We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Why Do Bees Buzz?

Why Do Bees Buzz? Fascinating Answers to Questions about Bees

Elizabeth Capaldi Evans and Carol A. Butler

Publication Year: 2010

Twenty-five thousand species of bees certainly create a loud buzz. Yet silence descended a few years ago when domesticated bee populations plummeted. Bees, in particular honey bees, are critical links in the vibrant chain that brings fruits, vegetables, and nuts to markets and dinner tables across the country. Farmers and scientists on the agricultural frontlines quickly realized the impact of this loss, but many others did not see this devastation.

Why Do Bees Buzz? reports on the mysterious "colony collapse disorder" that has affected honey bee populations, as well as other captivating topics, such as their complex, highly social lives, and how other species of bees are unique and different from honey bees. Organized in chapters that cover everything from these provocative pollinators' basic biology to the aggressive nature of killer bees, this insightful question and answer guide provides a honeycomb of compelling facts.

With clarity and depth, bee biologist Elizabeth Capaldi Evans and coauthor Carol A. Butler examine the lives of honey bees, as well as other species such as orchid bees, bumblebees, and stingless bees. Accessible to readers on every level, and including the latest research and theory for the more sophisticated reader, the authors reveal more than one hundred critical answers to questions about the lives of bees.

Concepts about speciation, evolutionary adaptation and pollination, as well as historical details about topics such as Mayan beekeeping and the appearance of bees in rock art, are arranged in easy-to-follow sidebars that highlight the text. Color and black and white photographs and drawings enhance the beauty and usefulness of Why Do Bees Buzz?

Published by: Rutgers University Press

Title Page, Copyright

pdf iconDownload PDF (92.0 KB)


pdf iconDownload PDF (63.9 KB)
pp. v-ix

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (65.1 KB)
pp. xi-xii

Written by Carol A. Butler, the co-author of Do Butterflies Bite?, along with bee biologist Elizabeth Capaldi Evans, this book is the only guide to these popular insects to present information in an accessible...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (68.0 KB)
pp. xiii-xiv

From Elizabeth: Fortune has favored me with a fantastic family that fostered my love of the natural world from an early age; their encouragement inspired me to pursue a career in science and education. My thanks...

read more

1. Bee Basics

pdf iconDownload PDF (410.8 KB)
pp. 1-26

Bees are invertebrate animals that grow through four different life stages—egg, larva, pupa, and adult—similar to the seemingly friendlier insects, the butterflies. However, unlike butterflies, which abandon..

read more

2. Bee Bodies

pdf iconDownload PDF (233.8 KB)
pp. 27-49

The honey bee queen lays an egg in a small chamber or cell in an area of the colony called the brood nest. A helpless, grub-like larva emerges from each egg after a few days, and its only function is to eat. Unlike...

read more

3. Bee Behavior

pdf iconDownload PDF (227.3 KB)
pp. 50-72

Honey bees do not have ears, but they are able to sense certain frequencies, picking up the vibrations from the air or from the physical structure of the hive. Leg sensors called subgenual organs are fl uid-fi lled...

read more

4. Bee Love

pdf iconDownload PDF (158.7 KB)
pp. 73-83

Queen honey bees give off pheromones that attract males (drones) when they are ready to embark on their mating fl ights (see this chapter, question 3: How do bees mate?). Since the sole task of drones...

read more

5. Bees in the Hive

pdf iconDownload PDF (145.5 KB)
pp. 84-96

Honey bee colonies can contain from ten to fifty thousand bees and sometimes more. Bumblebee colonies are much smaller, containing from about two hundred to four hundred bees. The population...

read more

6. Bees at Work

pdf iconDownload PDF (218.0 KB)
pp. 97-116

Bees really don’t intend to pollinate flowers, although pollination benefits them because it creates seeds that will make more flowers that will provide them with a continuing nectar flow in the future. Pollen...

read more

7. Honey

pdf iconDownload PDF (124.2 KB)
pp. 117-127

Honey is a sweet and viscous fluid that honey bees produce. Most people have a jar of honey in the kitchen, but they probably don’t use it very often. In the days before the development of refined sugars...

read more

8. Bees on the Move

pdf iconDownload PDF (269.9 KB)
pp. 128-141

Bees permanently move out of their hive only under two circumstances: one is called absconding and the other is called swarming (see questions and answers below.) If environmental conditions becom...

read more

9. Bee Stings and Other Defenses

pdf iconDownload PDF (132.9 KB)
pp. 142-153

Not all bees can sting. The bee’s sting is a modification of the ovipositor, the female egg-laying organ, and so no males of any bee species sting. Most people are surprised to know that the stinger is kept inside...

read more

10. Dangers to Bees

pdf iconDownload PDF (200.6 KB)
pp. 154-168

Poor nutrition, disease, parasitic mites (see this chapter, question 3: What parasites and insects prey on bees?), pesticides, and pollution are some of the threats that stress colonies and cause them to fail...

read more

11. Beekeeping

pdf iconDownload PDF (346.7 KB)
pp. 169-188

A prudent beekeeper will say that beekeeping is not dangerous, but a person who remembers a painful bee sting would probably disagree. The best answer to this question is “it depends.” With careful...

[Image Plates]

pdf iconDownload PDF (584.9 KB)

Appendix A: Bee Organizations

pdf iconDownload PDF (53.1 KB)
pp. 189-190

Appendix B: Suggestions for Further Reading

pdf iconDownload PDF (69.4 KB)
pp. 191-192


pdf iconDownload PDF (195.2 KB)
pp. 193-220


pdf iconDownload PDF (102.7 KB)
pp. 221-229

read more

About the Authors

pdf iconDownload PDF (55.2 KB)
pp. 231

Elizabeth Capaldi Evans, PhD, is an associate professor of biology and animal behavior at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. Trained in zoology, ecology, and evolutionary biology, her research...

E-ISBN-13: 9780813549200
E-ISBN-10: 0813549205
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813547213

Page Count: 248
Illustrations: 60
Publication Year: 2010