Gospel Gazette Online
Vol. 15 No. 2 February 2013
Page 11

God and the Honeybee

Roy J. Hearn (deceased)

Foy J. HearnIn the study of every species of every kind in the world, from the one-celled amoeba to the most complex creature on earth – man, thousands of thousands, every part of every creature, whether an eye or leg, or other part, from the smallest to the greatest demonstrates design or purpose, which demands a designer, which demands intelligence, leads us always back to God. In this brief article let us consider:

The Honeybee

This insect has been called the “Masterpiece of Creation.” A colony or hive may number from 10,000 to 70,000 or more. Each hive has three types – the queen, drones (males) and underdeveloped females, which are the workers. The purpose of the queen is not to rule the hive, but to produce young bees. She is the only fully developed female bee in the hive. In her lifetime, she may lay as many as one million eggs. She may lay as many as 1,500 a day in summer to replace dead bees and enlarge the colony. The eggs hatch within three days. She lays unfertilized eggs in certain cells and fertilized eggs in others, the former to produce males and the latter females. After mating, the queen carries the male sperm in her body. If a female bee is desired, the queen presses the sac and fertilizes the egg to be deposited in a certain cell. If a male is desired she does not press the sac to fertilize the egg and deposits it in an entirely different cell. How does the queen know which and how many of each to produce? Does she use a computer?

The anatomy of the bee positively demands design. It has sharp tips on its feet to enable it to crawl on any rough surface, and also between its toes has suction pads that enable it to walk on slick surfaces like glass. It has two multiple eyes, or compounds of small eyes, and besides has two rod-like projections on the head which serve as sense organs and smell. Each projection has countless sense receptors by which the bee receives sensory stimuli, and serves as organs for touch or smell. Bees don’t get lost from their hives. It is guided by “the polarity of light.” These eyes also serve as a compass, and as the earth turns, and the rays of sunlight strike at different angles, the bee, by use of its intricate eyes can glance at any part of the sky in daytime, interpret the angle of the sun’s rays and immediately calculate the position of the sun, the time of day and its own position relative to where the bee is gathering nectar and the location of its hive. (Many people can’t find their way home with a compass.)

The wings of bees are most amazing. Even they defy the evolutionist. They are amazingly efficient and powerful. They outdo a helicopter any day. Their wings move at the rate of 75 beats per second, and the bee can move up or down, forward, sideways or can hover like a hummingbird. It may be amazing that the bee can carry its own weight with such seemingly small wings. In order to carry a load of pollen, it seems like it would need much larger wings, but that would be a great hindrance. It could not get into the small entrances of many blossoms, and neither could it enter the small, six-sided cell to do its work in the hive. So, there must be a Great Engineer to design useful wings. Thus the bee has two sets of wings, the larger in front of the smaller on each side of the bee (naturally). When the bee flies these two wings on each side are hooked together. The larger front wing has on its rear an edge which contains twenty microscopic hooks that are engaged to the smaller rear wing to give it the effect of one large wing when in flight. However, when the bee reaches the hive (or the small flower blossom) it disengages the two wings and folds them together as one, thereby becoming small enough to make its entrance to cell or flower. Now, we are made to wonder if the first bee sat down at the drawing board and designed such wings. Or, did the Creator do it for the bee?

Talk about “busy as a bee.” Each bee must fly to a thousand blossoms to gather a stomach full of honey-making material. It is said that it takes fifty stomachs full to fill a thimble with honey, therefore, fifty thousand flowers must be contacted to get a thimbleful of honey. (How many humans would like to be a honeybee? There would surely be no honey!) Also, very amazing it is that in gathering nectar to make honey, the bees of the same hive go to the same kind of plant and blossom to get their materials. They don’t mix it. If today the bees are making white clover honey, they all go to a field of clover, not to an apple tree. If they are making honey from the blossom of soybeans, all of them go to a soybean field, not to a peach orchard. The queen does not tell them what to do, so how do they know?

It is estimated that there are six million to ten million species of insects in the world, according to the United States National Museum and others. Of these millions, the honeybee is perhaps the most interesting.

The Bee’s Chemical Factory

From the materials gathered in plant blossoms the honeybee manufactures a variety of products necessary to construction of cells and food for the existence of the hive. Among such are royal jelly, wax, bee glue and honey. The honey contains enzymes, gums, iodine, dextrose, copper, iron, zinc, calcium and other substances. Some hold the opinion that honey is the most perfect of foods, even for human consumption, and has a number of health benefits. Honey is mentioned fifty-three times in the Bible, and honeycomb nine times, and it was widely used by humans.

Unusual Use of the Products

The queen lays eggs in proper compartments, depending on the need for males or females. When the eggs hatch and reach larva stage, the nurse bees feed the little “worm” with royal jelly they manufacture in special glands. This jelly is made from pre-chewed and pre-digested pollen and honey. Then, one of the most amazing things takes place. In order to produce worker bees, this feeding is stopped at exactly a certain time, and then it is fed with a different mixture of honey and pollen dust in proper proportions. If more queens are needed, the royal jelly is fed to a certain number of larva for a longer period time, exactly right, to produce the queens. How the nurse bees know how much and how long to feed, and how this difference in feeding produces two levels of bees is not known. If God did not so endow these bees with such wisdom, how does the unintelligent bee know? Too, unless the different processes worked the first time, there would be no bees now.

The Miracle of Pollination

Of course, the process is not a real miracle, except as humans view such phenomena, which accordingly to natural law, was given miraculously by the God of heaven in the original creation. As mentioned previously, the bee does not collect nectar from different kinds of species of plants the same trip, but confines its work on a certain kind of blossom, as white clover, or soybean but never both at the same time. One reason is that the pollen the bee caries from flower to flower will not fertilize those of a different genus or types. In other words, pollen from a peach tree will not pollinate the blossom of the apple tree.

Amazingly, neither the bee nor the blossom knows what the other is doing. Without the process of pollination by bees, there would be little or no fruit of any kind; therefore, many crops could not be grown. Man, with all his great accomplishments in technology is not as smart as the unintelligent honeybee and other helpful insects, for with his insecticides and pesticides mankind is killing out these creatures of God that are necessary to human life. Even the lowly earthworm, which is of such tremendous value to the soil, is being eradicated. The apostle Paul’s statement, “Let us become fools that we may be wise,” may apply in nature as well as Bible doctrine.

As the bee moves from plant to plant to get nectar, unknowingly it collects pollen over its specially constructed body for that purpose. When the bee moves to another blossom (always the same kind), the pollen on its body rubs off in that flower, so that it is fertilized; and thus the process continues from plant to plant. It has been estimated that the value of products made from insect-pollinated plants is nearly five billion dollars annually, and that 80% is credited to the honeybee. For lack of space a description of the honeybee’s specially constructed legs for the collection of pollen and nectar is omitted here, but construction and operation of the legs demand design.

Engineering Skill of Bees

Beehives are constructed of hexagonal (six-sided) cells, made of beeswax. Newly hatched bees are nearly gluttonous and stuff themselves with honey. After a couple of days, a white material is formed, which they chew and mix with a liquid and thereby produce wax. The temperature must be over 140 degrees to melt it, so it guarantees that heat from the bees will not melt it. The cells being hexagonal instead of round, with the flat sides joined together, are much stronger, requires less material to form them, thereby saving honey. Many years ago, this writer read that engineers learned from the cell of the honeybee how to construct a continuous truss bridge, such as spans the Mississippi River at Memphis. The bee did it thousands of years before man learned. Wonder who taught the bee? God knows.

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