And God Created …

Death By Bee Baking

David Everson

Among the world of insects, there are many unique methods of defense created by God. Many of those defense systems are simple and straightforward. Others are complex and very elaborate. Among those insects that have a very complex and well-designed defense system is the Japanese Honeybee.

The Japanese Honeybee is very similar to our common honeybees. It is a very active insect with a very complex social behavior and has some amazing abilities that God has designed into it. However, one way that this honeybee is very different is in how it defends itself from one of its most potent predators, the Giant Japanese Hornet. To understand how the honeybee protects itself from the hornet, we need to look into how the hornet lives.

The giant hornet is a large, vicious predator. It is about 3 times the size of a honeybee and up to 20 times the weight. The hornets eat insects. The most normal prey for the hornet is slow moving insects such as the gold beetle and large caterpillars, but, as these food sources run out at the end of the year and as the hornets need to reach maximum size to survive winter, they turn to other less vulnerable food sources, such as the honeybee. As the hornets begin to send out scouts to locate food sources, they need to leave markers where the hive can find the food, since they do not have the waggle dance as the honeybee does. When a scout finds a hive of honeybees, it will mark the hive with a very strong chemical called a pheromone. This chemical will then serve as the signal beacon for the remainder of the hornets to allow them to raid the beehive. However, the honeybees do not take being targeted for death lying down because they also can smell the pheromone. Let us look at how. 

Since a single hornet can kill up to 40 bees a minute with its powerful jaws, a group of 20 hornets can wipe out an entire colony of 30,000 bees in about three hours. Therefore, the bees take it very seriously and get everything ready to fight off the danger.

When the pheromone is detected, the honeybees send out about 100 guards to get ready for the attack to come. As the hornets approach, the guards rush back into the hive. The hornets then rush inward where they find an entire hive of thousands of worker bees lying in ambush. The workers then swarm the hornets with up to 500 bees to each hornet producing a dense ball. Since their stings have no effect on the hornets, another plan must be available, and God has given them one. When the bees have surrounded the hornet, the bees begin to vibrate their wing muscles inside their thoraxes. This in turn raises their body temperature. This extra body heat causes the temperature inside the hornet covered bee ball to rise to 116 degrees. This does not hurt the honeybees as they can withstand temperatures up to 122 degrees, but a hornet can tolerate only 114 degrees. Therefore, after baking for fifteen minutes in the bee-covered ball, the hornet dies. If the bees (which do not eat hornets) succeed in killing the first “recruiter” hornets, they stave off a swarming attack. If they fail, the bees abandon their nest and stream off into a new one.

Evolutionists who examine this defensive ability call it “an excellent example of prey-predator co-evolution.” Biologist Masato Ono of Tokyo says, “This predaceous pressure has led to the evolution of an effective defensive strategy in the Japanese honeybee.”

These scientists accept that by some, yet unexplained, amazing mechanism called natural selection, it is possible for such a complex defensive strategy to come about. The twisted convolutions and pure blind luck in which they must believe, is immense. How much simpler and more logical is the belief that an all powerful God created these abilities instantly when He spoke them into existence. Let us never doubt His power and majesty. –Rt. 1 Box 116A, Belington, WV 26250.

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