Only recently have biologists discovered that human survival is inextricably linked to the survival of insects, specifically, bees. Today the 16-20,000 species of bee continue to play vital roles in human ecology. We survive only by grace of the life-sustaining network of bee-plant relationships. Bees immerses readers in the world of Apinae whose diversity of form and behaviour is eloquent testimony to the fine-tuning of natural selection. Written by a world-leading entomologist and specialist in bees, the book's topics include: What are bees? (The Wasp Inheritance) - Bees as foragers, their nesting instinct, on-board computing facility, sun-compass orientation and sense of time; The many ways of being a bee - Solitary versus social, Miners and masons, Leafcutters and carpenters; Bees and flowering plants; The male of the species - Mating strategies, patrols, competition, territoriality, the role of scent; The enemies of bees - Cleptoparasites, cuckoo bees; Bees and People - historic and contemporary; Bees in Folk and Modern Medicine; The Conservation of Bees - the decline of bees and honeybees, bees in human ecology, bee conservation, urban bees; Bee projects - the backyard bee scientist. Bees can be found throughout history in roles poetic and military, in medicine and agriculture, in the kitchen and in the kit of a traditional healer. They have played a bigger role in human existence than is often recognized. This beautifully illustrated, appreciative tribute will be welcomed by entomologists, students and all naturalist readers.