The more we learn about bees, the more extraordinary they seem. They have five eyes. Their fertilized eggs hatch as females; unfertilized eggs become males. They beat their wings at a rate of almost 200 cycles per second, but fly at only 10 or 15 miles per hour. In the course of a lifetime, a typical worker bee will produce less than a tenth of a teaspoon of honey, yet a single hive's population can produce as much as 2 pounds of honey a day. A queen bee, in a single day, will lay her weight in eggs - as many as 1,500 in an uninterrupted 24-hour period. And to communicate with each other bees do make sounds, but mostly they dance in order to share information on the distance and direction to the nearest food source.This book provides the newcomer a first view into the extraordinary and surprisingly complex and highly organized world of bees. The book describes their evolution, and explains the differences between wild bees and honey-bees. It also sheds light on bee society, with its amazing rituals related to work, reproduction, defense of the hive, and most amazingly, communication.
The author also explains the critical role that bees and beekeeping play for human society, and offers advice for those interested in raising bees themselves.Dr. Karl Weiss is an entomologist and the director of the Bavarian Institution for Beekeeping at Erlangen, Germany. He is engaged in theoretical as well as applied apicultural research. Weiss is the author of numerous scientific and popular publications on bees and is considered one of Germany's foremost authorities on apiculture.
From the reviews:
"The authors Karl Weiss and Carlos H. Vergara give a startling view into the surprisingly complex and highly organized world of bees. The book describes not only the evolution of our honeybee, but also of dozens of types of wild bees. It sheds light on bee society, with its amazing rituals related to work, reproduction, defense of the hive, and, most amazingly, communication, and it even provides helpful advice for those interested in helping bees nest." (Science in Africa, November, 2002)
"This book introduces bees in a nontechnical style understandable to general readers. This reviewer found it enjoyable and learned many interesting facts. ... Recommended to anyone who wants to learn more about bees ... ." (R. C. Graves, Choice, February, 2003)
"This charming introduction, written for a general audience, is primarily devoted to describing the various kinds of bees, their history and role in the ecosystem, and their private and social lives. Entomologists Weiss and Vergara are engagingly enthusiastic about their topic. Presented in a charming small format ... ." (SciTech Book News, December, 2002)
"Great things to do, indeed, sometimes come in small packages, and The Little Book of Bees provides the proof. Packed into a tightly written book of 150 small pages is a goldmine of information about bees. ... At all times, the book is intelligently written, easily read by the layman while also offering serious bits of science to those who want to know more. Any reader can learn a lot from this book." (Epinions.com, January, 2003)
"A beautifully presented book. It provides a thoughtful, precise and readable text that will be appreciated by anyone wanting to lean more about the many different kinds of bees, of which the best known honeybees and bumblebees are but a tiny minority. ... Illustrated with excellent line drawings." (Beekeeping & Development, Issue 66, March, 2003)
"I opened the book with some trepidation, but found that I had entered a treasure trove of information about species of bees, both known and entirely unknown to me - and I rapidly became absorbed in its content! ... The social development of many of the solitary bees is effectively described, together with their unique mating behaviour, whilst defence strategies are carefully considered for the location and materials used in the building of brood nests against threats posed ... . This is an excellent 'little book'." (Beekeeping, February, 2003)
"Weiss is a great admirer of the sophisticated structures built by bees and tries to share his enthusiasm with a broader audience in this dainty, unassuming book co-written with Carlos Vergara. He charts the development of their social systems from the various primitive groups of solitary bees, through the beginnings of cooperative systems in the stingless and bumble bees to the pinnacle of achievement in the honey bee Apis mellifera, whose colonies may contain up to 80,000 individuals." (New Scientist, November, 2002)