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Bumblebee Economics

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  115 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
In his new preface Bernd 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 him and others--into the wondrous energy economy of bumblebees.
Paperback, Revised, 288 pages
Published November 30th 2004 by Harvard University Press (first published 1979)
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Jul 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I think Heinrich’s research is awesome, whether he’s putting pipe cleaners around young raven necks or counting sticks in a kinglet nest. This book was fantastic not only for the “wow” moments contemplating his field methods but for offering in-depth information about a group of animals I knew very little about. Bumblebees <> honeybees (also nifty creatures), and the differences are fascinating. For example, bumblebees don’t dance, which seems unfortunate that the bumbles miss out on a sop ...more
Jul 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I have always loved bumblebees, now I know why! The way they live on the edge of environmental economics is inspirational and the example they offer us Homo sapiens of a truly functioning free market is instructive. No drones being told where to go daily, just a bunch of bumblebees out their making Who would have thunk you would get that out of a book on bumblebees, but it is Bernd Heinrich so you know what you are going to get - good writing, experimentation, and a sense of what ...more
Aug 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
I came to Bumblebee Economics just looking for some basic life-history and ecology information about Bumblebees. While the energy economics were not very meaningful to me as a question in their own right, that framing question made the book much more enjoyable to read than works like “Wasps: etc” that are simply organized reviews of information collected in other research. Heinrich, of course, was beginning a career as a professional natural history author, and there are hints of that future elo ...more
Jan 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
I read this many years ago. It introduced me to a way of thinking about the natural world different than what I had bee accustomed to. With this book, Heinrich showed how natural history can be thought about more broadly and more quantitatively. This opened new horizons for me, enabling me to start thinking about connections among species and their environment, and how to start trying to make sense of these interactions. A great book for the dedicated nature nerd!
A.D. Morel
May 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: natural-history, bees
So many bumble bees, but not enough time to watch them. Heinrich took his research to a whole new level when he wrote this book based on his Ph.D. thesis. The language is accessible, the story is SO interesting. Some of the bumble bee species that Heinrich found and considered common in the early 1970s now are hard to find. See color plates near the back. Now in its revised edition. Recommended!
Sep 20, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: scientific-texts
A good general resource on Bumblebees and includes a section on how to capture and raise them. Especially good if you want to know about energy dynamics of bumblebees and heat exchange methods. Not totally relevant to what I was researching, but good general info. The writing is also surprisingly beautiful for a scientific work.
Aug 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Another impressive book by an amazing author. This is one of his earlier works and is pretty much just about bumblebees, but what an amazing view into what field biology and experimentation is all about. I learned a lot about bumblebees and energy economics and enjoyed it all as his story unfolded! Great read by my favorite biologist!
Valerie Martin
May 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I read it to prepare for my undergraduate senior thesis project in biology - I monitored bees in blueberry plots. My favorite part of this book is when he describes how bumblebees sometimes regurgitate honey onto their tongues and wave them to cool off like dogs do! :D
Amanda Brooke
Jun 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
The life and times of a bee: it's internal temperature, it's foraging times, it's not foraging times, it's anatomy and how it flies - unforgettable read. I only wish there were more details about how he took the bees temperature - or maybe I don't wish...
Jan 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Heinrich summarizes many years of research on the acquisition and use of energy by bumblebees addressing the individual bee, the colony, various bee species, and the community. Throughout he considers questions of thermoregulation, evolution, and costs and benefits.
The new preface is a welcome addition highlighting advancements since the original publication without taking away from the following text. The first chapters focus on observation and experiments concerning energy use and allocation w
Apr 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book is a very clear description of a simply mind-boggling amount of work, and a very impressive background knowledge. I appreciate that making the explanations sound like common sense is a deceptively difficult thing to do. This book certainly makes me want to start watching bumblebees and examining flowers more closely.
Tom McCarran
Oct 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Reads somewhere between an academic journal article and a memoir. Dry at times, but almost always fascinating, with great humor and an appropriate sense of awe that is hard to capture in science writing.
Mar 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
Very interesting, more explicitly scientific than his other books (at least the ones I've read). Filled with great information and gives an idea of how a both field and laboratory work are done. Still excellent writing even though it is more technical.
Jul 26, 2011 rated it liked it
Look forward to learning even more about bumblebees.
May 27, 2007 rated it liked it
Very technical, not like his other books.
Dec 16, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: natural-history
His style here is not as felicitous as in other books, but the topic is absorbing.
Sep 10, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Naturalists/environmentalists and nature lovers
Bernd is one of my favorite authors.
Philip Fowler
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Jun 16, 2013
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Jan 19, 2018
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Bernd Heinrich was born in Germany (April 19, 1940) and moved to Wilton, Maine as a child. He studied at the University of Maine and UCLA and is Professor Emeritus of Biology at the University of Vermont.

He is the author of many books including Winter World, Ravens in Winter, Mind of the Raven and Why We Run. Many of his books focus on the natural world just outside the cabin door.

Heinrich has w