Humans have kept honey bees in hives for millennia, yet only in recent decades have biologists begun to investigate how these industrious insects live in the wild. The Lives of Bees is Thomas Seeley’s story of what scientists are learning about the behavior, social life, and survival strategies of honey bees living outside the beekeeper’s hive―and how wild honey bees may hold the key to reversing the alarming die-off of the planet’s managed honey bee populations.
After years of fieldwork, Seeley has written a definitive account of bee life in the wild ... He gives a fascinating account of how he located nests by baiting feeding boxes ... A fascinating chapter details how wild bees construct their wild nests ... One is lost in admiration at the complexity, indeed ingenuity, of bees in the wild ... The Lives of Bees is a beautifully written journey through the little known world of wild bees. Freely leavened with Seeley’s own, almost unrivaled, experience of bee life, this remarkable book will become a definitive classic.
...unlike previous works, The Lives of Bees focuses primarily on how colonies of honey bees live in the wild ... Seeley provides an in-depth scientific look at honey bee colony nests, reproduction, food collection, temperature control, and more. His hands-on experience with honey bees in the Ithaca, New York area, where Cornell is located, personalizes the story ... Perhaps the most interesting portion of the book is the comparison of wild colonies with managed colonies.
In densely written chapters, the author reviews his extensive research into nest architecture, annual cycles, reproduction, collection of food, control of temperature, and defense of the colony ... The author helpfully describes the 21 ways in which wild colonies differ from managed colonies and then offers 14 practical suggestions for ways in which the beekeeper can help their colonies live better lives ... a wealth of information ... The book will be valuable to beekeepers and of interest to fellow entomologists.