The Bees by Laline Paull

All those things that The Times, and The Guardian, and Margaret Atwood had said about it are true. It’s pretty amazing.

There has been a lot of good things said about this book, and I was late to the party. I’d had a copy for some time but put off reading it, I don’t know why. I started it, then put it down. Finally, I got round to it. And, you know what? All those things that The Times, and The Guardian, and Margaret Atwood had said about it are true. It’s pretty amazing.

The BeesWe are taken into the world of a bee hive, by Flora, a lowly bee assigned to sanitation work, cleaning the hive and removing the dead bodies of her fellow bees. The hive is a fascinating, intricate place with hard rules and customs.

The Queen is revered and her scent permeates the hive. Every worker has her place from the foragers to the drones, to the nursery attendants to the cooks in “Honey and Patisserie”.

When the foragers find a field of clover, or a wall of honeysuckle they return to the hive and the “dance hall” where they stamp out an intricate dance, telling the other bees where to fly to collect the precious nectar and pollen.

My heart was thumping when there was an invasion by the hive’s dreaded enemies, the wasps, and when they have to negotiate safe passage across the orchard with the sly spiders, it’s a treaty signed in blood.

This is a magnificent and absorbing book, I urge you to read it. The plight of our bees is indeed in peril and this book makes me realise just how much we need them.