256 pages, colour & b/w photos, colour & b/w illustrations
This fascinating and comprehensive book explores the bee's place in human society from prehistoric cave paintings and inscribed clay tablets through to our contemporary world – a cabinet whose drawers are filled with nuggets of bee science and practical beekeeping, myth, religion, politics, philosophy and folklore. There is a selection of verse and a rich variety of illustrations ranging from Old Masters and scientific etchings to modern photographs.
An in-depth look at bees' complex society and their present plight, the ongoing political and scientific to and fro regarding pesticides and other threats are also discussed, given the bee's importance as plant pollinator in agriculture and the wild.
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Dr Elizabeth Birchall has long been interested in bee lore and mythology. She was born in Newark on Trent and has had a wide and varied life – from joining the Fleet Air Arm as a Wren aircraft mechanic, practising social worker and manager for various local authorities, interspersed with degrees and diplomas from universities, to a Research Fellow at Stirling University investigating inter-professional cooperation in child protection. Now retired, the author currently lives in the Cotswolds.