The University of Arizona Cooperative Extension (reg)

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    Trees for Special Areas
    A Date with History
    Annuals in the
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    Buzz; A Book Review
    Velvet Mesquite
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    Chilies
    Ask a Master Gardener
    How Herbicides Work
    The Unappreciated
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    East Valley Escape
    Word Wise
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The Master Gardener Journal


B O O K   R E V I E W


Buzz: The Intimate Bond Between Humans and Insects
by Josie Glausiusz

Reviewed by Sue Hakala, Master Gardener

Buzz: will help us all to understand the most numerous life forms on earth just a little bit better. The short descriptions could actually make great bedtime stories for you or your children/grandchildren, as they are so interesting and well written. Seeing the otherworldly photographs of the featured insects by Volker Steger is the reason to obtain this $30 book.

Steger tells us he wanted to show the very best feature of his subjects, but getting them to hold still to photograph them under a scanning electron microscope was another matter. So he shock froze them with liquid nitrogen or, dried them slowly exchanging body chemicals for ones he introduced so that they wouldnąt shrink. As the microscope can only produce black and white photos, Steger then color enhanced them with the computer. The results are unearthly; photos include a fly with powder blue eyes and a bedbug with pink eyes.

A cabbageworm, Pieris rapae, enlarged 40,000 times and colorized in aqua and green looks good enough to frame. The wardrobe beetle, Attagenus fasciatus, looks like a frightened porcupine is known for recycling fur, skin and feathers is especially useful in the landscape, but not in your closet or museum collections.

The business end of the blood sucking stable fly, Stomoxys calcitrans, resembles a big rock borer used to carve out tunnels. Barnyard animals and humans suffer from their painful bites. To cut down on breeding grounds for these pests the author suggests that you get rid of hay, manure, spilled feed and wet, fermenting organic material.

A photo of a housefly smashed into a car window may make you smile, but you should know that crushed insects have helped solve crimes. Certain species are found only in certain areas, so identifying those stuck on windshields and grills can place a suspect in a particular area. Insects found in tire treads prove direct contact with the crime scene soil.

One thing to notice while gasping over these photographs is how many of these bugs have hairs and whiskers all over their bodies. No doubt, it helps them to sense the world around them, and to know when trouble is coming on the air currents. So meet your neighbors. The ones that consume our garbage, pollinate our crops, attack our plants, help solve crimes, suck our blood, live in your pajamas, and under your bed in this exquisitely designed book.


Maricopa County Master Gardener Volunteer Information
Last Updated November 21, 2004
Author: Lucy K. Bradley, Extension Agent Urban Horticulture, University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, Maricopa County
© 1997 The University of Arizona, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cooperative Extension in Maricopa County
Comments to Maricopa-hort@ag.arizona.edu 4341 E. Broadway Road, Phoenix, AZ 85040,
Voice: (602) 470-8086 ext. 301, Fax (602) 470-8092