Six-Legged Law and Order
Like human society, many social insects have laws, lawbreakers and law enforcement. Researchers have now established that at least 15 species employ law enforcement.
While these insects rely on a queen as the only egg-layer of the colony, the workers are also capable of laying eggs that can hatch. One of the most common crimes in these nests is “rogue egg-laying” in which one of the workers tries to sneak some of her eggs in among the eggs laid by the queen. This is strictly forbidden. The other workers – or even the queen herself – will enforce nest law that requires the death of the offender. Then, the offender’s eggs are searched out and destroyed when found. In one experiment, researchers planted worker-laid eggs in a honeybee nest. Within 24 hours, workers had found and destroyed all but 1 percent of the eggs that had not been laid by their queen. Another researcher offered nursemaid ants a mixture of eggs, some from their queen and others laid by the workers. The nursemaids quickly stacked most of the queen-laid eggs and began to care for them. However, when they discovered a worker’s egg, the nursemaids would typically pass the egg around among themselves and then finally crush it.
Law and order is a gift of God to both man and animals for which we owe God thanksgiving.