If you are
looking for an informative read about bees in North America and Canada, and a
book that will help you identify bees as well as provide habitat for them - will this book help you? - A book review
Students as well as interested amateurs, will learn much from this excellent book, which though written by experts, presents a plethora of information in a style which is both engaging and easy to read.
The authors are Joseph S Wilson – professor of biology at Utah State University, with over 10 years experience studying bees and wasps; and Olivia Messenger Carril, who has been studying bees and flowers for nearly 20 years, and has a PhD in plant biology from Southern Illinois University.
This book sets out all the essential background information about the different bee species: life cycles; predators; taxonomic hierarchy (nice to see it clearly and simply explained, as well as tips on pronunciation); habitats; the value of bees as pollinators, bee sociality etc etc; yet also….
The book also offers some of the best bee identification assistance I have seen in any book about bees, quite simply because:
With so many people keen to help bees, it’s always good to see tips on creating habitat and providing food.
The book offers guidance on providing bee houses and selecting plants based on the region in which you live. Interestingly, the authors state their list is based not on USDA zones, but on ‘natural delineations in bee species ranges and seasonality across the year’. My initial concern with this was that the regions would be too narrow, and simply help to reinforce fragmented habitats and narrow ranges. However, this is not the case. The United States and Canada have been divided into 7 regions. This gives bees broad habitat ranges, which is more helpful to expand bee populations.
The lists of flowers are relatively small, with some key flower species identified. However, the list provides a color code for the plant, and I tend to think that the selection is ample given the size of most gardens. For anyone needing a longer list of plants for a very large space, there are many sources of information available online.
Just about anyone interested in learning about bees! It’s ideal for students and teachers wishing to pass on information to students. It’s great for interested amateurs, whether their perspective is that of a citizen scientist/conservationist, a parent wanting to pass on lots of information to inquisitive children, or simply some-one who thinks bees are amazing, and want to learn more.
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