Best Wellers Pick
Every other month the staff of Weller Book Works nominates and then votes on books we deem worthy of extra attention, our Best Weller's selection. We discount these books to you by 20% during the months for which they're chosen because we believe in them.
Review by Ceci Rigby
Both a blessing and a curse of bibliophilia is the voracious appetite for knowledge—the more I learn, the more I realize how little I know. Well, my friend, I can tell you one thing: I now know a ridiculous amount about bees thanks to The Bees in Your Backyard by Joseph S. Wilson and Olivia Messinger Carril.
“Save the bees” and other conversations surrounding pollinator decline have dominated our zeitgeist in the last decade. Bee imagery has graced tea towels and tattoo flash sheets—yet the subject of those pieces and of conversations surrounding the importance of pollinators has been primarily honey bees, a European species brought to this landscape in the 17th century. Ironically, the [honey] Beehive State of Utah is home to the greatest native bee diversity in the nation. The Bees in Your Backyard is Wilson’s and Carril’s rallying cry for us to appreciate the diversity of bees in our country far beyond the non-native honey bee.
This book is the most comprehensive guide to the bees of the United States that I’ve ever encountered, introducing you to the 4,000 different species of native bee species found in the U.S. and Canada. It is an incredible feat of accessible science that allows readers of all ages to go as deep or shallow as they please through a combination of engaging text and the taxonomic and visual depth of a field guide. You’ll fly through sections like “Is This a Bee?” which helps readers to differentiate between bees and other fuzzy flying insects; or the twenty pages outlining what we can do to promote bees in our neighborhoods, filled with plant zoning charts and descriptions on choice bee nesting habitats. The 900 vibrant color photographs alone are enough to keep you engrossed (many of which Wilson and Carril took themselves) as they guide you through the natural history of bees and through every bee family and genus in North America—describing key identification features, their distributions, nesting habits, diets, and more.
There is no better time to familiarize yourself with bees than the eve of spring. This book coupled with my past ecological research forever changed the way I interact with flowers and outdoor spaces. My eyes were suddenly opened to the reality that bees are everywhere, whether you’re walking down the streets of New York City or out in the backcountry. I encourage everyone to pick up a copy and become a steward to and an advocate for our dwindling native pollinators. No matter where we go (Antarctica aside), there will be bees in our backyards—let’s all get acquainted.