Fireflies, Honey, and Silk

Fireflies, Honey, and Silk

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The ink our ancestors wrote with, the beeswax in altar candles, the honey on our toast, the silk we wear. This enchanting book is a highly entertaining exploration of the myriad ways insects have enriched our lives - culturally, economically, and aesthetically. Entomologist and writer Gilbert Waldbauer describes in loving, colorful detail how many of the valuable products insects have given us are made, how they were discovered, and how they have been used through time and across cultures. Along the way, he takes us on a captivating ramble through many far-flung corners of history, mythology, poetry, literature, medicine, ecology, forensics, and more. Enlivened with personal anecdotes from Waldbauer's distinguished career as an entomologist, the book also describes surprising everyday encounters we all experience that were made possible by insects. From butterfly gardens and fly-fishing to insects as jewelry and sex pheromones, this is an eye-opening ode to the wonder of insects that illuminates our extraordinary and essential relationship with the natural world.

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Product details

  • Hardback | 248 pages
  • 154 x 204 x 26mm | 480.81g
  • University of California Press
  • Berkerley, United States
  • English
  • 21 line illustrations
  • 0520258835
  • 9780520258839
  • 716,726

Review quote

"Abuzz with obscure lore about a host of bugs that are as accommodating to humans as bedbugs, fleas, and mosquitoes are annoying." Natural History 20100201 "Accessible, easy prose ready-made for a broad, curious audience." Publishers Weekly 20091123 "Reading this book is like sitting at the feet of a favourite uncle on a winter evening beside a crackling fire." New Scientist 20091003 "An easy-to-read book that is interesting and entertaining." Foreword 20091005 "Professional yet conversational, Waldbauer's essays are an homage to a world that first fascinated him as a child." Audubon Magazine 20091201

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About Dr. Gilbert Waldbauer

Gilbert Waldbauer is Emeritus Professor of Entomology at the University of Illinois. He is the author of many books on insects including Insights from Insects, What Bad Bugs Can Teach Us, The Handy Bug Answer Book, and A Walk Around the Pond: Insects in and over the Water.

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations Note Introduction I. Insects People Like II. The Silk We Wear III. Dyeing the Cloth IV. Baubles, Bracelets, and Anklets V. Candles, Shellac, and Sealing Wax VI. Paper and Ink VII. Butterflies in Your Tummy VIII. Satisfying the Sweet Tooth IX. Cures and Nostrums X. Insect Pets and Performers Epilogue. The Ecological Context Selected References Acknowledgments Index

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