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BEE DEMOCRATIC

I\’ve been enthralled by a wonderful book about bees – this one is called \”Honeybee Democracy\” by Thomas D. Seeley. It\’s beautifully produced, beautifully written and tells the story of how a colony of bees swarms and finds a new place to live. Not only does he tell the story – he also explains how he knows. The book gives the painstaking scientific background to a fully formed scientific statement. When he says what kind of hollow tree bees prefer, he knows because he\’s checked. I admit his explanation is hard to read because it involved poisoning bees with cyanide. That was back in the heedless 1970s though. I think Seeley would do it differently today.
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You don\’t need to be interested in bees to be amazed by the story of how a swarm of bees effectively vote on where they\’re going to live – politicians and historians might find insight into ways a large group can come to a decision as fairly and efficiently as possible.
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The only criticisms I can think of are the cost of the book (it\’s gone down since I last checked) and the fact that being a large hardback makes it difficult to read in bed – for goodness\’ sake, will somebody please publish Seeley\’s work in paperback?

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