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Bees: A Natural History Hardcover – 14 Nov 2013

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Firefly Books Ltd (14 Nov. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1770852085
  • ISBN-13: 978-1770852082
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 2.4 x 27.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 365,086 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Chris O'Toole, in conjunction with Tony Raw, wrote Bees of the World, which has become a seminal volume: this new book will rightfully take its place beside it on the bookshelf. ... It is (O'Toole's) writing style that makes him stand out. As an international scientist, he is accurate and detailed in his information yet he has the flowing style of a gifted writer: never verbose and never ever patronizing.... Questions of some simplicity, which a novice might be embarrassed to ask, but are vital to full and complete understanding, are answered and explained in such a way that even the highly informed will find fresh and interesting... The quality and detail of the wonderful colour photography of Edward Ross and others, which enhance almost every page, is truly the icing on this delicious cake.--Richard Jones"Bee World International" (01/01/2014)

About the Author

Christopher O'Toole is an entomologist, author and speaker. He works at the Hope Entomological Collections of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. He has been scientific consultant to many television projects, including The Birth of the Bees for the BBC and on the David Attenborough series Life on Earth and was scientific consultant on the feature film Angels and Insects. His books include Bees of the World and for children, Discovering Bees and Wasps.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By nocholson on 22 Nov. 2013
Format: Hardcover
Christopher O'Toole's latest book is an accessible and informative read for all with an interest in these fascinating creatures. The vital place of bees in our ecology is becoming more widely understood. Bees, A Natural History with its clear exposition and beautiful photographs is a treat to read and will advance the cause of bees everywhere!
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Format: Hardcover
Disappointing. I received this book as a gift from my wish list, expecting from the hype to learn a great deal about bees, but it's just a coffee table book. Many of the excellent photographs are spoiled by being spread over two pages with the crease obscuring key features, and the text is riddled with grammatical errors which make it difficult to concentrate. By the font size I'd say it's aimed at children. There's no doubting the author's knowledge of his subject, so why doesn't he show it?
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By nwl on 14 Sept. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a tremendous book, well written and fascinating to read. The only real problem was that in the end I wanted to learn more. Being curious about the different bees in our meadow, I ordered it on the basis of a review, but might have hesitated if I had seen it first. The illustrations are magnificent, and wonderful as you are reading, but were a bit off-putting at first leaf-through. There isn't a satisfactory way around this, but don't be put off - it's so worthwhile.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 9 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A Very Good Introduction to Our Most Important Pollinators 7 Jan. 2014
By David B Richman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Pollinators are so important in agriculture that one would think it would be unnecessary to emphasize this fact. Unfortunately many people don't realize how important these are, and especially the many species of solitary and a lesser numbers of social bees. Most people recognize the honey bee as important, but even then their knowledge of such is usually limited. Christopher O'Toole in "Bees: A Natural History" has produced an easy to read and well-illustrated volume that should correct this deficiency.

His coverage includes chapters on the definition of bees (solitary wasps that have taken up feeding their young pollen and nectar, and sometimes honey (processed nectar), and in some cases become social), the diversity of bees, the association with flowering plants, how bees live, the enemies of bees, the conservation of bees, bees in folklore and medicine, and finally how one can become a backyard bee scientist.

This subject is both extremely important and very timely, as bees are threatened almost everywhere. I recommend that anybody with even a minor interest in pollination, agriculture or conservation read this book. They will be well rewarded by the effort.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HoneyBees 28 Dec. 2013
By David Knox - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Beautiful pictures accompanied by accurate descriptions of the life and times of honeybees. Highly recommend for the apiarists as well as non-beekeepers.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
a fasinating book about bees (spoilers)... 16 Jun. 2014
By Stacy Hackney (formerly customerS) - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
beautiful photos of many types of bees and writing about their evolution, stages of life, and how they organize themselves. I learned, among other things, that most bee species are non-social, that they have been around since the dinosaurs, that they evolved from wasps, and that if they survive a predatory attack from an opportunistic spider hiding among flower petals, that they will mark the flower with an alarm pheromone to warn their hive members of the lurking danger. checked the book out from the library and will buy a copy for myself when I can. 4 and 1/2 stars.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
many beautiful photos. It touches briefly on all species of ... 4 Sept. 2014
By Jay Duncan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I originally checked this book out at my local library. It really opened my eyes about the incredible variety of bees that are out there. The photographs in this book's illustrations are incredible. The cover photo is just one of many, many beautiful photos. It touches briefly on all species of bees with one chapter about honeybees. Like other commenters have said I can't praise the illustrations enough.
Model of scholarship 28 Jun. 2015
By doug k - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
More than most people probably will read or understand but a great book by someone with incredible knowledge. Great photographs, very well organized, a model of scholarship, clearly a labor of love. Other books on pollinators:

Bush, Michael, The Practical Beekeeper: Beekeeping Naturally, X-STAR PUBLISHING COMPANY, 2011

Caron, Dewey M., Lawrence John Connor, Robert G. Muir, Honey Bee Biology and Beekeeping, Revised Edition, Wicwas Press; Revised edition, 2013

Conrad, Ross, Gary Paul Nabhan, Natural Beekeeping: Organic Approaches to Modern Apiculture, 2nd Edition, Chelsea Green Publishing; Revised and updated second edition, 2013

Crowder, Les, Heather Harrell, Top-Bar Beekeeping: Organic Practices for Honeybee Health, Chelsea Green Publishing, 2012

Fisher, Rose-Lynn, Verlyn Klinkenborg, Bee, Princeton Architectural Press, 2012

Flottum, Kim, Backyard Beekeeper - Revised and Updated, 3rd Edition: An Absolute Beginner's Guide to Keeping Bees in Your Yard and Garden - New material includes: - ... urban beekeeping - How to use top bar hives, Quarry Books; 3 edition, 2014

Fogden, Michael, Marianne Taylor, Sheri L. Williamson, Hummingbirds: A Life-size Guide to Every Species, Harper Design, 2014

Frankie, Gordon W., Robbin W. Thorp, Rollin E. Coville, California Bees and Blooms: A Guide for Gardeners and Naturalists, Heyday, 2014

Holm, Heather N., Pollinators of Native Plants: Attract, Observe and Identify Pollinators and Beneficial Insects with Native Plants, Pollination Press LLC, 2014

Howell, Steve N. G., Hummingbirds of North America: The Photographic Guide, Princeton University Press, 2003

Lazaroff, David Wentworth, The Secret Lives of Hummingbirds, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Press, 1995

Nordhaus, Hannah, The Beekeeper's Lament: How One Man and Half a Billion Honey Bees Help Feed America, Harper Perennial, Original edition, 2011

O'Toole, Christopher, Bees: A Natural History, Firefly Books, 2013

Pyle, Robert Michael, The National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies, (Vinyl Bound) Knopf; Chanticleer Press edition, 1981

Sammataro, Diana, Alphonse Avitabile, Dewey M. Caron, The Beekeeper's Handbook, Comstock Publishing Associates; 4 edition, 2011

Seeley, Thomas D., Honeybee Democracy, Princeton University Press, 2010

Tautz, Jürgen, Helga R. Heilmann, David C. Sandeman, The Buzz about Bees: Biology of a Superorganism, Springer, 2009

Williamson, Sheri, A Field Guide to Hummingbirds of North America (Peterson Field Guides), (Turtleback) Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002

Wilson-Rich, Noah, Kelly Allin, Norman Carreck, The Bee: A Natural History, Princeton University Press; With contributions from Kelly Allin, Norman Carreck & Andrea Quigley edition, 2014

Winston, Mark L., The Biology of the Honey Bee, Harvard University Press, 1991

Xerces Society, Dr. Marla Spivak, Attracting Native Pollinators: The Xerces Society Guide, Protecting North America's Bees and Butterflies, Storey Publishing, LLC, 2011

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