I recently read A Sting in the Tale, by Dave Goulson. I enjoyed it – written in a way that keeps you engaged, Goulson teaches you about bumble bees and their habits. I’ll admit that I was a bit creeped out by his childhood attempts at taxidermy, but it takes a variety of experiences to mold each of us into the person we become.
Goulson writes about the many types of bumble bees that lived in England, as well as a bit about those that live in Australia. My only disappointment was that he doesn’t cover those that live in the Northeast US. That said, this spring as I watched for bumble bees to emerge, I noticed them doing some of the same things described in the book: searching for early spring nectar and pollen, quartering the lawn and stone wall for places to nest, and going into holes for minutes at a time as they explored. It’s probably easier to follow them in the fields of England than it is to hope the many fences that separate the yards in my neighborhood.
Since reading A Sting in the Tale, I find myself wondering what types of plants I can put in my yard to attract and preserve the native bumble bees in my area. And that’s the best you can hope for from a book like this: that it teaches you something, makes you think, and inspires you to act in whatever ways you can to make a difference. For me, I’ll be planting some borage.