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The Hive Detectives: Chronicle of a Honey Bee Catastrophe
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The Hive Detectives: Chronicle of a Honey Bee Catastrophe

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  306 Ratings  ·  92 Reviews
Without honey bees the world would be a different place. There would be no honey, no beeswax for candles, and, worst of all, barely a fruit, nut, or vegetable to eat. So imagine beekeeper Dave Hackenburg’s horror when he discovered twenty million of his charges had vanished. Those missing bees became the first casualties of a mysterious scourge that continues to plague hon ...more
Hardcover, Scientists in the Field, 66 pages
Published May 3rd 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Books for Young Readers
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The Hive Detectives: Chronicle of a Honey Bee Catastrophe is an informative nonfiction book that focuses on the honey bee. The plot focuses on a true event in 2006 when a honey bee farmer in the U.S. finds that his honey bees have died. We're not talking about a few hundred bees or even a few thousand...we're talking about twenty million honey bees. This was huge loss and word of mouth discovered other farmers all over the world had experienced similar losses. This information made its way to th ...more
Feb 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is such a great series, and anyone who has read at least one title in the Scientists in the Field will want to have them all in his/her classrooom library. What intrigues me about this book is that the scientists featured are still hard at work trying to figure out what is causing colony collapse disorder(CCD)among honeybees. The author provides interesting details about bees such as the fact that they are often attacked by mites about the size of the letter o or the description of bee diar ...more
May 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: families to read together
As one of my grandsons was searching for books on snakes and dinosaurs in juvenile nonfiction, this gem of a book jumped out at me a few shelves away. Although this book is apparently aimed at children, I found it very interesting and informative. Because of my interest in gardening and beekeeping, I had prior knowledge of the topic, but I am always looking for more information.

The photographs are beautiful, but more importantly this book explains in an easy to understand way the research that h
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
When I was a kid I was fascinated with the social insects--bees and ants. I still like to read about them. Burns' book related the fascinating story of the search for the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), which has devastated beehives around the world and, in turn, affected the food industry, which is highly dependent upon bees to help pollinate plants and trees. She took a complex subject and systematically explained it so that readers could understand. Along the way, she also examined b ...more
Amanda Snow
May 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I am now in love with honey bees. Well, not really, but I am just completely fascinated with them. These insects have a complete society, with a hierarchy, building plans, and social network that easily rivals anything I've ever seen before. SO cool!

The Hive Detectives: Chronicle of a Honey Bee Catastrophe by Loree Griffin Burns and photographer Ellen Harasimowicz is part of the amazing "Scientists in the Field" series. If you have yet to pick up a book in this series, you must run out to the li
Sep 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The Hive Detectives chronicles the mysterious Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) and the possible causes of this great threat to honeybees and agriculture. The book begins by tagging along with a hobbyist beekeeper Mary Duane, the reader is given a good brief introduction as to what beekeepers do on a small scale. A brief introduction to the large scale beekeeping operation of Dave and Davey Hackenberg follows; they were some of the first beekeepers to observe CCD in their apiaries. As more and more ...more
How many eggs do you think a queen bee lays in a day? Two thousand eggs a day, seven days a week!

Bees have such a good sense of smell that they have been trained to sniff out bombs and dead bodies! (p. 56)

Did you know that bees can get diarrhea? There are these little mites that can attach themselves to bees--like ticks--and cause them to get sick... and get diarrhea. They usually don't poop inside the hive (red-orange splatters), but when you get sick and you gotta go, you gotta go, even when
Jul 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
In this stunning book, Burns chronicles the efforts of beekeepers and bee scientists on their detective journey to find out what is killing honey bees all across the country. The catastrophe is referred to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Before launching into the investigation, Burns details the daily routine behind beekeeping, while photographs provide visual reference and explain the different tools and hives. She then describes, though the story of the Hackenbergs, why bees are fundamental to ...more
Sharne' Cherry
Nov 30, 2011 rated it liked it
1. Informational
2. The Hive Detectives discusses bee wranglers and bee scientists across the country who have been working to understand colony collapse disorder better known as CCD.
3.a Illustration
b. The illustrations or pictures in this informational book add to the read. On each page there is at least one picture in which depicts what the page is talking about. As I read through this book, the pictures kept me entertained and interested in the information being given. Without them, I really t
Edward Sullivan
Oct 24, 2017 added it
Shelves: read-3090-21-30

Summary: This book is all about Honey bees. It follows the events of what would happen without them and the mystery of why they are disappearing. It shows just how much humans would be affected if those little bees were no longer around.

Evaluation: This book was such an informative book. How it described what would happen to humans if those honey bees disappeared. It was eye opening, and would be for students who had no idea just how important those bees are. The pictures of bees on the co

This awesome nonfiction picture book shares fascinating information along with stunning photography to describe how scientists worked together with bee keepers to understand why colonies of bees were mysteriously collapsing. In 2006, people working in the beekeeping industry discovered that entire beehives were being losing their bees at an alarming rate. Because bees and other pollinators are an important part of producing America's food, it was imperative that scientists get a handle on this p ...more
Emily Garrison
Oct 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This nonfiction book is an amazing resource for anyone wanting to learn more about the production of honey, the keeping of bees and the organization of a bee hive. The book educates the reader about a dangerous virus called CCD which is making bees sick and harming hives around the US. This book gives information about the scientists studying this problem, their thoughts on what is causing the virus and amazing pictures of the laboratory work that's being carried out to hopefully solve this prob ...more
Lesley Burnap
Aug 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of the fantabulous "Scientists in the Field" series from publishers Houghton Mifflin. Thoroughly researched, Loree G. Burns shares the investigation about the devastating loss of honey bees from their hives in Florida (and other locales around the country). As she goes deeper into the mystery, we meet local and national experts and learn what is being done to isolate a reason for the missing bees. The appendix includes additional facts and photos, a glossary, resources for further reading an ...more
Sep 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Genre: Informational
Unique Feature: Investigates why bees are suddenly dying.
Grade: 4-6
Jan 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A good description of Colony Collapse Disorder that has hit the honeybee population. Amazing photographs.
Feb 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I don't care that this was written for children. It was terrific, and it pointed me to more resources to get more information. This provides a terrific base, providing just enough information on the discovery and investigation of what leads to colony collapse. Timely and well done.
Feb 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This was a fascinating read!
Aug 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: older children who want to learn more about honey bees
This is a long, but wonderful book about bees and the scientists who are trying to solve the mystery of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). The information provided is very interesting and the photographs are terrific. We read this book in small bites, trying to absorb the information, and I have to say that I learned as much about bees and their troubles as our girls did.

The story explains about how bees organize themselves, as well as how beekeepers take care of them. A few beekeepers affected by
Aug 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Reading The Hive Detectives did for me what great non-fiction should—it taught me a great deal about a topic I was basically ignorant about and it inspired a new appreciation that will change my perception of the natural world from now on. I think it will have a similar effect on many of its readers. There are three main storylines in this title: the first is the story of an amateur beekeeper named Mary Duane, the second is the quest to find the reason why honeybees are abandoning their hives, a ...more
Apr 23, 2015 rated it liked it
This is yet another book about honey bees that I'm reading for research purposes. Luckily I love research, huh? And for all you honey bee/non-fiction lovers, well, maybe you'll get a kick out of this review.

This is a children's book geared to teaching about Colony Collapse Disorder and how it affects us. It also includes how beekeepers tend their bees, bee anatomy, interesting extra information about bee pests, and other tidbits of that nature. This is all written with wonderful, giant photogra
A few years ago, in November of 2006, Dave Hackenburg, professional bee keeper, discovered that nearly all of the hives (some 400) he’d left in Florida, were completely empty, “twenty million honey bees had simply vanished.” This was the first reported incident of what came to be known as “colony collapse disorder.” Soon other bee keepers began to notice this phenomenon, and they collectively sought answers to the mysterious disappearance of their bees. Scientists are now actively engaged in res ...more
Jun 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The Hive Detectives: Chronicle of a Honey Bee Catastrophe (Scientists in the Field Series) by Loree Griffin Burns, illustrated by Ellen Harasimowicz is a very informative look at beekeeping in the US and the continuing search for a solution to CCD, or Colony Colapse Disorder, causing millions of honeybees to disappear.

As a former beekeeper during my 4-H career, I found this a very informative book with lots of great information about honeybees & their society and behavior, CCD and beekeepin
Apr 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
A very interesting and informative book about bees in general, beekeeping, and the recent catastrophe in the bee world which saw hundreds of thousands of colonies just disappear. There is a lot of information given in this book, but Burns was smart in forming it around a general "plot" of discovering that bee colonies were dying and figuring out what went wrong, so there's a bit of suspense to keep you reading.

The layout of the book is what I really loved. Each page has many photographs of bees
Oct 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
What would a world without honey bees be like?

This is a valid – and disturbing -- question in view of the millions of bees that have died or vanished since colony collapse disorder (CCD) was first identified in 2006. CCD is a mystery that has scientists scrambling to find the cause – and a solution -- before the world’s food supply is irreparably compromised.

The author, a beekeeper herself, takes readers inside a beehive, while telling a compelling story of the decimation of pollinating insects
Aug 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book really does unfold like a detective story; I was tempted to jump to the end to find the "conclusion", but the interesting presentation includes a lot of information without being too detailed. The photography and graphics are very good, although there were a few cases where I wish things had been more magnified (like the proboscis). The amount of text on each page is just right, because you feel you are moving along while still learning. Deductive reasoning and the scientific process a ...more
Aug 10, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
In this stunning book, Burns chronicles the efforts of beekeepers and bee scientists on their detective journey to find out what is killing honey bees all across the country. The catastrophe is referred to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Before launching into the investigation, Burns details the daily routine behind beekeeping, while photographs provide visual reference and explain the different tools and hives. She then describes, though the story of the Hackenbergs, why bees are fundamental to ...more
Ms. Yingling
In 2006, Dave Hackenburg discovered that 400 of his honey bee hives were just empty. Unable to figure out a cause for this on his own, he consulted a top notch team of bee researcher, who found that bees were in crisis all around the world. Burns takes this event and gives great background on how beekeepers care for hives, how honey is made and processed, and how research continues to try to stop further damage to the honey bee population. Complete with photographs, explanations of terms, and re ...more
Nov 20, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: 4th grade and up
Recommended to Megan by: Young Hoosier Book Award nominee
My grandfather used to raise honey bees so I was especially interested in reading this book about a "honey bee catastrophe." A beekeeper discovered that his bees were disappearing. Since honey bees are necessary to pollenate crops, this was very troubling. A team of scientists worked together to determine if the bees were dying because of disease, parasites, pesticides, or some other reason.

Also included in this book are many facts about bees and lots of pictures with captions to make the inform
Jun 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
My friend and critique partner, Loree Griffin Burns, has written a book that I've been waiting and waiting and waiting to share with you, and it's out now. It's called THE HIVE DETECTIVES: CHRONICLE OF A HONEY BEE CATASTROPHE, and it's about the mystery of honeybee colony collapse and what scientists are discovering about it. It's part of Houghton Mifflin's Scientists in the Field series, and like Loree's TRACKING TRASH, it is told in a narrative nonfiction style that is impossible to put down. ...more
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Loree is a scientist-turned-writer specializing in books about science and nature for young readers. You can learn more about her adventures and her books by visiting her website ( or by following her blog (
More about Loree Griffin Burns