Christopher O’Toole and Anthony Raw
2004 edition 192 pages Hard cover (O150)
This is the reprint of the book enjoyed by anyone with a liking for bees. It is full of interesting illustrations (many in colour) and helpful diagrams. The book explains what bees are, and how they differ from other insects. With a world fauna of 25,000 described species in numbers of species, bees easily outstrip amphibians and reptiles (5,500 species), birds (8,600 species) and mammals (3,500 species) and new bee species are being identified every year. Most bee species are solitary and the life cycles of mining, mason, leaf-cutter and carder bees are described. The road leading to social honey bees and stingless bees is then discussed. The final chapter focuses on bees and flowers, with a whole chapter devoted to the unlikely partners: bees and orchids. The idea of the male honey bee as the lazy feckless drone, relying on workers to feed him has permeated our culture. To set the record straight the authors have devoted a whole chapter to males of the species carefully emphasising the vital role of male bees. How unfortunate that the picture on the cover of this new edition is a fly!