This is how a review of Thor Hanson’s book in the Economist begins:

“BEES are wasps that went vegetarian. This was a brilliant evolutionary move: they now outnumber wasps by around three to one.  Instead of hunting creatures that would rather not be eaten, they turned to living things that offered themselves on a plate.  Bees and flowers evolved together in a gorgeous spiral of mutual dependence.  Nectar and pollen feed the bees; in return, the plants get to procreate.”

And this is how it ends: “Fewer bees will mean fewer plants and therefore less to eat and less oxygen to breathe. Time to take their problems seriously.”

Between these points, the reviewer focuses on Hanson’s exploration of the 4P problem that bees face: parasites, poor nutrition, pesticides and pathogens, and on how human life isn’t helping.

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Buzz: The Nature and Necessity of Bees. By Thor Hanson. 304 pages; Icon Books; £16.99