Yes the sum of the review on this book is ... but as they say this is and has been for the last couple of years 'food for thought'. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/non_fictionreviews/3557205/World-without-bees-a-sting-felt-far-beyond-the-breakfast-table.htmlhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/newsnight/fromthewebteam/2008/08/extract_from_a_world_without_b.html
............Albert Einstein is thought to have said: "If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man."
In truth, it is more likely to have been French beekeepers who put these words posthumously into Einstein's mouth a few years ago during a fierce battle to get a pesticide (more of which later) banned from their country.
Whoever said it, the apocalyptic sentiment chimes with the view that bees are the "canary in the coalmine", a barometer for the health of the planet, and that their predicament is a warning to us all.
In the past two years, around a third of all honeybees in the States have mysteriously vanished -- around 800,000 hives. Some commercial beekeepers have reported losses of up to 90% since the end of 2006. The disappearance, which has baffled researchers and academics, is not limited to the States. Large numbers of colonies have also been wiped out in parts of Canada, Europe, Asia and South America. In Croatia, it was reported that five million bees disappeared in less than 48 hours.
Bees have a sophisticated navigation system that uses the sun and landmarks as points of reference. It allows them to travel up to three miles from the hive in search of food without losing their way back home. They are able to direct other bees in their hive to the food source through a remarkable form of communication called the "waggle dance".
But in a hive suffering from this strange plague, the adult bees do not return home, leaving their queen, eggs and larvae to starve to death. Moreover, young nurse bees, whose job it is to stay in the hive and care for the new brood while the adults are out searching for food, desert their post and fly away. Such a dereliction of duty is unheard of unless the bee is diseased and leaves the hive to prevent it from infecting others.
When news of the vanishing bees, a phenomenon soon dubbed Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), started to filter through in newspaper reports at the beginning of 2007, some of the more fanciful theories for their disappearance ranged from cell phones messing up their navigation system to an elaborate al-Qaida plot to wreck US agriculture.
Although no one knew for sure what was causing the bees to perish, it spurred the launch of a global investigation. More credible suspects included exposure to genetically modified crops, pesticide poisoning, invasive parasites, malnutrition from pollinating vast tracts of crops with little nourishment, and the stress of being moved long distances.........
- M -