Wild Honey Bees

Happy Spring! This week's review offers new insights and understanding of wild honey bees—their behaviors, adaptations, challenges, and more

Wild Honey Bees: An Intimate Portrait

Arndt, Ingo. by Ingo Arndt and Jürgen Tautz Princeton, 2022
192p, 9780691235080 $29.95

Wild Honey Bees: An Intimate Portrait book cover. Colony of honey bees with one the middle. Yellow lettering for text.

When people think about honeybees, they may envision human-managed colonies housed in wooden hives. Here, an award-winning nature photographer (Arndt) teams with sociobiologist and popular science writer Tautz (Univ. of Würzburg) to remind neophytes that although humans imposed the familiar constraints on honeybees for the sake of honey and wax production, many colonies live in the wild. Readers may have learned this in the context of upstate New York from Thomas Seeley’s Following the Wild Bees (CH, Nov’16, 54-1201), but this new book examines the colonies of Central Europe, showing how they adapted to their surroundings. A nest inside a tree hole must be big enough to allow the colony to grow but not too big for the bees to efficiently regulate the climate. There must be space enough to store food for the whole colony, especially the growing grubs. Having adapted to their habitat, wild bees are more efficient than domesticated bees because they are part of an intricate ecological web. The text is enlightening, but the photographs are superb. Never-photographed scenes from inside the colony and even views of the bees’ outside activities are among the delights. A coffee-table book with ecological and behavioral meaning. Outstanding!

Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers.
J. M. Gonzalez, Austin Achieve Public Schools
Interdisciplinary Subjects: Environmental Studies
Subject: Science & Technology – Biology – Zoology
Choice Issue: Jun 2022

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