The Hive Detectives
by Loree Griffin Burns

Price at time of review: $18.00
66 pp.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Boston, MA
ISBN: 9780547152318

Grade Level: 6-12

Reviewed by Claudia Fetters
retired biology and earth science teacher

This beautifully illustrated book gives readers a look at the science of honeybees and the research into the causes of "Colony Collapse Disorder." It would be useful as a reference in biology and ecology classes.

The book begins with an amateur bee keeper and discusses the mechanics of hive construction and how amateurs work with bees. The author then discusses the role of commercial beekeepers in pollination of fields and farm crops. The commercial beekeepers were the first to notice a dramatic die-off among bees, and they reported it to scientists. As the problem began to grow, a number of research lines were pursued to determine what was causing the collapse. The book discusses bee sampling and autopsy, the study of pest load in a hive, the search for viruses and their contribution to the problem, and the effect of new pesticides on bees.

The research is described well, and a clear emphasis is placed on the idea that there is no single cause of the problem. Sidebars are scattered throughout the book describing parts of hives, parts of bees, types of bees, and the bee life cycle. The book's final chapter discusses how honey is harvested and turned into a finished product. There is a glossary, a list of websites, a list of references, and an index. Bee biology is a timely topic for students to understand and appreciate, and this book clearly and concisely explains the importance of bees to crops and the ecology.

Review posted on 11/1/2010

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