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"And thy Lord taught the Bee ..."
"And thy Lord taught the Bee to build its cells in hills, on trees, and in (men's) habitations; Then to eat of all the produce (of the earth), and find with skill the spacious paths of its Lord: there issues from within their bodies a drink of varying colours, wherein is healing for men: verily in this is a Sign for those who give thought. (An-Nahl (The Bee), 68-69)
It is generally known that honey is one of the fundamental nutriment sources for human body, whereas only few people are aware of the amazing specialties of its producer.
As known, food source of bees is nectar, which is not possible to be found during winter. Therefore, the bees blend the nectar with their some special secretions, and thus produce a new nutriment source, honey, of which they make a stock for the long winter season.
At this point what draws attention is that the bees stock honey much and much more than they actually require. Absolutely, the first question to appear is why do not the bees give up this "excessive production" since this is mere time and energy consumption for them. The answer to this question lies in the “revelation” received by the bee, as mentioned in the above mentioned Qur’an verse.
The bees produce honey not only for themselves, but also for men. Hence, similar to many creatures on earth the bees are also made ready as servant for men. Just like the chicken bearing eggs everyday although it does not require, or the cow producing milk more than the need of its offspring...
EXCELLENT ORGANIZATION WITHIN THE HIVE
Lives of bees in the hive and their honey production have really remarkable details. Not going so further, let us discover more about the primary attributes of "social life" of bees. There are numerous 'tasks' to be performed by bees, all of which are overcome with excellent organization.
Regulation of humidity and ventilation
Humidity of the hive, which gives honey its significant protective quality, must be kept within a certain limit all the time. Either this humidity level is above or under the limit, the honey will get spoiled loosing its protective and nutritious quality. Similarly, temperature in the hive has to be 32°C for 10 months. In order to preserve the temperature and humidity constantly within these exact limits, a special "ventilation group" is appointed for this important task.
During a hot summer day, it is easy to observe the bees ventilating the hive. The entrance of the hive is full of bees. By clamping on the wooden floor, they fan the hive using their wings. In a standard hive, air entering from one side is forced to leave from the other side. The extra ventilators in the hive also labor for scattering air all around.
The same ventilation system is used to safeguard the hive from smoke and air pollution.
The effort of the bees to preserve the quality of the honey is not limited with humidity regulation and air conditioning only. A wonderful health system takes place in the hive to prevent any kinds of events that may result in the origination of bacteria. The basic principle of this health system is to prevent foreign objects entering the hive. Because of this, there are always two guardians before the hive's entrance. If any foreign object or insect enters the hive despite this prevention, all bees get alert to keep it out from the hive.
For the bigger foreign objects that can not be carried outside, another prevention mechanism is started. Bees produce a substance called "propolis (bee resin)" for these kinds of situations. They formulate propolis gathering resin from trees like pine, poplar and acacia; then combining this with their some special secretions. The basic feature of propolis, is its capability of not sheltering any bacteria inside it. These sorts of substances are covered with 1.5 mm thick propolis, so isolated from the hive.
This same bee resin is used to patch the cracks of the hive. Resin reacts with the air and forms a hard surface after drying in a very short time.
It is clearly obvious to realize that this system which bees implement to safeguard their hive requires great conscience and intelligence. What’s more interesting is the resin fluid secreted by the bees for protection does not comprise any bacteria. Even if we assume that bees secrete this substance "consciously" to wrap up the foreign particles, still how would it be possible to provide an explaination for the question: ‘how do they add anti-bacterial quality to a fluid secreted by their body’. Have you -certainly more intelligent than the bee- possess the ability to give antibacterial quality to any secretions of your own body?
And that We have subjected them to their (use) of them some do carry them and some they eat: And they have (other) profits from them (besides), and they get (milk) to drink. Will they not then be grateful? (Ya-Seen, 72-73)