Fruitless fall : the collapse of the honey bee and the coming agricultural crisis

by Rowan Jacobsen

Paper Book, 2008


Traces the significant 2007 and 2008 reductions in honeybee populations, identifying the causes of Colony Collapse Disorder to explain the link between bee pollination and industrial agriculture and predict dangerous reductions in food output.



Call number



New York : Bloomsbury, 2008.

User reviews

LibraryThing member jcbrunner
Bees, strange and familiar creatures, sympathetic honey producers and stinging pests, are lovingly portrayed in this excellent book which is part biology, part ecology and agro-business, all wrapped in a mystery. Rowan Jacobsen has written a highly readable introduction to bees, their keepers,
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their industry and ecology. His description of bee copulation (with a host of petites morts) is worth the price of admission.

Colony collapse disorder (CCD) describes a phenomenon of sudden death of a beehive (with missing bodies). The following might be spoilerish, so read at your own peril: CCD is most likely caused by a combination of stress and malnutrition. Modern bees face a relentless onslaught of diseases, parasites and pesticides (directed at other insects).

In the US, honey production itself is no longer profitable in a large scale monoculture agrobusiness world (as well as cheap Chinese imports). Beekeepers in search of money truck their hives across the US offering pollination services (especially to California's almond growers), sacrificing their stressed and malnutritioned bees - pollinate until their hives collapse.

The solution lies in more natural ways of farming (d'oh): Importing African and Russian bees (which are tougher strains than the docile but vulnerable sunny Italian bees), non-chemical pest control and a varied pollen diet.
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LibraryThing member beccabgood1
You'd think this book would be depressing, but it was so interesting that I actually enjoyed reading it. Honeybees are fascinating, and Jacobsen takes you into their world, describing life from a bee's perspective. Their adaptations for communication and intelligence are so different from humans'
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that it's easy to overlook them, so this sort of work, written for a popular audience, is especially valuable. The rest of the book reads like a mystery: Why are the bees disappearing? The consequences are dire, but Jacobsen avoids fear-mongering and panic. He is thorough and balanced, and the reader comes away with a new respect for the incredible, interdependent web of life.
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LibraryThing member sumariotter
I bring home plenty of nonfiction books, but I almost never read them. After a few pages my eyes glaze over and I switch to fiction. This book was a huge surprise to me. I picked it up because I really wanted to know what was going on with the bees disappearing. I thought that I would just skim it
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and read the conclusion. It turned out to be a total page-turner. I stayed up late, I read the whole book in a couple of days. It's funny, it's suspenseful, it's really well-written. And it contains information that we as a society really need to know. I want everybody to read it.
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LibraryThing member paperloverevolution
A clear, concise overview of Colony Collapse Disorder and what it means for our continued ability to eat food. It's the descriptions of bee society and of the beekeepers who are fighting for their livelihood that keep the book from veering into dryness. These beekeepers, like their bees, are
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fascinatingly strange and appealing.
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1596915374 / 9781596915374

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