CO-Horts Blog

Monday, December 7, 2020

Your Pollinator Book List: Ideas to Read this Winter and in 2021

Posted by: Lisa Mason, Arapahoe County Extension

Now that we have put our gardens to bed for winter, it is time for rest and downtime. For some, it may be time to plan our gardening activities for 2021. For inspiration, look to the tiny critters that are responsible for pollinating plants in ecosystems around the world and providing healthy foods for people and animals. Your knowledge and appreciation for these hardworking bees and other pollinating insects will blossom.

Here are some of my favorite books on pollinators:

The Forgotten Pollinators by Stephen L. Buchmann and Gary Paul Nabhan, illustrated by Paul Mirocha

Published in 1996, this book is as timely as ever. Written by scientists, this book is filled with stories, research. I think the authors do a great job at painting the picture of different pollinators and their plants in ecosystems around the world. I keep this book on my book shelf and each time I re-read sections, I develop even more appreciation for our pollinators and plants.  

The Bees in Your Backyard: A Guide to North America’s Bees by Olivia Messinger Carril and Joseph Wilson

This book is a fantastic resource to learn more about the 4,000+ bee species found in North America! The book is organized by the different families and genera of bees. It is an easy-to-understand way to learn about the natural history of the bees, identification tips from eye-level to a microscopic level, and includes excellent photos. If you are interested in learning more about bee that may be visiting your garden or if you want to participate in the Native Bee Watch Community Science Program next summer, this book is for you! 

Attracting Native Pollinators by the Xerces Society

Are you thinking of adding more pollinator habitat to your yard? Or maybe you’re interested in adding pollinator-friendly plants at a local community garden? This is a great book that covers the biology and natural history of bees, butterflies and other pollinators. You will also find resources, tips and ideas for building pollinator-friendly habitats in backyards, community gardens, urban green spaces and more. The book also includes plant lists and sample garden plans. Attracting Native Pollinators is another great staple to have on your book shelf.

Our Native Bees: North America’s Endangered Pollinators and the Fight to Save Them by Paige Embry

You will enjoy reading this book to learn about the natural history of native bees. The author does a great job at telling the story about why native bee are so important. You’ll read about the story of the possibly extinct Franklin’s bumble bee, how blue orchard bees pollinate fruit orchards, the secret life of small carpenter bees (Ceratina spp.), and more.

Field Guide to Butterflies of North America by Jim P. Brock and Kenn Kaufman

This guide is a great reference for improving your butterfly identification skills. The book includes great pictures, range maps and includes larval plant food. If you are interested in finding a list of butterflies and moths in your county or state, visit Butterflies and Moths of North America.

The Beekeeper’s Handbook by Diana Sammataro and Alphonse Avitabile

Interested in beekeeping but not sure where to begin? Or maybe you want to learn about the fascinating biology of a social insect? This book will give you the biology and best management practices of keeping honey bees. The decision to keep honey bees should not be taken lightly. In addition to time and money, hives also need to be managed properly to reduce chances of pests and diseases, which not only hurt your hive, but can also hurt other hives in the community. This book is a great tool if you’re a new or seasoned beekeeper.

Some of the great pollinator books on my book shelf!

Many more pollinator and beneficial insect-related books

While the books listed above are some of my favorites, this not an all-inclusive list. Here are some other books that I plan to read soon:

Buzz, Bite, Sting: Why We Need Insects by Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson

The Garden Jungle or Gardening to Save the Planet by Dave Goulson. Check out other books by Dr. Goulson here.

Honeybee Democracy by Thomas D. Seeley

What are your favorite books on pollinators? What are you planning to read this winter? Comment below!

Please note the link for each book directs you to the author’s website or the company that published the book. All these books can be found at a variety of places including local bookstores. No endorsement of products mentioned is intended nor is criticism implied of products no mentioned.

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