What's the Buzz? Keeping Bees in Flight

ISBN: 9781459809604
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Fall 2015

There's more to bees than honey.

Whether they live alone or together, in a hive or in a hole in the ground, bees do some of the most important work on the planet: pollinating plants. What’s the Buzz? celebrates the magic of bees—from swarming to dancing to making honey—and encourages readers to do their part to keep the hives alive.

All over the world, bee colonies are dwindling, but everyone can do something to help save the bees, from buying local honey to growing a bee-friendly garden.


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Please support your local independent bookstore; if they don’t have What’s the Buzz? Keeping Bees in Flight, they can order a copy for you. You can also order print and ebooks directly from Orca Book Publishers or from Amazon.



A Junior Library Guild Selection for Fall 2015

Ontario Library Association's Best Bets 2015

Lane Anderson Award finalist, 2015

Canadian Children's Book Centre's Best Books for Kids and Teens, 2016

Green Earth Book Award shortlist, 2016

Animal Behavior Society Outstanding Children's Book Award finalist, 2016

Children's Literature Roundtables of Canada, 2016 Information Book Award shortlist

Red Cedar Book Awards nominee, 2016/2017



What's the Buzz? is a look at bees and beekeeping. Presented with many photographs and lots of interesting information, What's the Buzz? gives a strong, if brief, overview of bees and their relationship with humans, especially the impact that humans are having on bee populations....The interest that Merrie-Ellen Wilcox has in bees and her concern about their future comes through in all aspects of the text....The author's enthusiasm for the topic is apparent and will help readers become more interested in bees and their future....What's the Buzz? is a well-written overview of bees that shows how important they are as well as the perils that bees face and what people can do to help bee populations survive. Highly Recommended. (CM Magazine – Canadian Review of Materials)


“There’s more to bees than honey,” to quote the back cover of this thorough and fascinating look at these insects. It includes side trips into the greater world of why bees matter to world and local ecologies. Why might whole hives be dying? Why do we need bees? Why do fish need bees? How do bees differ from wasps? Do all bees make honey in hives? How can we help bees become healthy again? What are neonicotinoids? Wilcox, who describes her own foray into beekeeping in the introduction, raises and answers these and many more questions in easy prose. Great photos of kids, bees, and hives enhance the text. VERDICT: A useful option for science teachers and students curious about bees and ecology. (School Library Journal)


Author and hobbyist beekeeper Wilcox presents a cheery introduction to honeybees and their wild cousins. Wilcox covers a lot of territory in a brief book, notably including quite a lot of information about bumblebees and other undomesticated bees as well as a healthy helping of facts about honeybees. From an overview that distinguishes between bees and wasps and then among types of bees and a bit of honeybee history, Wilcox moves on to bees as pollinators, both those used in commercial agriculture and specialist bees that focus on just certain types of blossoms, such as the squash bee. She covers bee behavior and roles, swarming, and what beekeepers do before moving on to cover threats to bees such as neonicotinoids and the varroa mite…. As comprehensive an introduction as can be found in 48 pages. (Kirkus Reviews)


Written by an experienced apiculturist, this book is an introduction to the basics of bee physiology and behavior, dispelling many of the common myths of this ubiquitous insect. Wilcox celebrates the incredible diversity of bee species and the products that they provide. The life cycle of honeybees and the roles that workers, drones, and queens play is part of a discussion about what beekeepers do to keep colonies healthy. This introductory information provides the basis for a description of the problems facing bee populations that are decreasing at an alarming rate. Though not pointed to as a singular cause, Wilcox emphasizes the tenuous relationship between organisms in an ecosystem and the challenges that industrial agriculture present to maintaining the environment, and in particular, she focuses on bees’ special role as pollinators for the world’s food supply. This eye-opening book is a call to action, encouraging kids to plant flower gardens, support local farms, and raise awareness of the mysterious plight of disappearing bees. Full-color close-up photos and helpful diagrams add plenty of visual appeal. (Booklist)  


This is an excellent resource for research projects but should also be a must read to inform everyone about the plight of bees and how essential they are to life on earth....All public and elementary school libraries should have a copy of this book. (Youth Services Book Review)


Readers get good science, good beekeeping, and good information in general. (Bee Culture)


In What's the Buzz we get a close-up look at bees and beekeeping from Ms. Wilcox, a successful and ardent beekeeper herself. It is necessary for all of us to understand the very real importance of bees to our lives....You will come away from reading this book wanting to ensure that bees remain part of our environment and hoping to help make that happen. As Ms. Wilcox shares her concerns for their welfare, you cannot help but want to know more about protecting them now and in the future. (Sal's Fiction Addiction)