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  • Published: 3 October 2016
  • ISBN: 9781784871116
  • Imprint: Vintage Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 320
  • RRP: $30.00

A Sting in the Tale (The Birds and the Bees)

The Birds and the Bees series from Vintage Classics - beautiful editions of the finest British nature writing

The Birds and the Bees series was designed for Vintage Classics by Timorous Beasties, the Scottish studio famous for their designs inspired by the natural worldAs a small boy, Dave Goulson was obsessed with wildlife - from his childhood menagerie of exotic pets to his ill-fated experiments with taxidermy. But it was the bumblebee that fascinated him the most. Once commonly found in the marshes of Kent, the short-haired bumblebee was driven to extinction in Britain by intensive farming practices. With ground-breaking research into these curious creatures, A Sting in the Tale tells the story of Goulson’s passionate drive to reintroduce them to their native land.


  • Published: 3 October 2016
  • ISBN: 9781784871116
  • Imprint: Vintage Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 320
  • RRP: $30.00

About the author

Dave Goulson

Dave Goulson studied biology at Oxford University and is now Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Sussex. He has spent the last twenty years studying bumblebees, and has published over 250 scientific articles on their biology. He founded the Bumblebee Conservation Trust in 2006. He is the author of the Sunday Times bestseller, A Sting in the Tale, which was shortlisted for the 2013 Samuel Johnson Prize, A Buzz in the Meadow and Bee Quest.

Also by Dave Goulson

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Praise for A Sting in the Tale (The Birds and the Bees)

[Goulson’s] book is not only enormously informative, but also hugely entertaining: its light touch and constant humour make cutting-edge research a pleasure to read about… For anyone interested in the natural world, this is essential reading.

Michael McCarthy, Independent

Goulson reminds himself that he ‘began studying bumblebees not because they are important pollinators but because they are fascinating, because they behave in interesting and mysterious ways, and because they are rather loveable.’ It’s worth reading A Sting in the Tale for the same reasons.

Hannah Rosefield, Literary Review

A worthy book of the year.

Mary Beard, Observer

Goulson has plenty of wondrous biological stories to tell, as well as the tale of his own struggle to return the short-haired bumblebee to Britain.

Patrick Barkham, Guardian

This isn’t one of those natural science books that simply tells you things – it admits how much we don’t know.

Mark Mason, Spectator

Goulson combines enthusiasm with academic authority, addressing the amateur beekeeper and professional apiarist in well-judged proportion.

Iain Finlayson, The Times

Goulson's case for the importance of bumblebees will live long in my memory for its sheer passion and scientific detail.

Shami Chakrabarti, Guardian

Entertaining and enlightening… Wholly engaging…A must for all gardeners.

Naomi Schillinger, Garden Answers

A very readable introduction to the remarkable world of bees and bee conservation.

Good Book Guide

This book will make you bee-conscious. You will learn a lot, not just about bumblebees, and you will never have a dull moment… So read this book. Do it for the bees.

Nicholas Lezard, Guardian

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