SOURCE: Firefly Books Ltd.

Firefly Books Ltd.

October 25, 2013 09:00 ET

New From Firefly Books

Bees: A Natural History

TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - October 25, 2013) - Recent headlines have sounded the alarm all too clearly. Bees are dying in tens of millions. Beekeepers have lost their entire hive stocks when nearby fields were sprayed with pesticides. Record-breaking losses have been recorded in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, the European Union and around the world. In China, 40,000 workers must hand-pollinate crops using feather dusters because there are no bees left. The alarming decline of bee populations is threatening food security around the world.

Bees: A Natural History (Firefly Books, $40.00 hardcover, November 2013) immerses readers in the world of a group of insects whose diversity of form and behavior is eloquent testimony to the fine-tuning of natural selection. This book aims to introduce readers to bees and their impressive diversity of size, form and behavior.

Sophisticated computing skills, fail-safe sun-compass orientation, a true sense of time and enviable fuel efficiency are just some of bees' remarkable characteristics. They can be found in high, alpine and sub-arctic regions, rainforest, savannahs, steppes and deserts. The greatest diversity of species occurs in shrub communities in regions with a Mediterranean-type climate: short mild winters, warm springs and hot dry summers.

Written by a respected entomologist and specialist in bees, the book's topics include:

  • What are bees? (The Wasp Inheritance) -- Bees as foragers, their nesting instinct, on-board computing facility, sun-compass orientation and sense of time
  • The many ways of being a bee -- Solitary versus social, Miners and masons, Leafcutters and carpenters
  • Bees and flowering plants
  • The male of the species -- Mating strategies, patrols, competition, territoriality, the role of scent
  • The enemies of bees -- Cleptoparasites, cuckoo bees
  • Bees and People -- historic and contemporary
  • Bees in Folk and Modern Medicine
  • The Conservation of Bees -- the decline of bees and honeybees, bees in human ecology, bee conservation, urban bees
  • Bee projects -- the backyard bee scientist.

Bees can be found throughout history in roles poetic and military, in medicine and agriculture, in the kitchen and in the kit of a traditional healer. They have played a bigger role in human existence than is often recognized. This beautifully illustrated, appreciative tribute will be welcomed by entomologists, students and all naturalist readers.

If we hope to find solutions to food scarcity and environmental crises, we would do well to appreciate the bees.

About the Author:

Christopher O'Toole is an entomologist, author and speaker. Formerly based at the Hope Entomological Collections of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, his research has centered on the systematics, biogeography and floral relations of solitary bees. He has published widely, including 20 books on insects for the general reader. His books include Bees of the World and for children, Discovering Bees and Wasps.

Christopher O'Toole has been scientific consultant to many television projects, including The Birth of the Bees for the BBC and on the David Attenborough series Life on Earth and was scientific consultant on the feature film Angels and Insects.

Title: Bees: A Natural History

Author: Christopher O'Toole

Specs: 240 pages, 8½" x 11", 125 color photographs, 3 appendixes, index;
$40.00 Hardcover

EAN: 978-177085-208-2

Pub Date: November 2013 
Publisher: Firefly Books

Available at bookstores, online booksellers and

Firefly Books Ltd., established in 1977, is a North American publisher of non-fiction and distributor of non-fiction and children's books. Firefly's goal is to bring readers beautifully produced books written by experts at reasonable prices.

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