Beetle Busters

SITF Beetle BusterBeetle Busters: A Rogue Insect and the People who Track It
by Loree Griffin Burns; photos by Ellen Harasimonwicz
64 pages; ages 10 – 14
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014

This is a book about one gorgeous beetle (look at the beautiful antennae), the damage it does to forests, and the scientists and citizens who are trying to save their trees. The Asian Longhorn Beetle, also known as the ALB, came from China tucked into wood used to ship products to the US. Now it’s infesting trees from Massachusetts to New York and into Canada, and foresters are in a race to control its spread. But is cutting thousands of trees the answer?

In this book Loree Burns takes a close look at the beetle – its life cycle inside and outside the trees – and the scientists tracking the insect. She talks trees: bark, tree rings, leaves and buds. She takes us into the woods with the beetle busting team for some surveying and a bit of tree climbing (don’t worry; we’re roped in), then into the lab. Beetle busting is hard work, and the scientists need help. That means we – yes, just ordinary citizens – need to help track and report beetle break-outs. Even if it means losing a tree we love.

Burns includes diagrams, sidebars, author’s notes and resources for curious beetle naturalists. Ellen Harasimonwicz’s photographs are integral to this book. She traipsed from field to lab and her photos of beetles, trees, and scientists in action help us understand the complexity of the problem.

Loree has been traveling this fall, but she took a few minutes to answer some questions about her new book over at Archimedes Notebook. She talks about her research for this book and what kids can do to help scientists monitor these beetles.

Nonfiction Monday

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