Nature Reads – Buzz: The Nature and Necessity of Bees

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a Nature Reads post, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been reading! Buzz: The Nature and Necessity of Bees has been one of my favorite books of the year and one I simply haven’t been able to stop “buzzing” about since I finished it this past spring.

The latest from biologist and author, Thor Hanson, Buzz delves into the world of bees – starting with their biology, then glimpsing into their evolution, examining their crucial connection to plants, animals, and ecosystems, and finally, considering their undeniable influence on humanity and our potentially disastrous influence on them. But this isn’t just another bee book. Hanson beautifully weaves his personal exploration of bee species with an eloquent account of their existence. The result is a poetic story of this tiny creature’s profound impact that is both accessible and enlightening.

The book’s inside jacket blurb promises that after reading, you’ll be much more aware and in awe of the bees you may encounter in your day to day life, and I must say, that’s no empty guarantee. I was suddenly noticing bees all around me, and when I previously would have kept my distance, I now found myself inching closer to observe a bumble moving from flower to flower in Central Park, and explaining to the husband, still staying a decent amount away, how to identify honeybees from bumbles, masons and more. (I submit the photos below as proof.)

The thing about Buzz is that it pinpoints a connection humans have had with nature for hundreds of years, and by doing so, Hanson shines a light on a dependent relationship that we often take for granted. In detailing the clever ways flowers have evolved to get just the pollination they need, I was humbled by good old mother nature, and in highlighting what an involved, dangerous, and expensive process it is when humans have to pollinate a crop, like dates, I was truly concerned for the future of our food industry. Hansons comical, yet relatable, deconstruction of a McDonald’s Big Mac to show just how plain it would be without bees is a perfect example of his charming prose.

The final chapter of this book brought me to tears, not because I love bees so much, but because I care about humanity. I care about future generations. I care about the planet. And just as unassuming and quietly as a honeybee, Buzz reminds us that we’re all connected and we all have a part to play in nature.

I simply cannot recommend this book enough. Read it.

Buzz: The Nature and Necessity of Bees by Thor Hanson

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