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Monday, April 26, 2010

The Buzz on Bees, by Shelley Rotner and Anne Woodhull. Photographed by Shelley Rotner. Holiday House, T Allen. 2010.$21.50 ages 8 and up

"Honeybees are master pollinators. We can thank them for about one out of every three
mouthfuls of food that we eat.
Without bees, but especially without honeybees, there would be fewer cantaloupes, cucumbers, blueberries, peppers, broccoli, soybeans, watermelons, peaches, tomatoes, pumpkins, onions, and almonds. So many of the fruits, nuts and vegetables we eat depend on honeybees for pollination."

There has been much in the news in recent years about the disappearance and death of bees. This informative, easy to understand book helps readers of all ages begin to recognize the problems that are arising with the loss. Shelley Rotner took her camera along as she sought some answers to her questions about bees, and used it well to help her readers 'see' through her eyes the wonders in the world of bees.

Beekeepers are confused by the change of events with their bees. They have seen nothing like it in a lifetime of work. When Dave Hackenberg made his discovery four years ago, he began speaking with others in his industry and found that they were experiencing the same thing. "People were shocked to learn that in just four years, about one-third of the honeybees in the United States had disappeared without a trace."

The loss of the many bees that make our world a better place is alarming, and should be! The trickle down effect is felt in every aspect of modern agriculture. Rotner describes the many species of bees that work to make our world better and more viable. She tells us how they are transported across country to help in all areas of farming. There have been other times when losses were reported by beekeepers but nothing in history has been so catastrophic. Scientists are calling it CCD, Colony Collapse Disorder. Many people are working to try to determine the causes.

Some of their questions are concerned with disease, viruses, stress, drugs, diet, loss of habitat, global warming, air pollution, chemicals and electromagnetic fields. There are many questions and no real answers as yet. Why is this happening and what can we do? This award winning author provides some answers and suggestions. Then, she encourages us to find out more with a list of important resources and ends with a very interesting Did you know? page which includes:

"Honeybees have a dancing language. They dance to let other bees know the location of flowers."

"A bee can visit ten flowers a minute."

"Honeybees collect nectar from more than a million flowers to make one pound of honey."

This book is worth a look and careful consideration.

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