Author of Keeping the Bees, Laurence Packer
I heard a Fresh Air interview with Laurence Packer, entomologist from York University in Toronto, on our local public radio station, and thought it amusing and informative. He was talking about his book, Keeping the Bees: Why All Bees Are at Risk and What We Can Do to Save Them (excerpt here). Although that subtitle is somewhat alarmist, he had a refreshingly low-key style. Although he talked about the threats to various crops, he also pointed out that there were many food plants that aren't pollinated by animals, and that we wouldn't immediately starve if all the bees died. He did note that there would be many long-term consequences of lower diversity among pollinators, and that feral honeybee colonies are much rarer than before, having been decimated by various parasites. Much of our focus on colony collapse disorder is focused on domesticated honeybees, but there are many other insects (and other animals) that pollinate. The key to a healthy ecosystem is keeping high biodiversity.
The interviewer, Dave Davies, asked about a number of our more unusual pollinators and the mites that afflict them, and Packer had some stomach-turning examples, which I will leave to your imagination!
I have not yet purchased this book for the Libraries' collection, but I will!