May Berenbaum writes in Ninety-nine Gnats, Nits, and Nibblers, “Ever since I became an entomologist, I’ve been an outspoken insect advocate, especially because of the first decade and a half of my life. I have been terrified of anything that crawled hopped, or flew. It wasn’t until I took a college course in entomology that I realized what I was missing.” She introduces readers into a fascinating world that they never thought about. Knowing that people dislike bugs, the author does her best to dispel their fears.
May Berenbaum writes about ninety-nine insects that people are familiar with. To give the reader an overview of insects, she first introduces the concepts of the insect orders and names. Then, she divides the insects into groups that the reader can readily relate to. A sampling of her groups are “Farm Friends” (insects found on farms), “The Wet and Wild Bunch” (insects found near or on water), and the “Flexible Flyers” (insects that fly).
To make the insects more approachable, May Berenbaum includes a humorous picture with each article. For example, she has an illustration of carpet beetles being chased by a vacuum cleaner. One beetle screams to the other, “Run! It’s the vacuum cleaner!”
Ninety-nine Gnats, Nits, and Nibblers is the book for the insect phobic reader. May Berenbaum shows insects in a good-natured, understandable way. When the reader is finished reading this book, they begin to understand how insects are a part of their life.
Excepts from “Carpenter Ants”
“These chunky black ants top off at around one-half inch in length (there were once known as Camponatus herculeanus.) Like all species of ants, carpenter ants have a constricted hourglass waist, elbowed antennae, and front wings substantially larger than their hind wings – characteristics that distinguish them from the thick-waisted termites with their straight antennae and even-sized wings.”
“Although carpenter ants have little respect for human structures, their own social life has a structure that’s quite complex and includes such admirable traits as collective care of the young and division of labor.”
“Their love of sweets has on numerous occasions proven their downfall. One of the most effective way to control carpenter ants is to set out poison baits.”
Buy this book and other books by May R. Berenbaum from Amazon.com.