Book Review: Bees by Sam Droege and Laurence Packer.

A book review today – this one is truly amazing!


Bees:  An Up-Close Look at Pollinators Around the World – Sam Droege and Laurence Packer (2015, Voyageur Press, Quarto Publishing Group USA Inc., Minnesota)

The bees may be from around the world, but the photography is absolutely out of this world in this beautiful hardcover offering from Sam Droege and Laurence Packer.  The detail and clarity of Droege’s images are breathtaking, a true celebration of different species of this complex and valuable pollinator.  The native bee specimens represented in this book inhabit locations such as Guyana, Chile, Paraguay, South Africa, the United States, India, Thailand, England, and Peru (among others); many come from private or public collections or were personally collected by the authors.  It is a delight to armchair travel and learn about the bees that most of us will never be able to see in our lifetimes:  the attractive furry white cape (and contrasting nasty hooked spurs) of the Spurred Grappler (Trichothurgus dubius), the Atlas Morning Glory Bee (which, as its name suggests, takes pollen from morning glories – and only morning glories), exquisitely-iridescent Xylocopa (carpenter bees), and the tellingly-monikered Red-Butted Campanula Lover (Melitta haemorrhoidalis) from England.  There are the deep blue Osmias from the United States and the Maple Solitary Miner, which takes pollen and nectar in early cold spring from emerging maple trees.  The large, metallic green Black-Winged Cuckoo Orchid Bee from Guyana seems almost supernatural, as does the Long-Nosed Sandlover, a bee with a formidably long tongue and head that resides in the Atacama Desert of Chile.  The easily-digestible short profiles of each bee offer interesting facts about their habitat, behaviour, and distinguishing features.

While this isn’t the sort of book that gardeners will likely use to identify the bees in their own landscape, the incredible images and fascinating information make it a must-have in your garden library.  Macro photographers – particularly those interested in insects – will find it a true inspiration for their own work.

If you want to take a look at Sam Droege’s stellar photography, check out the USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab gallery here.  

*A huge thank you to Quarto Publishing Group, which kindly gifted me with a copy of Bees.  My thoughts about the book are one million percent honest and true.


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