Do you know who makes the honey on your breakfast table?
You will probably reply, "yes!" We all know that bees make honey. However, do you know just how much these bees work to make the honey from the moment they are born until the moment they die, or just how giving and intelligent they are? Come on; let's study together how Allah has created the bees…
In a beehive, there is one queen, a few hundred male bees and a workforce of thousands of infertile female bees, the worker bees. (The total number of bees in the beehive can reach 80,000). The worker bees perform all the activities inside the hive. Some duties of the worker bees are as follows:
Building the honeycomb, cleaning and protecting the hive, feeding the queen bee and the male bees, caring for the bee larvae, and feeding them with the royal jelly, honey and pollen, building cells for the eggs to grow in, cleaning these rooms, maintaining the heat and moisture inside the hive, collecting nectar, pollen, water and resin, etc.
Now, let's take a look together at what type of life the worker bee leads.
A worker bee lives between 4 to 6 weeks. For 3 weeks after its birth it lives inside the hive. Its first job is to take care of the growing bees. It feeds the baby bees with the honey and pollen it takes from storage.
When the worker bee becomes 12 days old, suddenly, beeswax starts to be produced in its body. The beeswax is extremely important for bees, because the bees build their honeycombs with beeswax. You will see the picture of a honeycomb.
Isn't it neat? Could you have made such neat hexagons side by side without a ruler? Furthermore, take a blank piece of paper and start to draw hexagons from one end of the paper while a friend starts to draw from the other. Were you able to come up with a neat honeycomb shape, right in the middle of the paper, without leaving any spaces? You weren't able to, right? This is something that even adults are unable to manage. Your teachers, parents, even your grandparents would not be able to achieve such a task. To be able to do this, you would need some instruments and you would have to do very complicated calculations. However, the tiny bee, even when it is just 12 days old, can make such a perfect honeycomb. What's more, it does this without using any instruments.
All the bees start making hexagonal honeycombs from the corners, and meet in the middle. You might have noticed that the honeycombs are the same height. How can a bee manage such tasks that even humans are not able to carry out and with such excellence? You see Allah is the One Who lets the bee do these things. Allah has created the bee with this talent.
The responsibilities of the worker bee are not just these. Among its duties, until it is 3 weeks old, are storing royal jelly and pollen in the honeycombs, keeping the beehive clean and throwing dead bees and garbage outside the beehive. During the last stage of its 3-week duty, it starts its last task of serving as a security guard and protecting the beehive from enemies. When the three weeks are over, the bee becomes skilled enough to collect royal jelly, pollen and water.
The worker bee becomes exhausted after working non-stop for another 2 to 3 weeks and dies.
During their brief lives, the bees work non-stop. In addition, no one teaches them the work that they are supposed to do. They start to work straight after birth. Just think, if a new-born baby were to get out of its bed, first make its bed, wash up, and then begin to take care of the other babies; wash them, feed them, dress them. Isn't this just impossible? Yet, bees manage such an impossible task, because Allah has created them with the capabilities to do so.
Honey Bees that Dance
Did anyone ever tell you that bees have a dance? Some bees look for a food source outside the beehive. After flying about all day long, they find their own source and take with them as much royal jelly as they can, and then they return to their hive. There is still a lot more royal jelly left at the source but the bee cannot collect it all without the help of the other bees. The scout bee keeps the location of the food source in mind and quickly returns to the hive to gather its friends. It starts to make moves that resemble the number 8 on the honeycomb. The numbers of times the bee turns or shakes its abdomen are signals that indicate the distance of the food source from the hive. By the end of the dance, the other bees have understood the location of the food source and they quickly leave for the flowers that are their new food source.
Where do you think tiny bees have learnt how to communicate by dancing? Of course, the One Who has given them this knowledge is their Creator and Protector, Allah.
Did You Know that Bees Make Honey for Us as Well?
Bees can produce much more honey than they need. As you know, bees make honey in their abdomens. Their tiny bodies make enough honey for themselves as well as for people.
But why are the bees so giving? Why don't they just make honey for themselves rather than thinking of our needs as well? Honey is very nutritious for people. This is the reason why Allah has created bees with the ability to make honey and has ordered them to make it in great quantities. Allah says in a verse in the Qur'an:
Your Lord revealed to the bees: "Build dwellings in the mountains and the trees, and also in the structures which men erect. Then eat from every kind of fruit and travel the paths of your Lord, which have been made easy for you to follow." From inside them comes a drink of varying colours, containing healing for mankind. There is certainly a Sign in that for people who reflect. (Surat an-Nahl: 68-69)