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Bees, Wasps, and Ants: The Indispensable Role of Hymenoptera in Gardens Hardcover – June 30, 2010

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Frequently Bought Together

Bees, Wasps, and Ants: The Indispensable Role of Hymenoptera in Gardens + Bumble Bees of North America: An Identification Guide (Princeton Field Guides) + Attracting Native Pollinators: The Xerces Society Guide, Protecting North America's Bees and Butterflies
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

If ever a group of garden creatures gets a bad rap, it’s bees, ants, and wasps. Yet, as Grissell so strikingly points out, most of the time their negative reputation is either grossly overstated or decidedly undeserved. Although the role of the order Hymenoptera in garden settings is of vital importance, most homeowners and quite a few gardeners do whatever they can to remove nests, hills, and hives at first sight. It’s a knee-jerk reaction that can have devastating results, for these creatures are essential for pollination, fertilization, and even pest-control. Reviewing their impact, revealing their habits and habitats, and profiling them via such inventive terms as the garden’s “cows,” “wolves,” and “police,” Grissell strikes a fine balance between scientific examination and anecdotal evidence. Although not sufficiently illustrated to serve as a field guide, Grissell’s extensive exploration of this insect order is highly informative and genuinely useful. --Carol Haggas

Review

"Grissell brings years of study and an infectious enthusiasm to this beautifully illustrated volume."

(Viveka Neveln The American Gardener)

An introduction to the myriad species of these insects and all they do in your garden.
(The Bookwatch)

From the impact of insects on our lives to their biology and families, this is packed with detailed information tailored to gardener and growing interests, and thus is recommended for home and garden collections as well as any science library.
(American Gardener)

An introduction to the myriad species of these insects and all they do in your garden. This book will give you new appreciation and a deeper understanding of their vital roles on this planet.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Timber Press; First Edition edition (June 30, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0881929883
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881929881
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #124,418 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Afan of Sitagyl Manor on September 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I absolutely love this book and find it to be a most valuable guide to a much-feared group of insects. As a shutterbug new to macro photography of insects, I have become immersed in a world most people ignore unless they are frightened by an aggressive Hymenopteran. The photos in this book are first rate and have helped me with identification of my own tiny subjects. As the author points out, this is not a field guide per se, but a sound introduction to the natural history and biology of these insects. Their roles in nature are complex and fascinating. This book is aimed at serious students of insect life and garden enthusiasts. The writing is clear albeit somewhat technical at times, which is to be expected as it is a science book. The author is especially good on the Parasitoid Wasps, the main focus of his own professional work in the field. If you enjoy above average science books and have an interest in gardening or insect photography you should get yourself a copy of this book.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Barbara Pleasant on December 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
To an amateur entomologist like me, this book is a dream come true. Eric Grissell uses enough scientific lingo to keep topics clear, but often wanders into personal territory as he explores the lives of bees, wasps and ants. Some of his stories are surprisingly funny!

As head garden writer for Mother Earth News, I initially picked up this book to learn more about wasps and hornets -personal passions for years. Now Grissell has me interested in ants. Although I don't have room for more books, I'm making room for this one next to Whitney Cranshaw's Garden Insects of North America. If you're fascinated by insects, you need both.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By David B Richman on April 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Eric Grissell was one of my instructors in a short course in parasitic Hymenoptera that I took at the University of Maryland a number of years ago. All of my instructors were excellent and Eric was particularly good. It was thus with some interest that I picked up his book "Bees, Wasps, and Ants: The Indispensable Role of Hymenoptera in Gardens" at the local library. I was not disappointed as his book is a gem! With well-written chapters and beautiful color photographs it is just what the home organic gardener and insect watcher would want to understand an important component of the ecosystem. As it turns out the Hymenoptera contains among its members numerous natural enemies of insect pests and a plethora of pollinators. While ants may sometimes invade our homes and bees, wasps and ants my sting us, they more than make up for their faults (from our point of view) by the numerous services that they provide. One could easily get lost just in studying their behavior, but the fruit and vegetable crops that they protect and pollinate are a great bonus. Eric Grissell has provided a fascinating glimpse of their secret life within our backyards and has in the process provided the home gardener with essential knowledge for the production of a bounty of pesticide-free crops.

I recommend this volume without reservation!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Fern on November 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Although I identify myself as an amateur naturalist, I must sheepishly disagree with all the praise other readers have heaped upon this book.

I came to read it as a longtime gardener who is always interested in learning more about the natural world in her own backyard. I am also an E.O. Wilson fan after reading his The Diversity of Life.

While the book is clearly written (and the author has a bit of a sense of humor), getting through it has been a bit of a slog. I don't agree with other reviewers here that this book is ideal for gardeners or others several notches below professional entomologist or serious student. I felt that the author spent too much time delving into the classification of Hymenoptera: the many different families, subfamilies, species and so on. It was just more technical than I needed and there seemed to be so much ground to cover that it became fairly repetitive after a while. I was more interested in the behavioral aspects of these insects and the pivotal role they play in the garden ecosystem.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Pat on January 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a clearly written and very informative book and a good resource for anyone with an interest in the subject. It's not a "coffee table" book, although the pictures are excellent, so I'd say the target audience may be more the naturalist rather than the photographer.
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Format: Hardcover
As my garden has expanded into more diverse species of plants, I found myself observing more and more pollinating insects, most of whom were either bees or wasps. It dawned on me just how little I knew about these insects and put this book on my wish list in the hopes of getting it at some point and becoming better informed about the insects that frequented my yard. Luckily, having received this book for Christmas, I took it with me on a business trip and read right through it. What a fascinating book about some fascinating insects.

The book provides a good outline of what types of insects exist within the hymenoptera as well as some of the dificulties in classification of this diverse group. Of the pollenating hymenoptera, I was most familiar and the information was certainly useful. What perhaps appealed most to me was the discussion of the parasitic wasps, and just how diverse they were in the types of prey the subdued and provided for their young. Everything from tarantulas to thrips, and everything in between, nothing from among the invertabrates appear safe from being parasitized by the parasitic wasps.

The book broke down the hymenoptera into several groups. The first discussed were sawflies, then parasitic wasps, predatory wasps, bees and finally ants. Each chapter had something to recommend it. And as the author progressed, it became apparent he was just scraping the surface of what was known about these creatures and discussed the extent to which there is still much new territory to explore.

If the intent of the book was to get the reader develop a fascination with with hymenoptera, the author succeeded. I look forward to the weather warming so I can go explore the creatures in my yard, and I'm sure I'll find plenty of hymenoptera going about their business.
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