Buzz, Sting, Bite: Why We Need Insects

In light of recent news stories reporting dramatic drops in insect populations around the world, Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson's Buzz, Sting, Bite: Why We Need Insects is an especially vital and timely work. Written by a professor at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, the book is both witty and informative, a captivating introduction to how creepy-crawlies affect all life on Earth.

The book opens with several chapters on the insects themselves: their biology, their life cycles, the ways in which they organize their communities. The author drops some truly fascinating facts: ants are capable of teaching other ants, she writes. And, incredibly, bees are capable of recognizing specific human faces.

Sverdrup-Thygeson goes on to explore how insects are studied and named--the story of how the Beyoncé horsefly got its name is especially hilarious--and the complex relationships between insects, plants and other animals. The final section is the most poignant and eye-opening. Sverdrup-Thygeson explains in clear and urgent prose how important insects are to human life. Yes, insects are highly adaptable creatures. But through "intensive land use, climate change, insecticides, and the introduction of invasive species," humans have created conditions that are threatening insect populations everywhere. It's our "moral duty," she writes, to "rein in our dominance of the earth" so that "millions of fellow creatures" may have a chance to "live out their tiny, wonderful lives, too." Amusing and thoughtful, Buzz, Sting, Bite reminds us that all life on Earth is connected. --Amy Brady, freelance writer and editor

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