The Ardent Swarm by Yamen Manai and translated by Lara Vergnaud is set in Nawa, a village in Tunisia. There is political unrest at the time, which I think is at the time of the Arab Spring, approximately 2010.
Sidi is a reclusive beekeeper. He doesn’t pay too much attention to anything besides trying to find out who or what is killing his hives. Through his research, he finds out that the responsible party are killer hornets.
Bees are really fascinating creatures. Sidi, Sidi’s niece, Jannet, and her husband, Tamar, also discover that Japanese bees have a way to protect themselves against hornets.
In the book, it is called an ardent swarm. One of the meanings of ardent is “burning.” It is a real action in which the bees form a ball around the hornet. The bees vibrate their wings until the ball’s temperature rises. It’s hard to believe but the temperature of the ball can reach 118 degrees. So the unsuspecting hornet is burned to death and the bees clean up the crime scene. No one will ever know that a hornet was there.
Sidi is desperate to begin a new colony that can defeat the hornet. He needs a Japanese queen bee. Jannet and Tamar visit Japan and find several queen bees. Will the queens survive the trip to Tunisia? Does introducing a Japanese queen actualy help to defeat the killer hornets?
Queen bees and their colonies will love this book. Also, beekeepers will find it interesting. Honestly, you can be allergic to bees and still enjoy The Ardent Swarm.
If you are a killer hornet, then you might not be interested in a book about bees.