Here is a brilliant introduction to insect and plant ecology focusing on one of nature’s most adaptive creatures, the bumblebee. Survival for the bumblebee depends on its ability to regulate body temperature through a complex energy exchange, and it is this management of energy resources around which Bernd Heinrich enters his discussion of physiology, behavior, and ecological interaction. Along the way, he makes some amusing parallels with the theories of Adam Smith—which, Heinrich observes, work rather well for the bees, however inadequate they may be for human needs.
Bumblebee Economics uniquely offers both the professional and amateur scientist a coherent biological model that goes beyond any particular species or level of biological organization. Rich in specific detail and including an extensive appendix on the rearing of bumblebees, as well as a full-color guide to field identification, this book organizes practical knowledge according to a new criterion.
In a new preface, Heinrich ranges from Maine to Alaska and north to the Arctic as he summarizes findings from continuing investigations over the past twenty-five years—by himself and others—into the wondrous “energy economy” of bumblebees.