A Natural Defense

by Jeffrey W. Hamilton

LA Times

I found yet another interesting article in the paper today. Bed bugs have been making a comeback and scientists are looking for solutions that don't involve chemicals. A traditional defense against bed bugs in eastern Europe is to spread kidney bean leaves on the floor and to the scientists' surprise, the leaves are very effective. Kidney bean "leaves possess a natural defense against hungry insects predators, stopping leaf-eaters in their tracks. The leaves sport tiny, sharp-hooked hairs called trichomes across their surface. These microscopic hooks ... jab into insects' bodies, trapping them before they get very far. Even those that break free are often trapped again after a few steps." Kidney bean leaves can trap bed bugs within nine steps across their surface.

More interesting were the attempts by the scientists to duplicate what kidney bean leaves do. They tried to create their own hooked surface, which failed, and even tried to put natural hooks into an artificial surface and that also failed. "'So that tells us there's something very cool and subtle going on mechanically in these tiny microscopic hairs,' Loudon said."

Even when man tries to duplicate the design of an existing structure, he finds that there is more there than at first appears. Yet, how many stop to give praise to the Creator of the original design? Instead, some insist that such subtle complexity is just a result of a chain of accidents that had no purpose. Which is more reasonable -- a Creator of infinite wisdom or happenchance? "I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well" (Psalms 139:14).

-- Quotes from The Los Angeles Times, "Kidney bean leaves are a natural deathtrap for bedbugs," published in the Omaha World-Herald, 15 April 2013, page 6A.

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