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The Insects Who Rule the World and the People Obsessed with Them

David MacNeal

St. Martin's Press

Bugged Download image

ISBN10: 1250095506
ISBN13: 9781250095503


320 Pages



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Insects have been shaping our ecological world and plant life for over 400 million years. In fact, our world is essentially run by bugs—there are 1.4 billion for every human on the planet. In Bugged, journalist David MacNeal takes us on an off-beat scientific journey that weaves together history, travel, and culture in order to define our relationship with these mini-monsters.

MacNeal introduces a cast of bug-lovers—from a woman facilitating tarantula sex and an exterminator nursing bedbugs (on his own blood), to a kingpin of the black market insect trade and a “maggotologist”—who obsess over the crucial role insects play in our everyday lives.

Just like bugs, this book is global in its scope, diversity, and intrigue. Hands-on with pet beetles in Japan, releasing lab-raised mosquitoes in Brazil, beekeeping on a Greek island, or using urine and antlers as means of ancient pest control, MacNeal’s quest appeals to the squeamish and brave alike. Demonstrating insects’ amazingly complex mechanics, he strings together varied interactions we humans have with them, like extermination, epidemics, and biomimicry. And, when the journey comes to an end, MacNeal examines their commercial role in our world in an effort to help us ultimately cherish (and maybe even eat) bugs.


Praise for Bugged

"While working with bugs requires a strong tolerance for what others might consider creepy or gross, Bugged shows that fascinating careers await those brave enough to take the plunge."—The New York Post

"Entomology at its most enchanting . . . MacNeal is a witty, informed guide to a world of winged and scuttling wonders."—Nature

"The world of insects as described in magnificent detail in Bugged is creepy, beautiful, icky and amazing."—Penny Le Couteur, author of Napoleon's Button

"Readers willing to consider creepy crawlies in a different light will glean much from this thoroughly enjoyable text."—Library Journal

"MacNeal delivers a joy-filled dose of science, reminding readers that the strange and alien creatures in our midst are not to be feared, but celebrated."—Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads


Read an Excerpt


I never appreciated insects until I ripped the guts out of one.

Okay, more like tweezed. In 2011, I had my first insect pinning lesson with a pink grasshopper, aka plains lubber (Brachystola magna), in...

About the author

David MacNeal

DAVID MACNEAL is a journalist exploring the fringes of science, technology and culture. His articles have appeared in Wired, Arts Technica, VICE, and other publications. Aside from geeking out over comic books, he bakes exquisite pies (especially blueberry) and drinks an array of whiskeys. Sometimes the glasses contain bugs. He currently lives in Denver.


David MacNeal

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