The Beautiful Breathing Bee



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.

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