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Buzz, sting, bite : why we need insects
2019
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Summary
An enthusiastic, witty, and informative introduction to the world of insects and why we--and the planet we inhabit--could not survive without them.

Insects comprise roughly half of the animal kingdom. They live everywhere -- deep inside caves, 18,000 feet high in the Himalayas, inside computers, in Yellowstone's hot springs, and in the ears and nostrils of much larger creatures. There are insects that have ears on their knees, eyes on their penises, and tongues under their feet. Most of us think life would be better without bugs. In fact, life would be impossible without them.

Most of us know that we would not have honey without honeybees, but without the pinhead-sized chocolate midge, cocoa flowers would not pollinate. No cocoa, no chocolate. The ink that was used to write the Declaration of Independence was derived from galls on oak trees, which are induced by a small wasp. The fruit fly was essential to medical and biological research experiments that resulted in six Nobel prizes. Blowfly larva can clean difficult wounds; flour beetle larva can digest plastic; several species of insects have been essential to the development of antibiotics. Insects turn dead plants and animals into soil. They pollinate flowers, including crops that we depend on. They provide food for other animals, such as birds and bats. They control organisms that are harmful to humans. Life as we know it depends on these small creatures.

With ecologist Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson as our capable, entertaining guide into the insect world, we'll learn that there is more variety among insects than we can even imagine and the more you learn about insects, the more fascinating they become. Buzz, Sting, Bite is an essential introduction to the little creatures that make the world go round.
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Booklist Review
Insects outnumber humans by billions, yet their lives and ecological importance often pass by unremarked. Sverdrup-Thygeson, a professor at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, offers a lively introduction to the six-legged creatures that share our planet, while making the case that their survival is inextricably linked to ours. The author possesses an infectious enthusiasm for the bugs she profiles and manages to imbue every maxilla and mating habit with wonder. This book explores the basic elements that comprise an insect's life (what they are, what they eat, how they reproduce), marveling equally at the ingenuity of the bumblebee as at the medicinal value of the maggot. Insects decompose plant waste and return nutrients to the soil; they spin silk six times stronger than steel; and they offer models for scientists seeking to prolong life, enter stasis, and even break down human-created waste as fast as we produce it. Ably translated by Moffatt, Buzz, Sting, Bite will foster affection for its winged, creeping, and crawling subjects, even among its most bug-shy readers.--Jenny Hamilton Copyright 2019 Booklist
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