Through interviews with farmers, gardeners, scientists, and bee experts, Paige Embry explores the importance of native bees and focuses on why they play a key role in gardening and agriculture. The people and stories are compelling: Embry goes on a bee hunt with the world expert on the likely extinct Franklin’s bumble bee, raises blue orchard bees in her refrigerator, and learns about an organization that turns the out-of-play areas in golf courses into pollinator habitats.

Our Native Bees is a fascinating book about Native American bees. I was afraid Our Native Bees would cover information I already knew, especially when it started off talking about honey bees. However, as the book went on I learned all kinds of interesting stuff about native bees. It's amazing how many varieties there are and how much they accomplish. I am not a scientist, but it seemed very well researched to me.

One of my favorite parts was this quote about honey bees:

Honey bees are the bankers of the bee world, working short hours and taking all the holidays off. If it’s raining, they go home. Too cold? They don’t even leave the hive. [Blue orchard bees] BOBs, on the other hand, start flying as soon as their body temperature warms up to 54 degrees F, so the ambient temperature can be considerably less if it’s a sunny day. Now, bumble bees will fly in bad weather, but their prime season comes later in the year. In early spring with the BOBs first come out, the only bumble bees alive and possibly out gathering are last year’s queens-to-be, and there aren’t going to be enough of them to pollinate an orchard (p. 64 of the advance reader copy)

Highly recommended for those interested in bees, insects, the environment, and wildlife.

I read an advance reader copy of Our Native Bees. I look forward to seeing the actual book and admiring the many bee photos in color instead of black and white.

Our Native Bees will be available at the Galesburg Public Library in February 2018.

You can help pollinators by participating in the citizen science project The Great Sunflower Project:

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