Prof. Dave Goulson’s bumblebee interview and A Sting in the Tale -video

May 13, 2014

in Bumblebee pests, enemies, etc., Bumblebees and their ecology, Gardening For Wildlife, My Recommendations

From Academia to Sunday Times Bestseller! A Sting in the Tale

The frustrated Professor!

Prof. Dave Goulson is passionate about bumblebees. He is one of the UK’s top bumblebee researchers and probably the world as well! However he was frustrated. Why? He enjoys his job which involves writing papers, journals and increasing knowledge about bumblebees. But the world of being a scientific researcher is very insular. The research is only read by the few dozen other bumblebee researchers in the world. They go away and follow on with their own research, read by the few dozen bumblebee researchers in the world, who go away and follow on…etc.!

What do you do when you are passionate about a topic and wish to enthuse people?

Although Prof. Goulson has written an academic book on bumblebees, he wanted to reach a far wider audience. So how do a few people reading scientific journals help with the conservation of the subject matter? His first such act was to set up the Bumblebee Conservation Trust. which members of the public could join. To reach the wider audience, he would need to be freed from the ‘restraining shackles of academia speak’. This would allow him to enthuse and enthral readers with a heartfelt and personal account of his passion and engagement with bumblebees. He wanted to make it a popular read that anyone could read and find out more about these interesting and very important insects.  in this case bumblebees? By breaking from the shackles of academia and writing a book for the public and using humour. It worked. The book is a Sunday Times Bestseller. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, which did, beside surprising me in a few places, also made me laugh. It’s a great book, makes a lovely gift and I can recommend it wholeheartedly.

A Sting in the Tale

Read a Guardian review here. You can buy “A sting in the Tale” here.

Honey bees make honey. Bumblebees make summer!

Recently I helped La Hulma Suse man a bumblebee stall in Norway. Next to us was a honey bee stall. A lady was busy asking them about honey and honey bees. Then she came to the bumblebee stall. Looking around the stall she said “You know, I do n’t know anything about bumblebees. Do they make any honey?”. “Honey bees make honey. Bumblebees make summer!” was my reply! She now knows a lot more about bumblebees!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Ann May 14, 2014 at 10:33 am

Hi George,

Bought this book for my kindle. Really, really interesting and funny. Thoroughly enjoyed reading it and can re-read at the touch of a finger!!
I agree with Dave Goulson with his thought of introducing the yellow rattle plant into his meadow garden in France, I was thinking of doing the same in part of our field to give other species of wildflowers a chance to germinate. Also found programme on tv that Dave was involved in also very interesting. My red mason bees are very busy at the moment and have been trying to identify other bees in and around our garden but difficult at present as I’m on crutches!! Love your posts.
Best Regards
Ann Spencer-Wyatt


nurturingnature May 15, 2014 at 4:20 pm

Hi Ann, I wonder if the yellow rattle kills all of the grass it parasitises or just weakens it allowing it to still grow? Have not had time to read it all yet books like this I need to read in one reading….. Nice to hear from you. Cheers George


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