What is happening to bees?
That question led me on the winding trail that runs through Where Have All the Bees Gone? Pollinators in Crisis.
Like many people, I had been hearing news reports about declines among managed honey bees for years. But a few years ago, while researching The Monarchs Are Missing: A Butterfly Mystery, I began to get hints that the problem ran deeper.
Many of the scientists, master gardeners, teachers, and butterfly experts I was interviewing wanted to talk wild bees. They told me that native bees were in trouble, too, not just monarchs and managed honey bees. I decided to investigate.
The book 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 cute and fuzzy bumblebees. They are the work-horses 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.