The ink our ancestors wrote with, the beeswax in altar candles, the honey on our toast, the silk we wear - This enchanting book is a highly entertaining exploration of the myriad ways insects have enriched our lives - culturally, economically, and aesthetically. Entomologist and writer Gilbert Waldbauer describes in loving, colorful detail how many of the valuable products insects have given us are made, how they were discovered, and how they have been used through time and across cultures. Along the way, he takes us on a captivating ramble through many far-flung corners of history, mythology, poetry, literature, medicine, ecology, forensics, and more. Enlivened with personal anecdotes from Waldbauer's distinguished career as an entomologist, the book also describes surprising everyday encounters we all experience that were made possible by insects. From butterfly gardens and fly-fishing to insects as jewelry and sex pheromones, this is an eye-opening ode to the wonder of insects that illuminates our extraordinary and essential relationship with the natural world.
"Abuzz with obscure lore about a host of bugs that are as accommodating to humans as bedbugs, fleas, and mosquitoes are annoying." Natural History "Accessible, easy prose ready-made for a broad, curious audience." Publishers Weekly "Reading this book is like sitting at the feet of a favourite uncle on a winter evening beside a crackling fire." New Scientist "An easy-to-read book that is interesting and entertaining." Foreword "Professional yet conversational, Waldbauer's essays are an homage to a world that first fascinated him as a child." Audubon Magazine