Bees provide 1 out of 3 bites of food on our plates because of the work they do. They take care of us—now it's our turn to take care of them. And take care we must—bees are dying off at an alarming rate. Think pandemic. But everyday folks like you can help. I'm trying to with the Save the Bees Fund that I just launched (above). How can you help? Start with my 3 No Fail Ways Even YOU Can Save the Bees. Let's do this!—Zeke
Yes, bees breathe. But not with lungs, or through nostrils, or even through gills. Rather, bees breathe through a complex structure of tracheae and air sacs.
Oxygen is vacuumed into the body through openings on each segment of their bodies. They pull air in, then close their outermost vents and force the air into little tubules that get smaller and smaller until they reach the cells they need to.
What is the most common way bees suffocate? Humans—and our use of pesticides. The reason for this is that bees cannot breathe when they are coated with most of the chemicals we use in our flower beds and gardens because they close off the vents crucial to the way oxygen is brought into their bodies.—N.B.
For the last several years scientists have fretted over the future of bees, and although research has shed much light on the crisis, those in the bee business—from hive keepers to commercial farmers—say the insects remain in deep trouble as their colonies continue to struggle. More >