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What Is the State Insect of North Dakota? How Was It Decided?

Closeup photo of ladybug on leaf

It can be a great fun learning the different symbols of each state, like the state bird or the state flower. Some have been in service for more than 50 years, while others are relatively new. One example is the relatively modern addition of the North Dakota state insect, the ladybug. Keep reading as we explain why it was chosen and when it was finally made it official.

garden flower divider

When Did the Ladybug Become the State Insect of North Dakota?

The ladybug officially became the North Dakota state insect on March 15, 2011, when the governor signed it into law with House Bill 1219. According to certain sources, students studying ladybugs learned that 42 other states had declared a state insect, but North Dakota hadn’t. After researching the ladybug, they initiated legislation that eventually led to the ladybug becoming the state’s official insect. Students even testified before the House and Senate political subdivision committees to support the legislation.

Image By: Myriams-Fotos, Pixabay

Do Any Other States Have the Ladybug as the State Insect?

Yes. Six states, including North Dakota, consider the ladybug its state insect. The other five states are New York, Ohio, Tennessee, Chicago, and Massachusetts.

What Is the Ladybug?

Most people call the ladybug a “convergent lady beetle” outside the U.S., which is a more accurate name because it is a type of small beetle and not a true bug. You can easily identify the most common variety due to its round, dome-shaped body, red wings, and small black spots. The head is only partially visible, and it has small antenna. We usually start to see these insects once the temperature gets above 49 degrees Fahrenheit, as they prefer to hibernate through the cold weather. They reproduce quickly, and a single female can lay more than 1,000 eggs.

ladybug on sunflower
Image By: yimphoto, Shutterstock

Is the Ladybug a Pest?

No. Despite its fast reproduction, the ladybug is a good choice for the state insect because it’s quite helpful. Its diet consists primarily of aphids, small plant-eating insects that can quickly destroy a garden or even a farmer’s entire crop. A single ladybug can eat more than 50 aphids daily and more than 5,000 in its lifetime. Ladybugs also lay their eggs near aphids, and the larvae will consume them as soon as they hatch.

Ladybug in leaf
Image Credit: xanatos1000, Pixabay

Interesting Facts about the Ladybug

  • While there are several hundred species of ladybugs in North America and several thousand worldwide, they all have short legs, which separates them from other beetles.
  • Ladybugs chew their food side to side, while humans chew using an up-and-down motion.
  • If a ladybug gets scared or feels in danger, it will excrete a yellow liquid that many predators find repulsive.
spotted ladybugs on plant
Image Credit: sunakri, Shutterstock

What Other State Symbols Does North Dakota Have?

  • The state beverage of North Dakota is milk, which recognizes the importance of the state’s dairy industry.
  • The state flower of North Dakota is the wild prairie rose, which has five bright pink petals and a tight cluster of yellow stamens in the center.
  • The state tree of North Dakota is the American elm, which grows all across the state and can often reach heights of 120 feet or more.

garden flower divider Summary

The state insect of North Dakota is the ladybug. It became an official symbol on March 15, 2011, after some students noticed that most other states had already declared a state insect, so they started legislation recommending the ladybug. Besides their bright red color, these insects are helpful because they feed on plant-eating aphids. Currently, North Dakota is one of six states listing ladybugs as their state insect, showing just how popular it is.

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Featured Image Credit: Pixabay, Pixabay


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