We really need to do all that we can to protect bees right now, for them and for us, and these dogs are doing their part to help as they can smell out bacteria that is a threat to the insects.
Bees are dying out worldwide and we need to protect them. Not only to prevent yet another species from becoming extinct, but bees are also more vital to our way of life than most people realize. In the US alone, bees are responsible for pollinating about a third of all the country's crops. In fact, if all of the bees were suddenly gone, our food supply would decrease so much so, that we would not have enough to feed the world's massive population.
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One of the biggest threats to bees is a bacteria called "foulbrood." It is harmless to humans but devastating to bees if it infects a hive.
But thankfully, the New York Times recently introduced the world to a woman and her dogs who are working tirelessly to track down outbreaks of foulbrood and thus save as many bees as possible. Cybil Preston is the woman in question and she has been training dogs to sniff out foulbrood in hives.
Preston told the NY Times that her Labrador retriever, Mack who has been sniffing out foulbrood for four years, can do twice as much work as four people working full time. That's because he doesn't need to look inside the hives and inspect them, he just needs to walk by and smell them. Over the course of the last fall and winter, Mack inspected an incredible 1700 hives.
Cybil is also in the process of training another dog, a springer spaniel named Tukka. Training has only just begun for Tukka and it involves him chasing toys that have been made to smell like foulbrood. That has started him on his journey to smelling it out in hives, which he should be able to do by the end of the year. This is very noble work being done by Cybil, Tukka, and Mack, and together they are helping to keep our bee populations from decreasing.