Five words from the blurb: bumblebee, expert, protect, research, dangers
I picked up a copy of this book because the author was planning to talk at my local library. I didn’t have a particular interest in bees, but Dave Goulson is an inspiring man and he’s made me look at them in a new light.
The author is a Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Sussex and has published over 200 scientific articles on the ecology of bees and other insects. A Sting in the Tale is a witty, accessible book that summaries most of what is known about bumblebees today.
The book is packed with amusing anecdotes about the difficulties of studying bees; whilst also giving sound scientific information about the problems facing their population in the UK today. It is one of those wonderful books that enables someone with limited knowledge on a subject to understand and become fascinated by something they’d normally overlook. I had no idea that bumblebees are necessary to pollinate tomatoes and a whole industry has been set up to produce commercial bumblebee nests, which are then shipped to tomato glasshouses around the world:
I also knew nothing about the problems this creates with the spread of disease and the hybridisation of native species. I discovered that I knew far more about the problems facing honeybees than those of bumblebees and am pleased I’ve now rectified this situation.
The only problem is that this book concentrates on bees in the UK. Much of the information will be interesting to those in other countries, but those wanting to know specific information about bumblebee species in other parts of the world will probably be frustrated.
It would also have been nice to see photos/charts to enhance the information given. The presentation at my library included a lovely selection of images and it would have been nice to see these in the book.
A Sting in the Tale is a very important book. Many species of bumblebee in the world are facing extinction and I don’t think many people realise this, or how important they are. I urge you to read this book and I hope that the Bumblebee Conservation Trust goes from strength to strength.