In the fall of 2016, I began to hear a lot about bees.
I was researching The Monarchs Are Missing: A Butterfly Mystery, and many of the gardeners, teachers, scientists, and other butterfly experts I was interviewing wanted to talk bees, not butterflies. Again and again, they pointed out that bees were in trouble, too. They didn't mean managed honey bees, which were getting plenty of press at that time. They meant native bees. I decided to investigate.
This book tells the story of what is happening to bees. It dives into the world of wild bees, the ones that are pollinating the bulk of our food. It traces the history of bees, all the way back to the dinosaurs, and explains why bees are so important to us and the world we live in.
The stars of the book are the bumblebees. Cute and fuzzy, they are the panda bears of the wild pollinator world. And they are in trouble.
Bumblebees have been disappearing in North America and around the world. Some species are on the brink; others may already be extinct.
The book explores what scientists know about what's causing the declines and what questions they still have. The list of culprits include parasites, pesticides, climate change, and habitat loss.
The book ends on a hopeful note, explaining what everyone can do to help bees.
In a starred review, Booklist calls it "well-balanced and objective… An important resource for all libraries."
Where Have All the Bees Gone? is a Junior Library Selection. It releases February 4th from Twenty-First Century Books.