A World Without Bees
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A World Without Bees

by Allison Benjamin, Brian McCallum
     
 

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From Los Angeles to London, from Slovenia to Taiwan, honeybees are dying. What is behind the catastrophe? Writers and beekeepers Benjamin and McCallum have traveled across Europe and North America investigating the plight of the honeybee, which is disappearing across the globe at an alarming rate. From commercial almond farmers in California to local honey cultivators…  See more details below

Overview

From Los Angeles to London, from Slovenia to Taiwan, honeybees are dying. What is behind the catastrophe? Writers and beekeepers Benjamin and McCallum have traveled across Europe and North America investigating the plight of the honeybee, which is disappearing across the globe at an alarming rate. From commercial almond farmers in California to local honey cultivators in the English countryside, all suffer from lonely hives that are filled with baby bees where all the adults have disappeared. The loss of our black-and-yellow pollinators would mean the end of agriculture as we know it, threatening our civilization and our way of life, as a third of what we eat and much of what we wear is directly dependent on bees. Addressing different causes for this growing catastrophe, A World Without Bees will both enthrall readers and spur them to action. "If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years of life left." Albert Einstein"

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The authors of this data-rich study about the mystery of the disappearing honeybee, dubbed colony collapse disorder (CCD) since first noted in 2006, consider an array of contributory causes, from invasive mites and the advent of monoculture to pesticide ingestion and urban sprawl. But the collapse, they suggest, likely has no single culprit and can be rolled into an overarching reality—stressed honeybees, now trucked in dwindling numbers across the continent, have been pushed to the point of collapse “so that the global agricultural system can keep producing cheap food.” The numbers are daunting: one-third of everything Americans eat, from nuts and onions to berries and broccoli, depends on nature's master pollinator; 800,000 colonies representing billions of bees died mysteriously in 2007, and one million vanished in 2008. Continuing CCD could cost the American economy $75 billion, and if CCD continues unchecked, there could be a world without bees by 2035. Benjamin and McCallum, beekeepers both, cover much the same ground as previous books (A Spring Without Bees; Fruitless Fall), but bring the added emotion and urgency of passionate apiarists. (Oct.)
Kirkus Reviews
Two amateur apiarists draw attention to the alarming plight of the honeybee. In 2007, newspapers began carrying reports of a strange and widespread disease affecting the hives of honeybees. The bees were dying in droves. The potentially catastrophic situation was dubbed colony collapse disorder (CCD), and it touched beekeepers and farmers throughout the world. Benjamin and McCallum sound an alarm, beginning by drawing readers into the fascinating cultural history of bees, providing examples of their metaphorical and symbolic associations. As the authors explain, honeybees are the uber-pollinators, their hives trucked from farm to farm, setting in motion the fertilization of untold numbers of crops, from blueberries in Maine to almonds in California. The authors launch an intelligent, open-minded investigation into possible agents of collapse-first noting that such collapses have been periodic in the bee industry-including parasites, pesticides, global warming, genetically modified transgenic pollens and stress from long shipping times. The hives, write the authors, "can easily cover 11,000 miles . . . each year, going up to the apple orchards in Washington State, then over to the north-east for cranberries and pumpkins, before finishing with blueberries in Maine." Most likely, the causes are a combination of many different agents. Neither Benjamin nor McCallum will be hailed as prose stylists, and they often pack information into laundry lists. But CCD is a compelling subject, and the authors ably convey their knowledge, perspective and passion. Awkwardly written, but provides dozens of good reasons to care about the disappearance of bees.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781605980652
Publisher:
Pegasus
Publication date:
11/17/2009
Pages:
298
Product dimensions:
5.74(w) x 8.58(h) x 1.07(d)

Meet the Author

Allison Benjamin is deputy editor of Society Guardian and writes on environmental issues and social affairs.

Brian McCallum is an apiarist and currently studying to become a geography professor. He lives in London.

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