Wicked Bugs: The Louse That Conquered Napoleon's Army & Other Diabolical Insects

Wicked Bugs: The Louse That Conquered Napoleon's Army & Other Diabolical Insects

4.6 9
by Amy Stewart
     
 

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In this darkly comical look at the sinister side of our relationship with the natural world, Stewart has tracked down over one hundred of our worst entomological foes—creatures that infest, infect, and generally wreak havoc on human affairs. From the world’s most painful hornet, to the flies that transmit deadly diseases, to millipedes that stop traffic,…  See more details below

Overview

In this darkly comical look at the sinister side of our relationship with the natural world, Stewart has tracked down over one hundred of our worst entomological foes—creatures that infest, infect, and generally wreak havoc on human affairs. From the world’s most painful hornet, to the flies that transmit deadly diseases, to millipedes that stop traffic, to the “bookworms” that devour libraries, to the Japanese beetles munching on your roses, Wicked Bugs delves into the extraordinary powers of six- and eight-legged creatures.

With wit, style, and exacting research, Stewart has uncovered the most terrifying and titillating stories of bugs gone wild. It’s an A to Z of insect enemies, interspersed with sections that explore bugs with kinky sex lives (“She’s Just Not That Into You”), creatures lurking in the cupboard (“Fear No Weevil”), insects eating your tomatoes (“Gardener’s Dirty Dozen”), and phobias that feed our (sometimes) irrational responses to bugs (“Have No Fear”).

Intricate and strangely beautiful etchings and drawings by Briony Morrow-Cribbs capture diabolical bugs of all shapes and sizes in this mixture of history, science, murder, and intrigue that begins—but doesn’t end—in your own backyard.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781604692945
Publisher:
Timber
Publication date:
09/28/2011

Meet the Author

Amy Stewart is the bestselling author of five books on the perils and pleasures of the natural world. Her essays and commentaries have appeared on NPR, in the New York Times, and in Fine Gardening, where she is a contributing editor. Stewart is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and the American Horticultural Society’s 2010 Book Award. She lives in Eureka, California, where she and her husband own an antiquarian bookstore. Find her online at www.amystewart.com and at www.gardenrant.com.

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Wicked Bugs 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
SAHARATEA More than 1 year ago
You'll more than likely find this title in the Nature section of your bookstore, but it could realistically be shelved under Horror. This book is seriously scary. In a breezy, light tone and pace, it describes all sorts of frightening details about insects, especially in terms of what they will do to you if you run across them. Covering various continents, there's really no place you are safe from these tiniest of creatures-sure, they may not hunt you down exactly, but the odds are with them that one of their kin will be dining with (or on) you. Flies, caterpillars, spiders: the diseases they carry and their methods of transmission are all detailed, with anecdotal stories illustrating just how effective they can be. The book is a sequel to Wicked Plants by the same author (which I haven't yet read), and it's extremely well-researched. One section details early forms of biological warfare, when soldiers would hurl hornet's nests or scorpion-filled baskets over the city walls of their opposer, causing havoc and sickening many. Another section explains why you should be a cat-person, as the diseases that rats, mice, and vermin still carry (the plague in the past) are easily able to sicken you. I made the mistake of reading this before bed. I don't recommend that, as you'll find yourself convinced something is crawling in your sheets. Despite the light-hearted presentation, the book does a serious service by showing just how interlinked species are, and how extinction of some animals or insects causes a disparity that often increases the danger of illness and infection. The balance of habitats is essential to keep most of these bugs manageable. Really, there is no such thing as a "small" bug in the living world as all factor in somehow. A great gift title, but I would probably hold back from sharing with children. The chapters on bug reproduction are, um, disturbing and graphic. Clearly, a bug's life is not always fun, and (spoiler alert!)the males usually end up dismembered and dead. For the most part, females rule the insect world and males are their underlings and servants. In terms of criticism? I find none except that I wish some areas were even more in depth, such as to know exactly why these insects behave the way they do. However, the information given is accessible and never loses your interest as it might if it became too much like a scholarly article or textbook. This is my favorite kind of nonfiction title, and it's already been devoured by two other members of my family. Mention must be made of the incredible illustrations that accompany the text by Briony Morrow-Cribbs. They are hand-drawn and stunning.
Chowbell More than 1 year ago
This is an interesting, entertaining book. Isn't it wonderful that there are so many amazing, living things on this planet to find out about?And Amy Stewart is a pro at making us want to.
efm More than 1 year ago
Bought both of her books, Wicked Bugs and Wicked Plants, enjoyed both, learned a lot.
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