Friday, July 2, 2010

The Hive Detectives

The Hive Detectives: Chronicle of a Honey Bee Catastrophe
by Loree Griffin Burns
80 pages
published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Publisher's Comments:

Without honey bees the world would be a different place. There would be no honey, no beeswax for candles, and, worst of all, barely a fruit, nut, or vegetable to eat. So imagine beekeeper Dave Hackenburg's horror when he discovered twenty million of his charges had vanished. Those missing bees became the first casualties of a mysterious scourge that continues to plague honey bee populations today. In The Hive Detectives, Loree Griffin Burns profiles bee wranglers and bee scientists who have been working to understand colony collapse disorder, or CCD. In this dramatic and enlightening story, readers explore the lives of the fuzzy, buzzy insects and learn what might happen to us if they were gone.

My comments:

This is another solid entry in the Scientists in the Field series. Burns provides a very interesting look at honeybees, the mysterious affliction (Colony Collapse Disorder) that have decimated their populations since 2006, and the scientists who study them. The pages are full of colorful high-quality photographs that show off the bees and the different colors of honey that they produce, as well as lots of facts about bees, apiarists (another name for beekeepers) and the scientists, of course.

I like that the various theories of what is happening to the bees are presented, as well as the evidence the scientists find that either rule them out or mark them as possible culprits. It's made clear that we don't know for sure what is happening to the bees yet, and that further research is necessary.

At the end there is a helpful glossary of bee-related terms, the cutely named "Appendix Bee," and a nice list of resources (including books, documentaries and websites) for further study.

This book didn't grab me as much as another title in the same series, The Frog Scientist. I think this is partially because The Hive Detectives highlights several scientists instead of focusing on one. There simply isn't time or space for Burns to get very personal with her subjects.

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