Amazing Designs

Discover
| |

Would you like to see something really neat? Then check out a honeybee’s knees. Actually, each whole leg is neat, perfectly designed for the honeybee.

Beware! Bees often object sharply to being handled. Maybe you should read this first to know what you’re looking for. Then you can observe from a safe distance.

Both front legs have branched feathery hairs to help the bee collect pollen from flowers. The front knees have notches lined with “teeth.” These are antennae cleaners.

The middle legs have stiff hairs to help brush pollen from the bee’s hairy body. The middle knees have sharp spurs to scrape wax from the bee’s wax glands.

The tops of the back legs form shallow baskets to carry pollen. Stiff hairs grow over these baskets to keep the pollen in them.

You can easily see a honeybee’s pollen baskets if you find the bee at work. Stand back and watch it for a while. You’ll notice yellow clumps on the back legs—that’s pollen in the baskets. Keep watching. You’ll see the bee collect pollen, pack it, and maybe even clean its antennae with its knees. The bee’s knees are definitely a neat design.

There are lots of neat designs in creation. You simply need to know where to look. How can such neat designs happen? Certainly, there’s a Great Designer behind it all.

How many are ____________ works, O ____________ ! In wisdom ____________ made them all. The earth is full of ____________ creatures. Psalm 104:24

Caterpillar Soup

Here’s a design-in-action you’ll probably never see. But it’s neat to know about, and you can see the “before” and “after” models of the creature involved.

The “before” model is a caterpillar—a fat-bodied, wingless, wormlike chewing machine. The “after” model is a butterfly or moth—a delicate, nectar-sipping bit of flying beauty. The change from one to the other happens in a cocoon or a chrysalis.

First, the caterpillar’s body melts into a liquid. Nothing but caterpillar soup fills the cocoon. Then a few cells in the soup begin to move. Gradually they find each other and group together. Then different groups of cells move to different places. The groups of cells work together—some form wings, others form legs, and so on. Finally, in some way that no one can explain, they all knit themselves together to form a brand new creature.

Scientists don’t understand exactly how this works. They say only that instructions for the new creature are programmed into the caterpillar. Who, do you suppose, programs the caterpillar?

Fun Facts

The six-sided cell found in the honeycomb is called Nature’s Perfect Design. It is stronger and holds more honey than does a four-sided cell. Bees make those six  sided cells by instinct.

Sunflowers have the same intricate design and blooming habit as daisies.

Tiny scales cover butterfly wings. More than 125,000 scales fit into a one-inch (2.5 centimeter) square.

More than 1,500 different kinds of insects in North America make galls (see below). More than 800 kinds of those insects make their galls on oak trees.

A Daisy’s Design

Want to see another really neat design? Find a daisy in bloom.

Now imagine a bee in a field of daisies, collecting pollen. It’s covered with pollen. It lands on your daisy to collect more.

Look closely at your daisy. See the pollen in a circle near the flower’s center? The bee wants that. Can you see an outer circle of sticky little bumps that don’t have pollen? That’s where the flower makes its seeds.

This daisy needs pollen from another daisy to make strong seeds. As the bee walks toward the pollen ring, it brushes that sticky outer ring. Pollen from its body sticks to that ring. Now the daisy can make strong seeds.

The bee continues to the pollen ring and collects pollen. Now it has what it needs.

What Gall!

Have you ever seen strange lumps on stems of flowers like goldenrod? Or bumps or knobs on tree leaves? Those aren’t just bumps and lumps. They’re called galls.

An insect lays an egg inside a leaf, stem, or twig. The plant then grows a bump called a gall around the egg. The egg, protected by the gall, hatches an insect inside. The insect then uses the gall as food. Finally, it eats its way out of the gall and completes life outside.

Gall making is not random; it’s designed. Certain insects need certain plants for galls. An oak gall wasp can’t live in a goldenrod plant. Certain plants “recognize” and grow galls around certain insect eggs only. Different plants recognize different insects.

Scientists know, from a gall’s shape and host plant, what insect lives there. But they can’t explain how plants and insects recognize each other. Only the Designer knows that.

Your turn: Collect a few galls. Put them in jars covered with mesh to see what insect comes out. Or cut them open carefully to see what’s inside.

Point to Ponder

Read Romans 1:20. Rewrite it in your own words in the space below:

About the Author

Joanne De Jonge is a freelance writer and a former U.S. National Park Ranger. She attends West Valley Christian Fellowship in Phoenix, Ariz.
X