Bacterial Bodyguard


on October 1, 2012

The stinkbug’s survival ability shows that the Creator designed creatures’ DNA to survive stressful conditions.

Scientists were shocked to discover that some stinkbugs have developed resistance to insecticide, and these bugs have spread this advantage to virtually the entire population in a single generation.


© Melinda Fawver |


How is this possible? A bacterium helped. When soil was treated with the insecticide fenitrothion, the numbers of Burkholderia bacteria exploded because they could break down the insecticide. More than 90 percent of the stinkbugs that hatch and mature in this enriched soil harbor symbiotic (mutually beneficial) bacteria in their gut capable of breaking down the pesticide.

This study is significant for creationists for two reasons:

  1. The insecticide-eating bacteria did not evolve this ability; small numbers of Burkholderia in the population already possessed the ability to break down the pesticide. And their numbers increased during the application of insecticide.
  2. It shows how rapid biological change can occur within a single generation. This supports creationists’ belief that life and ecosystems refilled the earth quickly after the devastating Flood. Far from evidence of mindless evolution, this survival ability shows that the Creator designed creatures’ DNA so they could help one another survive stressful conditions.

Creationists have historically focused on genetics to explain post-Flood adaptation, but it is becoming apparent that God may have designed symbiotic relationships to allow bacteria to enable organisms to adapt to rapidly changing conditions after the Flood.

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