This deep dive into the wonderful world of insects teaches us to love the tiny, seemingly terrifying creatures all around us.
For many people, cockroaches are the peskiest of pests. Not so for entomologist Frank Nischk. In this funny and fascinating book, Frank reveals his love and admiration for so-called "nasty" creatures like cockroaches, crickets, and more. He shows us that even seemingly terrifying insects are beautiful in their own way – and essential to all life on Earth.
Frank never planned to study cockroaches. But when researching hummingbirds fell through, he switched to cockroach faeces – and soon fell in love. Cockroaches are incredible survivors, devoted parents, and adapt to almost any environment. Nischk even answers the age-old question of whether a cockroach would survive a nuclear explosion. After reading such eye-opening and warm-hearted stories, you'll think twice before stepping on one!
From cockroaches to crickets, Nischk travels to Ecuador to record cricket sounds, where he finds jungles bursting with a riot of insect life (including bullet ants whose stings are surprisingly painful). As Nischk narrates his (mis)adventures as an entomologist, he shares stories about intriguing insect discoveries, from damselflies who lay eggs deep underwater, to zombie fungi that invade the brains of ants. Brimming with fascinating facts, incredible stories, and unbelievable anecdotes, Of Cockroaches and Crickets will intrigue anyone who has ever loved – or hated! – bugs.
Frank Nischk is an entomologist, science reporter, and filmmaker who has studied insects around the world. Since 2000, he has been working as a journalist and a director of TV documentaries, including award-winning nature and animal films. He lives in Cologne, Germany.
Carl Safina is an award-winning ecologist and bestselling author, and founding president of the not-for-profit Safina Center, a unique group of creative thought-leaders who advance the case for life on Earth. His latest book is Becoming Wild.
"In playful prose and resplendent detail, Frank Nischk's Of Cockroaches and Crickets pays homage to that much-denigrated class of animals whose existence is essential to the future of our planet. Each chapter takes readers on a journey into the unseen worlds of our six-legged cousins to reveal stories of hope and resilience in the face of unprecedented environmental challenges."
– Edward D. Melillo, author of The Butterfly Effect: Insects and the Making of the Modern World
"Nischk's writing is compelling to the point that the reader will be checking to see that this is indeed a non-fiction book. A perfect blend of memoir, philosophy, and scientific fact, Of Cockroaches and Crickets is a grand tour of both the jungle and the scientific mind. Honest, enlightening, and hopeful."
– Eric R. Eaton, author of Insectpedia: A Brief Compendium of Insect Lore
"I loved joining Frank Nischk on his wildlife adventures in this thoroughly readable and hopeful book. His writing is a poignant combination of infectious enthusiasm and deep and justified concern about insects' dwindling presence in the third millennium."
– Jonathan Balcombe, author of Super Fly and What a Fish Knows
"Frank Nischk takes us on a delightful safari into the fascinating lives of cockroaches and crickets. Through stories and adventures he makes these creatures lovable in their own ways, while revealing the importance of insects in enriching our lives and very survival."
– Justin Schmidt, author of The Sting of the Wild
"This fine book will indeed cause you to reassess your stance toward roaches and other six-leggeds as you follow the author on his rollicking rainforest path from eager grad student to successful filmmaker while never losing his fascination for all things insect. Along with all the fun, and it is, Nischk documents the loss of diversity in ways we haven't even considered – but instead of simply lamenting the much-vaunted "insect apocalypse", he shows us powerful examples of what's being done about it around the world. A smooth and breezy read, Of Cockroaches and Crickets taught me much about my own field!"
– Robert Michael Pyle, PhD, Honorary Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society, Fellow of the American Entomological Society, founder of the Xerces Society, author of Chasing Monarchs and Mariposa Road