Northern Neck Master Naturalists
Trained & Certified Virgina Master Naturalists


Book Report 2 January 2018

Following the Wild Bees

Review by Jeff Wright

I read Following the Wild Bees toward expanding my understanding of those amazing little flying objects – bees. As an avid birder and a novice butterfly and dragonfly observer I decided that I needed to be able to better identify and understand bees. I am not yet ready to ID mosquitoes as a hobby – before or after they bite.


This excellent and easily readable book focused on the ancient practice and sport of bee hunting and bee lining. With the NNMN chapter’s past and current focus on pollinators, meadows, and bees I picked up the book as a reference and was extremely pleased that it is also a great read. The book focuses – on a second way – besides beekeeping – for people to get close to these fascinating creatures. The open - air sport called bee hunting has the bee hunter tracking, locating, identifying, and reporting on bees living in the wild. This sport and related agricultural practices can be traced back to writings from the first century A.D. and was practiced widely in Europe, North America, the Middle East, and Africa.


Selected excerpts from Reviews and Endorsements of the Book

Following the Wild Bees is scientific natural history at its very best: original, authentic, and exciting. It is at the same time science, science history, adventure, sport, and treasure hunting."
-- Edward O. Wilson, Harvard University
"Seeley's passion for the social insects blazes as he quotes historical accounts by Henry David Thoreau and describes the intricacies of the chase, from baiting with anise - scented sugar syrup to patiently amassing location data"
-- Barb Kiser, Nature

The book received an Honorable Mention for the 2017 PROSE Award in Popular Science and Popular Mathematics, Association of American Publishers. The author, Thomas D. Seeley, is a Professor in Biology in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at Cornell University . “His research focuses on the behavior, social life, and ecology of honey bees and has been summarized in four books: Honeybee Ecology (1985, Princeton), The Wisdom of the Hive (1995, Harvard), Honeybee Democracy (2010, Princeton), and Following the Wild Bees (2016, Princeton).”

Following the Wild Bees , 2016, Princeton University Press, is available in Hardback and as an E - book

Kyle Langford