Sometimes we can be surprised by the comments of an author when reading a book. I am currently reading a book first published in 1878 concerning the inner workings of a honeybee hive. The author, L.L. Langstroth, was one of the first individuals to propose using what is today the 'frame and box' method of housing honey bees; a movable comb hive, if you will.

In the book much discussion is presented about the impregnation of the queen and the ratio of drone to worker bee eggs that are deposited into the cells. According to Langstroth and his German apiarian counterparts it was, at the time of the book's writing, believed that only a queen who was mated by a drone outside the hive would produce female worker bee eggs. Those queens who were not impregnated could only put forth drone eggs. This does not make sense, or is a mystery as Langstroth suggested, since it is commonly understood that an egg is not viable if not fertilized by spermatozoa.

Quoting Langstroth:

"However improbable it may appear that an unimpregnated egg can give birth to a living being, or that sex can depend on impregnation, we are not at liberty to reject facts because we cannot comprehend the reasons of them. He who allows himself to be guilty of such folly, if he aims to be consistent, must eventually be plunged into the dreary gulf of atheism. Common sense, philosophy, and religion alike teach us to receive, with becoming reverence, all undoubted facts, whether in the natural or spiritual world; assured that however mysterious they may appear to us, they are beautifully consistent in the sight of Him whose "understanding is infinite."

I knew he was a Protestant minister before starting the read but this commentary caught me a little off guard. He seems to have made the common theistic mistake of associating that which we do not currently understand to the "ways of the Lord."  I obviously do not agree with his "dreary gulf of atheism" assessment. Despite his comments the book has proved to be a wonderful revelation to the inner workings of the humble honey bee!

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