Bees–Highly Beneficial Insects

We recently highlighted a few statistics concerning insects. We stated that as many as 97% of the world’s insects are beneficial to humanity. This statistic does not begin to highlight the scope of insect roles. We may wish to consider the monetary or life-sustaining health benefits insect species provide. It would be difficult to quantify the benefit to humanity with a percentage figure.

Insects are near the base of many food chains. They are primary consumers; most insects feed on plants. Bees feed on and collect plant products. They produce honey and pollinate food crops. All individual food chains in an ecosystem constitute the food web. Because of the interrelationships of all living things on the planet, the benefits of insects, especially bees, may bespeak the virtual survival of the entire human race. A careful study of the interrelationships of living things within our planet’s many ecosystems reminds us of the wondrous complexity of the design features programmed by the Creator.

We recently reviewed a video dealing with the fascinating topic of bees. This video is a Moody science film produced in 1962 entitled City of the Bees. The idea of reinforcing science knowledge with the principles of theology was a relatively novel concept at the time. Moody Science films made substantive references to the instructions of God in the moral and physical spheres, especially in tandem with scientific knowledge.

There are about 20,000 species of bees on Earth. The City of the Bees video states bees are the most important insect in the world. Few would disagree. There is substantial diversity among bee species. Honeybees are social insects, but only about 9% of bee species are highly social. The term eusociality means “a high degree of sociality.” They exhibit (1) division of labor (a highly integrated labor force), (2) cooperative care of broods, and (3) generational overlap. They manifest some unique behavioral traits more typical of highly intelligent creatures such as man. One example is described below.

The City of the Bees video highlighted Karl von Frisch (1886-1982) who shared a Nobel prize for his specific studies in animal behavior (ethology). Von Frisch studied honeybee behavior such as their ability to direct fellow honeybees to a food source. Scout bees were filmed during their unique body “waggle” which directionally signaled hive members where to find food, as well as how far away the food was from their present hive location. The “waggle” dance of the worker bee was correctly interpreted by hive-mates—a skill almost as remarkable as the worker bees’ directional signaling. A polarized light compass is built into the hive-mates’ visual organs to aid in direction-finding.

Honeybees have ability to control their hive population in various ways. The video states that some of the honeybees’ instinctive behavioral patterns are somewhat ruthless. For example, the queen bee and workers are summarily disposed of when their role in the hive has been fulfilled. Instinctive responses are appropriate for the purposes of the immediate welfare of hive-mates, but it may not be appropriate in every case for humanity. Without them, the planet’s population may ultimately suffer disastrous famine. Humanity receives instruction and wisdom from natural phenomena, including the ruthlessness mentioned above.

The video explains that God has given the human race rules and behavioral guidelines such as the ten commandments and other scriptures. Along with divine “rules” provided in His Word, humanity has been gifted with free will. Humans may freely choose to obey or disobey God’s moral and behavioral mandates. Human free will is a priceless gift from God. In turn, we are gifted with salvation through Christ if we choose by our free will to believe in Him.

Moody Science Films were produced by the Moody Institute of Science. They were also termed Sermons From Science. We fondly recall visiting the 1964-65 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows NY where Moody Bible Institute and Sermons for Science had an attractive pavilion. For readers who are fascinated by the relationship of science and faith, here is a past post dealing with the science/faith link as it relates to Moody Science Films and Sermons From Science:

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