I am in love . . . with a book. I pre-ordered the new bee book by Joseph S. Wilson & Olivia Messinger Carril not knowing anything about it, but when it arrived, I became immediately and hopelessly enthralled.
I read until dinner and read while I mashed potatoes. Later, I read late into the night. After finally turning off my light and staring at the ceiling for awhile, I got back up and read some more.
The next morning I decided to e-mail my friend at OlyPollinators about the book, but when I opened my e-mail, there was a message with the subject line, “A book!!” Glen had beaten me to it.
The new book has the ridiculous title of The Bees in Your Backyard. Ridiculous because it sounds like a children’s book, sort of like “Dick and Jane Go to the Seashore”—but it is so much more than that.
I have a shelf about three feet long full of books that I use for wild bee identifications. Most have only short sections on identification methods, and most are extremely limited, covering only certain families or certain geographical areas, or having complex keys with no photos. Each time I want to i.d. a bee, these books spill out over the floor as I ruffle through them, usually to no avail.
But this book is different. According to the back cover, “It gives detailed accounts of every bee family and genus in North America, describing key identification features, distributions, diets, nesting habits, and more.” Did you catch that? Every genus in North America! It also has more than 900 color photos.
The book is chock-full of identification tips, including photos of wing veins, detailed depictions of facial patterns, tongue diagrams, and photos of similar genera. Each genus has a pronunciation guide, a size-range diagram, a distribution map that shows not only where the bee occurs but also the likelihood of occurrence in that area. Best, the book contains hundreds of little highlighted text boxes that reveal bee trivia, and the whole thing is well-written and easy to understand.
This is the book I have been waiting for, the one I wish I had years ago. If you are at all interested in wild and native bees—and as a beekeeper you should be—this is the book for you. It is published by Princeton University Press and is available in both softcover and Kindle editions. Although I usually buy e-books, when it comes to field guides and references, I prefer printed materials. The print edition of this unbelievable book is only $22.39 on Amazon.
Enough said. Now I’m going to dig out that little box of dead bees I’ve been keeping in my closet and see if I can figure out who they are. The Bees in Your Backyard: A Guide to North America’s Bees
Honey Bee Suite