Honey Bees and Intelligent Design

The following is a fascinating excerpt from Grant R. Jeffrey’s Creation: Remarkable Evidence God’s Design about honey bees that leaves evidence of divine design. (Ch. 2 “The Wonders of God’s Creation”)

​The honeybee is an absolute wonder of God’s Creation. Bees construct their hive into a complex honeycomb structure using beeswax produced from their own bodies to house a colony of up to 75,000 insects. All honeycombs found in the hive and in all hives throughout the world are constructed to the same precise engineering specifications. The hexagonal structure of the honeycomb has intrigued scientists for a century because mathematicians have calculated that it is the best possible geometric structure to maximize storage. It is the most efficient storage structure possible and uses the least amount of beeswax in its construction because each cell utilizes the walls of surrounding cells.

The honeycomb is constructed with cells inclined precisely thirteen degrees on two sides to prevent the honey from escaping the mouth of the cell. One of the most astonishing aspects of a hive is that the tens of thousands of worker bees simultaneously begin construction of their hive from three different starting points and directions. The completed hive has thousands of individual cells that are precisely joined together with hundreds of separate angles, forming a perfectly engineered hexagonal comb structure that rivals anything produced by computers and human engineers. To have the final structure so perfectly engineered, the bees would have to know at the very beginning and throughout construction the precise distances between each starting point, and adjust the construction accordingly. However, it would take a computer to do the calculations. Engineers have wondered how the bees can possibly accomplish this marvel of construction. The only logical conclusion is that the tens of thousands of bees are receiving instructions from a single source—the Creator. 

The social organization of the bee colony involves different groups of bees following entirely different duties to serve the hive. One group of worker bees stays at the entrance and fans their wings to ventilate the hive and maintain the proper humidity and keep the temperature at precisely 95°F. If the hive temperature rises or lowers more than a few degrees, the precious honey will spoil and lose its nutritional qualities. Some worker bees are tasked with protecting the hive from contamination from harmful bacteria or other insects. As soon as the guardian bees detect a problem, they alert the rest of the hive to begin a mass attack on the intruder. If any intruder actually succeeds in getting into the hive and is too large to remove, the worker bees actually embalm the object with their very effective antibacterial bee resin (propolis) to protect the integrity of the colony. 

The bees collect flower nectar during the summer months and combine this with chemicals secreted from their body to produce honey, one of the most perfect foods on Earth. The bee marks the flower that it has visited with a small drop of scent that tells every other bee to ignore it, as the pollen is already consumed. This unusual action is very efficient because it saves other bees from wasting time on an empty flower. 

The bee locates pollen from flowers in an area up to half a mile from the hive. The bee that finds the flowers returns to the hive to let its fellow workers know precisely where they must fly to locate the food source. Incredibly, rather than lead the others back, the bee instructs the other bees where to find the pollen through the means of a very complex dance. Biologists have determined that the precise information regarding the direction, distance, and amount of pollen is conveyed to the other bees through a repeated zigzag dance following a figure-8 pattern. The precise line between the Sun’s position and the hive and the angle between the zigzags of the dancing bee provides the exact location of the food source. Other body movements include wagging its bottom and producing air currents through wing movements. For example, to communicate to the other bees that the pollen is located five hundred yards from the hive, the bee will wag the bottom of its body twenty times per minute. 

There is an apparent problem in providing precise orientation to the other bees in that, during the time taken by the bee to fly home to the hive, the Sun’s position keeps changing. Every four minutes the Sun moves one degree of longitude. However, the bee has remarkable eyes composed of hundreds of microscopic hexagonal lenses that focus on a narrow beam enabling the bee to identify the Sun’s position based on the time of day. As the minutes pass, the bee alters its precise dance to adjust its instructions to compensate for the Sun’s movement. Experiments that upset the bee’s time sense by altering its internal clock with artificial light changes proved that this also interfered with its ability to calculate the Sun’s correct position. Only the Creator could have formed such a masterpiece of engineering. 

God’s gift to mankind, honey, is one of the most complex foods produced in nature. The primary components of honey are sugars including fructose and glucose. It also contains vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and C, as well as minerals including calcium, sodium, chlorine, sulfur phosphate, magnesium, potassium, and iron. The products of the honeybee are remarkable in their nutritional and disease-fighting powers. It is well known that honey, bee resin, and royal jelly are all extremely helpful in the cure of many diseases. It is very unusual that the bees that use honey for a food source for the bee colony during the cold months of winter actually, produce a great abundance of honey, far beyond their own needs. Why? It appears that this overproduction is part of the Creator’s plan to provide a perfect food source for humanity. This phenomenon of over production beyond the species own needs is also seen in cows that produce amounts of milk far beyond that needed for its calves. We also see this in chickens, which daily lay eggs.

[Only for non-commercial​, educational purposes]

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