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Creation 41(4):56, October 2019

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Hear bee, make nectar



Not only can plants ‘hear’, but they can rapidly respond to certain sounds, new research has shown.1

When a recording of the sound of a bee buzzing nearby was played back to evening primrose flowers, they began producing sweeter nectar. Within only three minutes from first sound exposure (i.e. the time researchers had to wait to collect the quantity of new nectar required for their measuring equipment to work), the concentration of sugar in the nectar increased by ~20% on average. Bees can discern concentration differences as small as 1–3%, so even allowing for old nectar diluting the newer product, it would still be a significant incentive for bees to more regularly visit flowers of that species—and to stay longer when they do, increasing the chances of pollination.

The researchers found that the sound of buzzing bees caused the flower to vibrate, whereas removal of most of the petals lessened flower vibration. This suggests a key role of the flower, particularly the petals, in directly receiving, or at least enhancing reception of, the bees’ sound. I.e. the flower functions like an ‘ear’, say the researchers.

The point of all this? As the researchers explain, producing high-grade nectar all the time would use a lot of the plant’s resources, and exposed nectar is subject to degradation by microbes. So “a mechanism for timing the production of enhanced reward [for the bees] to a time when pollinators are likely to be present could be highly beneficial for the plant.” Indeed so—a ‘win-win’ for both species.

Of course, the researchers attribute this to evolution. But describing an organism’s hitherto-unrealized feature and its usefulness is not the same thing as explaining its origin. Rather, who’d have ever thought of a flower being akin to an ‘ear’?! Answer: The One the Bible says made the flowers and the bees, and everything else in this mind-bogglingly complex creation that continues to surprise and delight.

References and notes

  1. Veits, M. and 16 others, Plants hear: Evening primrose flowers rapidly respond to the sound of a flying bee by producing sweeter nectar, bioRxiv.org, 28 Dec 2018. Return to text.

Readers’ comments

John P.
Our God not only provides for our every need but also for the rest of His creation. This is a symbiotic relationship between the flower and the bee, they depend on each other and shout praise to their Creator. The researchers need likewise to give Him the glory. Evolution is indeed a nonscientific fairytale and not a very good one either.
Mark P.
Wow! How God amazes! So, here is a prediction: within the next year or two we’ll hear a practical use for this discovery. Some sort of speaker or sophisticated listening device will be invented and the scientists will credit the amazing flower mechanism that inspired their design and how wonderful the “evolutionary processes “ were that pointed them to the discovery.
John Z.
If it's not exactly hearing, what is it?
Spencer M.
What a beautiful example of intelligent design.
Our creator's handiwork is worthy of praise.
You are so wonderful, Lord!
Thank you for taking care of the bees and the flowers and us.
Donald J.
The atheist makes fun of Christians for saying "God did it" when their go to when they can't explain something is "evolution did it".
Brett C.
It was many years ago (when there was much less proof) that I came over from the sinking evolution ship to creationism's side. Because of amazing research like this, I am 'without excuse'. Keep up the great work!
John L.
That's what science should be all about: discovering the marvelous wonders of God's amazing creation!
Bill P.
Who is like The Lord, from everlasting to everlasting HE is GOD and there is no other. Even now I'm in AWE of what HE does even in a fallen world. (Yes Adam's sin brought sin and death into this world) but we've all have added more than our fair share to what he did.
I long to see the things that GOD has prepared for those who love HIM. Learning HIS Ways in eternity future will cause us to be in awe like a little child in a candy store. YET, I know Even this picture of a child in a candy store falls far short of what our reaction will be when we see HIM in HIS Glory w/our eyes and ALL HE has prepared for us. I can't wait to get started.
Peter H.
Another testimony to God's amazing design
Rodney P.
The more science discovers the marvels of "nature" ("creation" is a more exact word) the sillier and sillier evolution looks.
Norman P.
Scripture indicates the Creation is far more responsive than we realize. Imagine what it was like in Adam's day - and will be again, in the restored Creation. How great is our God!

Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good (Isaiah 7:14-15).
Yvonne R.
The perfection of GOD in all that HE has created has been a blessing to all who know HIM as LORD and SAVIOUR. Gaining the understanding and observing for ourselves the wonderment of HIS creation causing a puzzled interest that is pleasing and a joy. Thank you CMI - may GOD truly bless you for conveying to us the truth of this research by those who are secular. CMI is giving GOD the glory for many people to benefit by.
Heather S.
Wow. That's almost unbelievable - what an AMAZING God we have!
Sandra H.
Our Almighty God and Creator keeps on surprising us!!!!
Jeff K.
Amazing AND beautiful!
Philip P.
Amazing. Not that God doesn't amaze me all the time with His creation and responses to prayer.
Phil P

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