A Sting in the Tale

Our next book about bees, A Sting in the Tale: My Adventures with Bumblebees by Dave Goulson, is an enjoyable combination of memoir and natural history discourse. It came out in paperback last spring,

The author is a British biologist and conservationist who works at the University of Sussex, where he specializes in the ecology of bumblebees. He is an excellent storyteller, mixing humor, adventure, and insightful observations into a highly-readable stew.

I was particularly taken with his team’s use of sniffer dogs to try to locate wild bumble bee nests, which can be quite elusive and hard to study. In an interesting twist, the dog handler became more adept at finding nests than the dog, which led to questions about how the odors of different bumble bee nests may vary.

The text features quotes from a variety of sources, including  Mary Kay Ash, Charles Darwin and Monty Python. The most memorable, however, is Goulson’s own:

“We have barely begun to understand the complexity of interactions between living creatures on earth, yet we often choose to squander the irreplaceable, to discard those things that both keep us alive and make life worth living. Perhaps if we learn to save a bee today we can save the world tomorrow?” ~ Dave Goulson, page 241



If you are curious about what bumble bees have to do with red clover in New Zealand, tomatoes grown in greenhouses in Spain, and sniffer dogs, then A Sting in the Tale is a perfect book for you.

Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Picador; Reprint edition (April 28, 2015)
ISBN-10: 125007097X
ISBN-13: 978-1250070975

See the Books About Bees tag for more reviews.


Bee Books

Disclosures: This book was supplied by my local library. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at not extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

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