Wicked Bugs

  • by Amy Stewart
  • Narrated by Coleen Marlo
  • 5 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In this darkly comical look at the sinister side of our relationship with the natural world, Stewart has tracked down over one hundred of our worst entomological foes - creatures that infest, infect, and generally wreak havoc on human affairs. From the world's most painful hornet, to the flies that transmit deadly diseases, to millipedes that stop traffic, to the Japanese beetles munching on your roses, Wicked Bugs delves into the extraordinary powers of many-legged creatures.
With wit, style, and exacting research, Stewart has uncovered the most terrifying and titillating stories of bugs gone wild. It's an A to Z of insect enemies, interspersed with sections that explore bugs with kinky sex lives, creatures lurking in the cupboard, militant ants, and phobias that feed our (sometimes) irrational responses to bugs.
Wicked Bugs is a fascinating mixture of history, science, murder, and intrigue that begins - but doesn't end - in your own backyard.

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Audible Editor Reviews

Award-winning author Amy Stewart's Wicked Bugs is a compendium of every little critter you never want to run into, with interesting history lessons thrown in along the way. Ever hear the one about the guy who committed suicide by Black Widow? How about the time Darwin got some beetle juice squirted into his mouth? Bonus: have enemies? This book will teach you how to coat an arrowhead with poison from various insects and other potentially toxic compounds.
From spiders to stink bugs, this book is not for the faint of heart. Want to have nightmares forever? Picture a locust swarm larger than the state of California. One of the most compelling chapters is one that focuses on zombie bugs, particularly the parasitic Jewel Wasp, which injects venom directly into the brain of a cockroach, then forces the roach to do its bidding.
Coleen Marlo handles the text with an encyclopedic accuracy, narrating swiftly through all manner of latin phylum, order, class, and species with the greatest of ease. In the end, you're thankful that she can keep it clinical, just for the sake of minimizing the sometimes graphic nature of the content.
A big part of the message here is that bugs are more powerful than we give them credit for. Stewart posits that lice, not the harsh Russian winter, may have been the downfall of Napoleon's army. She also implies that Formosan termites may have been responsible for breaking the levies and causing the widespread devastation of Hurricane Katrina. If you had any doubt about it before, you can put it to rest now; bugs really are wicked.
Creepy? Yes. Morbid? Sometimes. Informative? Most definitely. —Gina Pensiero

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What the Critics Say

"Stewart amusingly but analytically profiles the baddest bugs around in quick but attention-grabbing snapshots of little creatures that pack a lot of punch." (Booklist)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

fascinating and creepy

This book was fascinating and well narrated. Lots of information on bugs and their habits and the diseases they carry. I started this book during a power outage due to severe thunderstorms. Quite creepy.
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- Paul

Too Many Bugs not Enough History

Though the introduction claims this book is NOT a reference guide or to be used as one, that is how it is written and how it reads. It reads like an arbitrarily put together reference guide on "bugs," (in the broad sense), written by a non-scientist/non-doctor.
The book is long and gives a survey of hundreds of "bugs," to the point where they blend together and get confusing. As one reviewer said it would be better on paper.
As a result the individual entries/chapters are short and often contain only basic information.
From the title "The Louse that Conquered Napoleon." I was expecting detailed and interesting histories highlighting 10 or 20 bugs, and how they have changed human history.
Instead the chapter on the louse was only a few minutes long and simply said that Napoleon's army may have been weakened by Louse and the diseases they carried, so that they were overcome easily by the Russian winter. Then she moves on to another bug.
The narration was great! And the information was interesting if a little repetitive, so I give it two stars for that. But in general this book is a short bug encyclopedia written by someone who professes not to be qualified for such an endeavor and so it is not worth it.

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- Paul

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-23-2011
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio