"Buzz, Sting, Bite" celebrates the pests we love to hateBy Michael Berry | Jul 7 2019When warm weather arrives, bare skin becomes a bull's-eye for wasps, gnats, horseflies, and other annoying arthropods. It can be hard to remember the benefits of sharing the biosphere with up to 10 quintillion insects. In Buzz, Sting, Bite: Why We Need Insects (Simon & Schuster, 2019), Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson comes to the defense of the "tiny critters that all do their little bit to save your life, every single day." A professor of conservation biology at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Sverdrup-Thygeson is a lively, witty, and discerning guide through the scientific lore surrounding some of the tiniest—though still very powerful—organisms on Earth. Whether spotlighting the gall wasps that provided the ink on the Declaration of Independence, the fruit flies that have made Nobel Prize–winning research possible, or the midges that give us chocolate, each chapter makes the case that we need insects more than they need us. Sverdrup-Thygeson's tone is almost exclusively positive, celebrating giant bumblebees as pollinators, dung beetles as cleaners, and mealworms as protein sources. Even mosquitoes get props for serving as food for birds, bats, and other animals. The occasional lament that climate change is wreaking havoc upon many insect species adds an important note of urgency. Buzz, Sting, Bite isn't a deep dive into entomology. Rather, it's a zippy, enjoyable sampler of the subject, suitable for bio-curious teens and adults alike—and it provides a convincing argument for showing a little restraint before reaching for the flyswatter. This article appeared in the July/August 2019 edition with the headline "For the Love of Bugs." Like what you read? Sign up for daily updates from Sierra magazine. Sign up is Processing Whoops! Something went wrong. Please email Thanks for signing up for the Green Life email newsletter. By signing up, you are opting in to receive periodic communications from the Sierra Club. More stories about: books, insects Published in the July/August 2019 issue of Sierra Magazine Freelance writer Michael Berry has written about books and authors for various local and national publications, including the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Review of Books, the Portland Press Herald and the San Francisco Chronicle. Related Stories Hyper Nature This is nature photography as you’ve never seen it before. The Wild World of Butterflies A new photo book explores the ephemeral beauty and diversity of butterflies. How Insects, Neonicotinoids, and a French Farm Are Related We review "A Buzz in the Meadow: The Natural History of a French Farm" by Dave Goulson. No Image ☰ Back to top Climate and EnergyClean Energy Climate Disruption Dirty Energy Transportation Lands and WatersEcology and Science Parks and Wilderness Wildlife Oceans AdventureGear Reviews Trailhead Destinations Survival Tips Green LifestyleAsk Mr. Green Books Food and Drink Film and TV Music Photo Slideshows MagazineCurrent Issue Archives Subscribe Search Donate Latest Updates Global Heat Waves Point to Intensifying Global Climate Crisis 11 hours ago Cyanide Bombs Kill Thousands of Animals a Year. The Trump Administration Thinks That’s Fine. 1 day ago Roadsides Are Refuges for Declining Pollinators 2 days ago ICYMI: NYC Beaver, It’s Raining Plastic, & Don’t Drink Bleach 3 days ago MORE » Most Read What's the Best Way to Get Rid of Dog Poop? 10 Sunscreens That Comply With Proposed New FDA Safety Rules Inside Mount St. Helens’s Crater Birds Are Adapting to Climate Change, But Maybe Not Fast Enough Grizzly Bears Are Back—on the Endangered Species List Podcast: The Overstory Videos 7 Things You Think Are Recyclable But Aren't What is the Greenest Kind of Disposable Dishware What is the Greenest Way To Drink Coffee? See more videos » 3 Ways to Support Sierra 1. Sign up to receive daily reports about how you can enjoy, explore, and protect the planet. Sign up is Processing Whoops! Something went wrong. Please email Thanks for signing up for the Green Life email newsletter. 2. Subscribe to our magazine by becoming a Sierra Club member today. Join Us 3. Join the conversation on social media.