What Is the State Insect of Arkansas? How Was It Decided?
Many people find the idea of insects to be unpleasant or creepy, but when you really think about it, there are tons of beautiful, beneficial, and interesting insects in the state of Arkansas.
With over 1,000 species of insects in the state, it’s difficult to narrow it down to the insects that are most beneficial. However, Arkansas has a state insect that speaks to its importance within the state.
What Is the State Insect of Arkansas?
The state insect of Arkansas is the humble and helpful honeybee. It was on February 1, 1973, that the honeybee was selected by the Arkansas General Assembly. While there are lots of beneficial bugs in the state, it was an easy decision to select the honeybee as the top insect in the big scheme of the state.
The state insect of Arkansas shouldn’t be confused with the state butterfly, which is a separate category. The state butterfly in Arkansas is the Diana Fritillary butterfly, which is a large butterfly that frequents Mount Magazine State Park.
Why Was the Honeybee Selected?
Arkansas isn’t the only state to select the honeybee as its state insect. There are 15 states that have selected the honeybee as the insect emblem of their state. Honeybees are beautiful, graceful insects to see, and watching them slip in and out of flowers with pollen stuck to them can be fun.
The honeybee is important to Arkansas for a couple of reasons. The first is that Arkansas is a large producer of honey, which wouldn’t happen without the honeybee. The state of Arkansas produces millions of pounds of honey annually, ranking as the eighth producer of honey in the United States in 2001.
It’s estimated that one-third of the crops in the state of Arkansas are dependent on pollinators to help them produce, and the honeybee is a prolific pollinator, along with butterflies, other bees, and a multitude of other insects.
While less important to the overall well-being of the state, honeybees are also great for beeswax production. Beeswax is used for lots of things, from lip balm to wood protectants. Many small businesses in Arkansas make a living off of the honey and beeswax produced by honeybees.
The state symbols of any state are an important way for a state to recognize the things that are most important to it. When it comes to insects, there are none more important in Arkansas than the honeybee. These busy critters help to pollinate a huge portion of the crops in the state, and with agriculture being Arkansas’s biggest industry, this is of the utmost importance to the state.
Honeybees also produce honey and beeswax, which are products that can be used for multiple purposes. Many small businesses sell these products as a means of supporting themselves.
As more and more people have begun beekeeping as a hobby, the honeybee has become even more important to the state. The state of Arkansas is always happy to celebrate the honeybee.
Featured Image Credit: Rarrarorro, Shutterstock