I love hearing stories of things that nature can do or that nature produces that humans have not been able to successfully replicate. Earlier in the year I mentioned honey, and how honey is perfect in its natural form and cannot be created artificially. I came across another interesting example today: shellac. Shellac is a hard, resinous secretion from the Indian lac beetle. These beetles emerge in swarms in parts of India at certain time of the year. Their secretions make a varnish that is odourless, non-toxic, brilliantly shiny and highly resistant to scratches and fading. It doesn’t attract dust while wet and dries in minutes. Not only have scientist not been able to recreate it in the labs, but there are no synthetic products that can compete with it.

And incase you’re wondering, shellac is used in bowling allies so next time you are bowling, take a moment to admire the shiny floor.