Great Plains Natural Science Society


Date of this Version


Document Type

Book Review


The Prairie Naturalist 48: 109. 2016


Published by the Great Plains Natural Science Society. Used by permission.


Since the media’s coverage of the sudden losses of worker bee populations in many honeybee colonies during the winter of 2006-07 (a phenomenon that was later termed the Colony Collapse Disorder or CCD), there have been increasingly high levels of popular interest in bees and beekeeping in the United States. While a number of books have followed this wave of interest, Following the Wild Bees: The Craft and Science of Bee Hunting by Thomas Seeley is a fundamentally unique contribution to popular honeybee literature. The focus of the book is not on the current synergy of effects that are leading to the decline of honeybee health, which we are so accustomed to hearing and reading about. The book teaches readers how to track and enter into the world of the bees, without honey hunting as the motivating factor for doing so. Rather, bee hunting is presented as an activity to bring us closer to the lives of bees, that people have held in wonder since time immemorial. ...

Following the Wild Bees is a refreshing call back to the forest to mingle in the shadows of Thoreau and other early American naturalists. It is an ethical guide to rediscovering the natural wonders of bees and engaging with them for the joy of doing so. This would be a wonderful book to share with children or to read as a class.