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Buzz, Sting, Bite: Why We Need Insects
Buzz, Sting, Bite: Why We Need Insects
Buzz, Sting, Bite: Why We Need Insects
Audiobook7 hours

Buzz, Sting, Bite: Why We Need Insects

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

4/5

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About this audiobook

An enthusiastic, witty, and informative introduction to the world of insects and why we—and the planet we inhabit—could not survive without them.

Insects comprise roughly half of the animal kingdom. They live everywhere—deep inside caves, 18,000 feet high in the Himalayas, inside computers, in Yellowstone's hot springs, and in the ears and nostrils of much larger creatures. There are insects that have ears on their knees, eyes on their penises, and tongues under their feet. Most of us think life would be better without bugs. In fact, life would be impossible without them.

Most of us know that we would not have honey without honeybees, but without the pinhead-sized chocolate midge, cocoa flowers would not pollinate. No cocoa, no chocolate. The ink that was used to write the Declaration of Independence was derived from galls on oak trees, which are induced by a small wasp. The fruit fly was essential to medical and biological research experiments that resulted in six Nobel prizes. Blowfly larva can clean difficult wounds; flour beetle larva can digest plastic; several species of insects have been essential to the development of antibiotics. Insects turn dead plants and animals into soil. They pollinate flowers, including crops that we depend on. They provide food for other animals, such as birds and bats. They control organisms that are harmful to humans. Life as we know it depends on these small creatures.

With ecologist Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson as our capable, entertaining guide into the insect world, we'll learn that there is more variety among insects than we can even imagine and the more you learn about insects, the more fascinating they become. Buzz, Sting, Bite is an essential introduction to the little creatures that make the world go round.

LanguageEnglish
Release dateJul 2, 2019
ISBN9781508294306
Buzz, Sting, Bite: Why We Need Insects
Author

Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson

Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson is a professor at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) in Ås, Norway, as well as a scientific advisor for The Norwegian Institute for Nature Research NINA. She has a Doctorate degree in conservation biology and lectures on nature management and forest biodiversity. Extraordinary Insects is her first commercial book.

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Reviews for Buzz, Sting, Bite

Rating: 4.045871559633028 out of 5 stars
4/5

109 ratings17 reviews

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  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    Engrossing
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    One of the best reads I have enjoyed all year. Engaging, informative, funny, sweet, awe-inspiring, and charming all at once.
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    3/5
    Interesting but a surprising amount of Bible stuff. Otherwise quite good.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    A book we all need to read ‘see’ with new eyes of awareness.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    It's a really fun way to learn about the importance of insects.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    Amazing insight into the world and importance of insects. This completely changed my world view about them. I strongly recommend it.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    A very broad topic reduced to just a few hours, but very informative and entertaining. Flies reduce all their food to a liquid with their feet. Bettles are the janitors of the forest. Wasps chew wood to make it into a pulp to form symetrical hexagons. This is a very compelling case for the importance of insects in the world and why people should value their existence.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    An ingenius and marvelous book, with funny quotations and appropiate information
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    I have to say that I've never been a big fan of bugs but I guess you don't need to be exceptionally cool or beautiful to get the work done. This book is an eye opener and never again will I think about bugs demeaningly. Thanks guys, respect!
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    A broad and Fascinating description of the many insects that inhabit the world.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    Much more nineteenth century hobbyist style than I am used to. Still it is updated and interesting.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    I absolutely loved this book. It is one I will be recommending to people who are still “grossed out” by bugs or who don’t understand their significance. It has super quick and witty knowledge perfect for shocking an audience and then a deeper explanation and insight to accompany it. Will probably be reading this again!
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    Informative and entertaining
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    The subtitle pretty much says it all. Chapters include insect anatomy, sex, the food chain, symbiosis between insects and plants, insects and human food, insects as “janitors”, industries, and more.I found this really Interesting, but I’m afraid I won’t remember much. There were so many little tidbits of information, it will be hard to remember. I have heard it before, but even if they are pests, insects really are beneficial, and humans would be hard-pressed to live on a planet without them.
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    3/5
    Overall this is pretty good,if simplistic. At times I felt like it was written for a much younger audience or at least one with little to no science knowledge. Things are explained simply and topics delved into lightly, nothing is explored in depth, but that’s not the point so overall it felt in keeping with the book as a whole. Still, sometimes I wanted a little more information or a deeper dive.The author’s illustrations throughout are charming.Some things I made note of -“...many people think that all species should have the opportunity to achieve their full life potential - that we humans have no right to play fast and loose with species diversity driven by short-sighted judgments about which species we see as cute or useful.” p x of prefaceSpot on. For many years now I’ve had a hard time killing, injuring or interfering with any living thing (well, apart from mosquitos!). I don’t have the right. Who am I to decide that another creature should die? Even wasps get a pass most of the time.With regard to evolutionary adaptations around seed dispersal -“It is common for the plant to ensure that there is a sort of payment in the form of a valuable supplement; a packed lunch for the ant.” & “The next time you see a common hepatica in spring, take a closer look when the flowers fall off, and you’ll see the little packed lunches sitting on each seed.” p 74I’ll have to remember to do this. Hepatica all over the yard. Regarding wheat production in parts of Australia -“It turned out that the wheat harvest rose 36 percent where crops had not been sprayed. Why? In areas as arid as this, there are no earthworms, so ants and termites do the earthworms’ job instead, creating corridors that allow more water to trickle down into the soil. The water content was twice as high in the soil where these insects were allowed to live as in the soil where they had been eliminated. In addition, the nitrogen content was much higher. This may be because termites’ guts contain bacteria that capture nitrogen from the air.” p 88“The mechanism behind locust plagues is like a one-way version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Normally, the locust is a shy creature that does not cause harm to crops. But when special weather conditions make their numbers surge, space becomes tight and they repeatedly bump into one another, which triggers a hormone that changes both the way they look and the way they behave in a matter of hours. They grow bigger, darker and hungrier, and all of a sudden they feel strongly attracted to one another. Large bands of restless locusts form, moving across the landscape and meeting up with other bands to form even bigger groups. One theory is that starvation can lead to cannibalism in locusts and that the swarming behavior has evolved as an alternative.” p 93-4CSI China -“The first time insects helped identify a murderer is supposed to have been in a Chinese village in 1235. A man was brutally murdered with a sickle, and the local peasants were called into a meeting. They were instructed to bring their sickles with them. The investigator made them wait, and, since it was a hot, sunny day, it wasn’t long before flies appeared. When all the flies landed on the same sickle, the owner was so shocked that he confessed on the spot.” p 123Reverse and delayed ageing in honeybees -“Bees that are responsible for looking after the young in the hive can live and remain at the height of their mental powers for many weeks. However, worker bees, the ones that go out and gather nectar, die, thoroughly senile, after a couple of weeks. The ingenious thing is that if the worker bees are forced to take on the hive bees’ job again, some of them actually “grow younger” - they have a longer life span with high mental capacity. In honeybees, this is controlled by a special protein, a kind of bee elixir of youth.” p 172
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    3/5
    Sprightly, sometimes funny, certainly jammed with interesting, weird, important facts about insects. Sverdrup-Thygeson loves her phylum, and her enthusiasm is infectious - older kids on up to adults would find this a fun read. It is mostly a conglomeration of "cool things about bugs" (yes, I know - she does explain that not all insects are bugs...), and may primarily serve to raise some consciousness and generate curiosity and interest in them and why they are so important to the planet. Definitely a purchase for public and school libraries, and an enjoyable couple evenings' learning.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    So easy to read, the chattiness often feels like it's written for older children/younger teens. Plenty for an adult to learn from it too, however, as it gives a broad overview of the millions of insect species over the globe, how they interact with their environment, with each other, and with humans, in all sorts of "fabulous and indispensable" (from the subtitle on my copy) ways: from aphid and fungus farming and decomposing waste, to their uses in agriculture, medicine, clothes, paint and more. Concludes with the inevitable climate change call to action.