IN THE EARLY 1900s, Austrian naturalist Karl von Frisch discovered that bees pass on information by dancing.
To indicate a food source that is too distant from the hive to be smelled or seen, the scout bee dances on the honeycomb in the hive. Other bees gather around and follow the dancer. They imitate her movements (all dancing worker bees are female), and note the fragrance of the flowers from which she gathered the nectar.
If the food source is within about 50 meters (160 feet) of the hive, the bee does a circular dance on the honeycomb. If the new source of nectar or pollen is distant, the scout does a figure-eight dance. The distance at which the changeover takes place, from round dance to figure eight, varies between subspecies of bees. This does not cause confusion, because the distance is constant within each hive.
Another amazing fact about bees is that they have to keep the temperature of the nest between 32 and 36 degrees Celsius, otherwise the brood won't develop properly.
The scout bee's every movement has meaning for the other bees.
The direction and angle the dancing bee cuts across the diameter of the circle reveal the direction of the food. If she wiggles across the circle straight up, the watching bees know they can find the food by flying towards the sun. If the dancing bee cuts across the circle at an angle, the others know they must fly to the right or left of the sun at the same angle the dancer moved to the right or left of an imagined vertical line. The photo above shows the bee indicating the angle at about 45 degrees.
The dance of the figure eight is also used when bees are selecting a new homesite. Any worker bee who finds a potential site returns to the others and tells them where her favored site is by doing the “figure eight” dance on the surface of the cluster of bees.
Try to imagine this system evolving. Suppose that one day an enterprising bee manages to invent the dance. What if the sun goes down before the other bees understand? Even more important, if this process evolved gradually over a long time, how would all the bee ancestors have survived while this system of communication was evolving?
And what about the temperature in the nest? If it is not precisely between 32 and 36 degrees Celsius the brood won't develop properly. If the temperature falls too low, the workers huddle together to keep the brood warm. If it rises too high, they use their wings at the nest entrance to fan out hot air. How would this system evolve? If they didn't get the temperature right in the very first bee hive they wouldn't even get started.
Among the wonders of God's creation, the honeybee provides startling evidence of intelligent design and purpose. The precisely coordinated language and temperature-creating abilities used for the bee's survival has too many vital and independent parts for such a system to have evolved.
We are forced by logic and common sense to conclude that the whole process was implanted in bees at the time of their creation. Like the bees, the dance did not, and could not, evolve.
Bee on magenta flower photo by Alan L from Keaau, Hawaii, is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License.
Waggle dance photo is from an article by Lars Chittka, Dances as Windows into Insect Perception, figure design by J. Tautz and M. Kleinhenz. It is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License
Returning from a three-week vacation, Vincent and Trish Caminiti of Bayport, New York, found a colony of 20,000 bees had set up house in the walls of their home. Beekeepers were called to evict the bees and they found about four pounds of honey and 10,000 baby bees in the walls. Neighbors told the Caminitis that the bees arrived in a thick black swarm that buzzed so loud that some people thought it was an aircraft. The swarm entered the house one at a time through a tiny half-inch hole in one wall of the house.