Being among bees is a full-body experience, Mark Winston writesfrom the low hum of tens of thousands of insects and the pungent smell of honey and beeswax, to the sight of workers flying back and forth between flowers and the hive. The experience of an apiary slows our sense of time, heightens our awareness, and inspires awe. Bee Time presents Winston’s reflections on three decades spent studying these creatures, and on the lessons they can teach about how humans might better interact with one another and the natural world.
Like us, honeybees represent a pinnacle of animal sociality. How they submerge individual needs into the colony collective provides a lens through which to ponder human societies. Winston explains how bees process information, structure work, and communicate, and examines how corporate boardrooms are using bee societies as a model to improve collaboration. He investigates how bees have altered our understanding of agricultural ecosystems and how urban planners are looking to bees in designing more nature-friendly cities.
The relationship between bees and people has not always been benign. Bee populations are diminishing due to human impact, and we cannot afford to ignore what the demise of bees tells us about our own tenuous affiliation with nature. Toxic interactions between pesticides and bee diseases have been particularly harmful, foreshadowing similar effects of pesticides on human health. There is much to learn from bees in how they respond to these challenges. In sustaining their societies, bees teach us ways to sustain our own.
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About the Author
Mark L. Winston is Professor and Senior Fellow at Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Dialogue and Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences.
Table of Contents
Prologue: Walking into the Apiary 1
1 Beginning with Bees 5
2 Honey 18
3 Killer Bees 40
4 A Thousand Little Cuts 57
5 Valuing Nature 83
6 Bees in the City 111
7 There's Something Bigger than Phil 133
8 Art and Culture 154
9 Being Social 174
10 Conversing 199
11 Lessons from the Hive 221
Epilogue: Walking out of the Apiary 239