The Solitary Bees
BY BRYAN N. DANFORTH, RIBERT L. MINCKLEY AND JOHN L. NEFF, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY PRESS, £35 Whatever you thought you knew about bees is probably wrong. Honeybees and bumbles (only 10 per cent of bees) have monopolised public awareness, leaving solitary species undervalued. Solitary by virtue of each female working alone to build a nest and stock it with enough pollen/nectar cake to rear her precious few (usually 6–35) offspring, the non-social bees are as vulnerable and in need of conservation effort as they are ignored. Yet their diversity is astounding – from flightless, big-headed males to cuckoo parasitism and underwater nests. This book sometimes uses technical language to discuss complex science, but there is something astonishing on every page.
Richard Jones Entomologist