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Ants and Their Livestock

Exodus 4:11,12
So the Lord said to him, ‘Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord? Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.’”

Honeydew is one of the favorite foods of ants. There are a number of insects, including thorn bugs and aphids, who consume so much honeydew that they cannot digest it all. These insects are designed so that ants can milk them for the excess honeydew, just the way a farmer obtains milk from a cow.

Many species of ants will milk the honeydew-collecting insect by stroking its abdomen with its antennae. The tree hopper actually slows its secretion of excess honeydew to the milking ant so that the ant may drink his honeydew “fresh from the cow” so to speak.

Some ants construct clay pens and shelters in which they enclose certain species of aphids, just as a farmer keeps his herd. Like the farmer, the ants move the aphids to better honeydew feeding sites when necessary. They also care for the aphid eggs during the winter.

Herding ants are even better able to protect a young tree hopper than its parents. It is not unusual for a tree hopper parent to turn her young over to herding ants because they can do more for the young insect than she can.

Such complex relationships between creatures points to a God who is both Creator and Teacher—even to insects!

Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, as a good father, You try to teach me. I confess that I have been slow to learn and sometimes stubborn about learning. Forgive me for Jesus’ sake and grant me Your Holy Spirit so that I may learn more from Your Word. Amen.

Author: Paul A. Bartz

REF.: Thorn bug. Science Digest, Jan., 1985. p. 81. Photo: Ants and Aphids by Agrinberg – CC 2.0

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