The Case of the Vanishing Honeybees: A Scientific Mystery

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Product Details

Millbrook Press (Tm)
Publish Date
10.0 X 9.8 X 0.5 inches | 1.01 pounds

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About the Author

Sandra Markle is the author of numerous award-winning books for children. A former elementary science teacher, she is a nationally-known science education consultant. Markle has received many honors for her series Animal Predators, Animal Scavengers, and Animal Prey. Several titles have been named as National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)/Children's Book Council (CBC) Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12, and Animal Predators was honored as a Top 10 Youth Nonfiction Series by Booklist. Markle is also the author of the Insect World series and several single titles. Her book Rescues! was named a Best Book by the Society of School Librarians International and a Recommended Title of Outstanding Nonfiction by the National Council of Teachers of English's (NCTE) Orbis Pictus Award committee; Animal Heroes was named a 2008 Lasting Connections title by Book Links. Markle lives in Lakewood Ranch, Florida with her husband, photographer Skip Jeffery.


"The worker bee and its vital role in the life cycle of the honeybee are interwoven with the threat that Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) poses to bees, plants, and humans in straightforward language on honey-colored paper, illustrated with full-color photographs on every page. Commercial colonies of bees are trucked around the country to pollinate almonds, blueberries, apples, citrus fruit, and pumpkins in a yearly cycle that does not include the winter rest that wild bees take. But because these honeybees can mix with wild populations, the threat of CCD is not confined to commercial bee colonies. The work of scientists examining such possible causes as virus, fungus, mites, and pesticides and possible remedies is described. The glossary and index provide good definitions of terms relating to both honeybees and CCD. The author has included a half page of interesting factoids about honeybees as well as suggestions for how to help them locally and organizations involved in "Global Rescue Efforts." An excellent first purchase for reports as well as for general interest." --starred, School Library Journal

-- (9/1/2013 12:00:00 AM)

"This brief but superbly organized title explores the sudden disappearance of worker bees during the mid 2000s. After a short overview of honeybee hierarchy and specialized tasks, Markle lays out the various hypotheses for Colony Collapse Disorder. Could it be a change in habitat, with fewer wildflowers and longer flights across monoculture farms? Maybe the bees are overworked, moved by professional beekeepers to pollinate fields without enjoying adequate rest periods. Perhaps cell phones interfere with bee navigation. Are varroa mites weakening the bees and leaving them susceptible to disease? Could Nosema ceranae fungus be the culprit, or neonicotinoid pesticides? Sadly, the exact reason for the disappearance is still unknown, but Markle discusses the ideas of scientists who favor a combination of causes. Diagrams, photo of scientists and beekeepers at work, and crystal clear close-ups of the bees (dead and alive) draw readers steadily through the five chapters, and subheadings assist in breaking a global mystery down to manageable concepts. Notes on rescue organizations, index, glossary, reading list, and miscellaneous facts round out the title, which stands as fine example of science writing for newbie science readers--and teachers extending their use of trade books under Common Core." --The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

-- (11/1/2013 12:00:00 AM)

"Similar in concept and format to Markle's The Case of the Vanishing Golden Frogs (2011) from the Science Mystery series, this attractive volume explores the world of honeybees and the mysterious malady that threatens them. After an opening in which a beekeeper discovers that most of the bees in his 400 hives are gone due to colony collapse disorder (CCD), the book describes how healthy honeybees pollinate flowering plants, gather nectar, and raise their young. The next section, which explains bee development, is particularly vivid and informative. Finally, Markle discusses the many possible causes of CCD, such as mites, fungi, pesticides, and the stressful conditions (overwork and poor diets) sometimes endured by bees in commercial hives. She also comments on the work of researchers exploring likely sources of the problem. Throughout the book, excellent color photos illustrate the text. Though Burns' fine The Hive Detectives (2010) explores CCD in more detail, Markle's latest makes a good deal of information accessible to a somewhat younger audience." --Booklist

-- (10/1/2013 12:00:00 AM)

"Markle presents a solid, respectful overview of colony collapse disorder for an audience slightly younger than Loree Griffin Burns' The Hive Detectives (2010).

The author opens her story in October 2006, with a beekeeper checking on his hive to discover that thousands of his workers have disappeared. From this compelling opening, she backtracks to discuss the importance of honeybees in pollination as well as bee basics. She then moves on to discuss possible causes of CCD: monoculture and suburban sprawl, overwork (a map provides graphic testimony to commercial bees' arduous schedules), mites, fungus and pesticides. Both natural and human defenses against CCD present some hope. Bees reproduce fast, and adjustments made to bees' schedules and feeding can help, as does breeding mite- and disease-resistant bees and the rise in hobbyist beekeeping. Markle never talks down to her audience, using specialized vocabulary--Nosema ceranae, varroa mite, neonicotinoid--and lucidly defining it in context as well as gathering it in a glossary. Big, full-color photographs are reproduced against honey-colored backgrounds. (Sharp-eyed readers will wonder why there is no mention of a mite clearly attached to a dead bee in a photograph captioned, 'This bee didn't have any symptoms to show it was sick before it died.') Further facts as well as ways to help honeybees appear in the backmatter.

In all, a solid addition to the insect shelves, with a valuable emphasis on science as process." --Kirkus Reviews

-- (9/15/2013 12:00:00 AM)