Wicked Bugs by Amy Stewart – Book Review

Wicked Bugs by Amy Stewart
Published by Algonquin Books, an imprint of Workman

Fresh off of her delightfully sinister book Wicked Plants, Amy Stewart has returned with a fascinating look at the most painful, destructive, and deadly of all bugs. The book is organized in short essays about each of 220-odd bugs, with interspersing chapters on buggy trends like zombies, garden pests, and bugs with brutal mating habits.

Each chapter is almost more intriguing than the last. On page 134, for instance, the reader learns that Formosan termites were actually the cause of much of the damage in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. The seams of the floodwalls were constructed from sugarcane waste, a favorite treat of the Formosans. Worse, due to the Formosan’s building structures, the flood waters failed to wipe them out, which left the termites free to attack abandoned structures after the waters receded. What I want to know is, why is this the first time I’ve ever heard that piece of information?

Aside from making me slightly cranky and suspicious, Wicked Bugs is a joy to read. Really, what more can you ask from a book than that it make you remark out loud, “Oh Charles Darwin, you’re so dumb?” (read the entry on the Bombardier Beetle and you’ll understand). You might want to avoid reading it with other people around, though, unless you want to be That Person who constantly remarks on the interesting facts in your book. I’m sure my husband would have preferred to concentrate on what he was reading rather than what I was reading. If I had just one wish, though, it is that Stewart would have included a postscript on some of the reasons these bugs are actually valuable parts of our ecosystem, because after reading all of the terrible things they do to us, I was about ready to suggest we just get rid of them all, ASAP.

If you like to learn new, not always necessarily useful things, then Amy Stewart is like candy for your brain. Yum. Recommended.

Buy this book from:

Source: Publisher.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.
Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2011

11 comments to Wicked Bugs by Amy Stewart – Book Review

  • WOW! This sounds really interesting, but it would also be worthwhile to have it in the house because I could torture my husband with it. HE HATES BUGS. Whahahahaha!

  • Looks like a neat book but I don’t know if I could handle it due to my inexplicable fear of bugs :)

  • I’m reading her book about worms (The Earth Moved) and it is equally amazing, and apparently a little more balanced with the good and the bad. I’ll definitely be reading more Amy Stewart in the future and Wicked Bugs might be a good book to jump to.

  • This looks awesome. I definitely want to read it, though I better keep it away from my dog because she is terrified of the tiniest little bugs (and she’s a labrador..). I can’t believe I’ve never heard of this or Wicked Plants before!

  • I can’t wait to read this one! Bugs are irritating, but I know they do some valuable things.

  • we’re constantly being asked (by the kids) what purpose a mosquito, or a fruit fly, or a … well, you get the point … what purpose a particular irritating bug could possibly serve. Pretty sure I’ll be one of Those People who reads the most interesting facts of WICKED BUGS aloud to my family!

  • julie

    Did you get the creepy crawlies while reading? I know I would have.
    About the termites in New Orleans, how can you put the blame on a human if a bug is doing a lot of damage? I mean PETA would be on that reporter in an instant. :)

  • Jenn!

    Loved this review! You totally made me want to read this book and share it with the family. Sounds like a weird but wonderful book.


  • Michele@AReadersRespite

    Is it wrong that I just love the cover?

  • I still haven’t read Wicked Plants yet, so know both of them are going on my wishlist. This one just sounds like a lot of fun.

  • Bugs. I want to read it but it’s about bugs. Certain bugs give me nightmares. I’m glad you enjoyed it, but I think this is one that I am better off ignoring, otherwise I might find myself constantly carrying around a bottle of bug spray. 😉