The Case of the Vanishing Honeybees: A Scientific Mystery

The Case of the Vanishing Honeybees: A Scientific Mystery by Sandra Markle is a fabulous new book about the mystery of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) in honey bees*.


Organized in a beautifully logical way, Markle introduces honey bees and why we should care about them. She then presents the case for different causes of the disorder, revealing how complicated it all might be.

The visual lay out of the book is extremely appealing. It adds bold interest without overwhelming the text. Some of the close-up photographs are astonishing.

I should reveal that I am an entomologist by training and have had a long term interest in honey bees. I was impressed that Markle went right to the scientific experts and was able to synthesize and distill vast amounts of information into a clear, accurate picture of our current understanding of CCD. I also like that she presented some ideas for things we can do to help, like buy local honey (very important!) and plant flowers with bees in mind. She mentions letting weeds, like dandelions, go to flower. Dandelions can be critical because they flower late in the season, supplying significant cold weather food to the bees. Letting herbs and vegetables go to flower can be helpful to pollinators, too.

The Case of the Vanishing Honeybees is a compelling story with hard science, a complicated mystery, and a very real consequences to our dinner tables, all tied up into one. It will definitely appeal to middle grade readers and up.

Although some sources indicate an October publication date for this book, it is currently available from many book sellers.

*I am using the separation of the word “honey bee” in the way I was taught as an entomologist. The rule of thumb is that if the insect is actually as named, then the name is separated into two words. On the other hand, if the name doesn’t reflect the insect’s true identity, then it is presented as one word. For example, whiteflies are actually not flies at all, so the name is contracted. Honey bees are really bees, so the name remains separated. Dragonflies and fireflies are not flies, but bumble bees are bees. It is a convention that makes sense, don’t you think?

Related honey bee science information and activities:

Honey bee science activities and honey bees keeping warm at Growing With Science

Lesson plans from University of Arizona (by yours truly)

Importance of dandelions

Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group (August 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1467705926
ISBN-13: 978-1467705929


Disclosures:  The book was provided electronically by the publisher for review via NetGalley. I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at not extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.



Nonfiction Monday is a blogging celebration of nonfiction books for kids. We invite you to join us. For more information and a schedule, stop by Booktalking to see who is hosting each week.

Today’s round up is at A Mom’s Spare Time.

3 Replies to “The Case of the Vanishing Honeybees: A Scientific Mystery”

  1. I didn’t know you are an entomologist by training, Roberta! How interesting! And I enjoyed learning about the use of the term, “honey bee”, as two words. And I never would have guessed that dandelions are important for honey bees. Thanks for sharing this review.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: