We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book meme 2018 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year, when we can.
Last week, I shared The Monarchs Are Missing: A Butterfly Mystery by Rebecca E. Hirsch. Today, I’m sharing yet another nature mystery, one that is even more alarming and concerning.
Written by Sandra Markle
Published by Millbrook Press (2014)
Copy provided by Wayne County Public Library.
From the dust jacket: Honeybees are a crucial part of our food chain. As they gather nectar from flowers to make sweet honey, these bees also play an important role in pollination, helping some plants produce fruit. But large numbers of honeybees are disappearing every year. Is a fungus killing them? Could a poor diet be the cause? What about changes to bees’ natural habitat?
Sandra Merkle’s book begins with a mystery. In 2006, beekeeper Dave Hackenberg discovered that one of his beehives only contained the queen bee and the developing young inside. Thousands of worker bees were missing—and each hive could carry thirty thousand bees! Dave Hackenberg had been a beekeeper for literally half a century and he had never witnessed anything quite like it!
When beekeepers in the United States met in January 2007, they named the mysterious disappearance of their bees “Colony Collapse Disorder” or CCD, for short. This loss, however, was not just in the United States. This was a global phenomenon that threatened not just the business of beekeepers but the future of mankind, as well.
“Without honeybees, you could be limited to eating oats, rice, and corn. Honeybees, in particular, are needed to grow apples, raspberries, watermelon, almonds, and cucumbers—to name a just a few.”
The book explores and investigates the different factors that may have caused the disappearance of the honeybees. It was interesting to read about varroa mites and a fungus called Nosema ceranae. I was intrigued by a special high-protein bee diet that Gloria DeGrandi-Hoffman and her team developed. Overall, Sandra Markle’s book has a lot of information that sheds light on a rather grave mystery.
In the book, it was noted that by 2012 beekeepers in the U.S. reported an annual loss of 20% as opposed to the 30%-50% loss reported in 2007. It has been 6 years since this book was published. This article from ScienceNews written by Susan Milius on January of this year explains that beekeepers are still experiencing colony losses. For Global Rescue Efforts, please refer to the last few pages in Sandy Markle’s book.
Meanwhile, watch and listen to this TED-Ed video that goes hand in hand with the book featured above.