The Collapse of the Honey Bee and the Coming Agricultural Crisis
Writer and reporter Rowan Jacobsen has written seven books and founded the Oysterater blog (https://www.oysterater.com) and writes extensively on food and its relationship to the environment. He currently writes about biologically engineered food. He has received several awards for his writing, including James Beard awards for A Geography of Oysters and Fruitless Fall. According to the American Beekeeping Federation, honey bees contribute over $20 billion per year to the value of US crop production. Many crops we depend on would not exist without the honey bee and the quality and production of others would be significantly reduced. In Fruitless Fall: The Collapse of the Honey Bee and the Coming Agricultural Crisis Jacobsen explores the why and how of the collapse of bees and warns what it will mean. In the process he tells a fascinating story about the modern honey bee: how they conquered the world and how the honey bee business works and the different kinds of honey bees. He introduces us to many of the people involved and shows us the crisis through their eyes. He makes a compelling argument that the bee hive is a single intelligent, living entity and describes how the the various elements - the workers, queens and drones - work together and how the various elements coordinate to ensure the survival of the whole. He describes the challenges to the hive - mites, pesticides, climate, and others and suggests several modern factors that may be disrupting the communication within the hive and driving the collapse of bees. Rather than attacking one pest or pesticide at a time, Rowan suggests that more holistic approach and points to several potential solutions. This is a fascinating, very readable and important book that makes a crucial environmental issue understandable and also helps us understand the interface between humans and the environment that we are a part of and live in.
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