Our Native Bees: North America’s Endangered Pollinators and the Fight to Save Themby Paige Embry, 224 pages, 6½x9, hardcover. We all know honeybees are in trouble from colony collapse, varroa mites, neonicotinoids and overwork. Bumblebee populations have been dwindling, perhaps because of diseases introduced from Europe when greenhouse tomato growers tried to use commercially raised bumblebees as pollinators. But this book is not merely a chronicle of collapse; it is, more importantly, a celebration of the diversity of bees. Embry takes us on a tour of Crown Bees in Washington where Dave Hunter is raising blue orchard bees, Osmia lignaria, for sale to the orchards of the Northwest as an alternative to honeybees. She takes us to the bee lawn at U Minn created by Mary Meyer and Marla Spivak, although created may be too strong a word—they’ve taken a step back to the days before people thought a lawn was just grass and the chemical industry found a way to get rid of their surplus poison by convincing people clover was an unwelcome weed. She introduces us to some of the many species bees, the hard-working pollinators without whom we would all go hungry. For anyone who has ever sat and watched as the bees buzz, the photographs alone make this a necessary book. -David Shipman NEW!
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