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What Is the State Insect of Massachusetts? History, Symbolism, & FAQ

two-spotted lady beetle

Like other American states, Massachusetts also has several designated state symbols. One of them is the state insect: the ladybug.

Besides Massachusetts, the ladybug is also the state insect in several other American states, including New York, Tennessee, Ohio, New Hampshire, and Delaware. It is one of the most beneficial insects in Massachusetts, hence its designation as the state insect.

Want to learn more about the state insect of Massachusetts? Keep reading!

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How Was the State Insect of Massachusetts Decided?

two-spotted lady beetle on a leaf
Image By: laksena, Shutterstock

The ladybug became the official state insect of Massachusetts in 1974¹. It was decided through a campaign that started in the town of Franklin by a second-grade class at Kennedy Schools. Palma Johnson was their teacher.

She told the pupils about the several symbols representing the state, such as:

  • State Bird: Black-Capped Chickadee
  • State Fish: Cod
  • State Tree: American elm

It was then that one of the pupils inquired if there was a state bug, and the teacher told them there was none. One of the pupils suggested a ladybug as it was prevalent in the state and was helpful to Massachusetts farmers.

The pupils discussed and decided to go with the suggestion. Usually, Massachusetts citizens were allowed to give their opinions on various subjects. So, Ms. Palma Johnson presented the suggestion to the Capitol Building in Boston.

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The Final Decision

The senator of Franklin signed the petition. That’s where the journey to make the state insect of Massachusetts official started. The petition was first signed to become a bill. During the process, the second-grade class started preparing ladybug costumes. They wanted to show Massachusetts citizens that they were determined to make the ladybug the state insect.

The House of Representatives in Massachusetts voted and forwarded the ladybug bill to the Senate for reading. The Senate was pleased with the bill and was eager to see it made into law.

After the Senate, it was sent to the Massachusetts governor to sign into law in 1974. This insect has been used as an official emblem for many years. Today, people use ladybugs to represent themselves, their businesses, or their interests. It is considered a lucky charm.

Point to Note: No particular ladybug species was designated as the state insect of Massachusetts. However, the most common ladybug species in Massachusetts is the Two-Spotted Lady Beetle¹.

Short History of the Ladybug

In the past, people believed in the Virgin Mary’s power. European farmers prayed to the Virgin Mary to help them deal with pests that attacked their crops. Ladybugs came, attacked, and ate these pests. They were thought to be Christian symbols.

These ladybugs were named after the Virgin Mary¹. The name “ladybug” comes from European farmers. Initially, they used to call them “Beetle of Our Lady.” But they shortened the name to “ladybug.” These days, there are around 5,000 ladybug species worldwide¹.

two-spotted lady beetle
Image By: laksena, Shutterstock

Other State Symbols in Massachusetts

Besides the state insect, there are other symbols representing the state’s history, culture, and economy.

  State Symbol Year Adopted
State Bird Black-Capped Chickadee 1941
State Capital Boston 1632
State Fish Cod 1974
State Flower Mayflower 1918
State Nickname The Bay State 1629
State Reptile Garter Snake 2007
State Tree American Elm Tree (Ulmus Americana) 1941
State Patriotic Song Massachusetts (Because of You, Our Land is Free) 1989
State Motto By the Sword, We Seek Peace, But Peace Only Under Liberty 1775
State Flag Flag of Massachusetts 1971

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There it is! The official state insect of Massachusetts is the ladybug. The ladybug is the little red bug known for eating aphids. You can spot it on flowers and in gardens across the entire state.

These tiny creatures are crucial to the balance of insect populations. Without them, many plants and seeds wouldn’t be able to sustain life.

Thanks to its popularity, the ladybug has earned the title of the state insect of Massachusetts. This insect is not only found in Massachusetts, but it’s popular worldwide.

Featured Image Credit: Ihor Hvozdetskyi, Shutterstock


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