What Is the State Insect of South Dakota? How Was It Decided?
Though the state insect isn’t as popular as the state flower, if you live in South Dakota, there is a good chance that you know what the state insect is due to the large industry that it creates: the honey bee! Keep reading to learn why the honey bee is the insect of South Dakota and when it was chosen.
When Did the Honey Bee Become the State Insect of South Dakota?
The honey bee became the state insect of South Dakota on February 23, 1978, as part of South Dakota Codified Laws Title 1, Chapter 1-6, Section 1-6-14.
Why Did South Dakota Choose the Honey Bee as Its State Insect?
South Dakota is a leader in honey production in the United States, which greatly boosts its economy, so it makes perfect sense that the state would honor this important species by naming it the official state insect. These bees produce a mild, clear clover honey that is usually shipped out of state to mix with darker honey for a more typical appearance.
Is South Dakota the Only State With the Honey Bee as Its State Insect?
No, several other states consider the honey bee special enough to be the state insect. These are Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
What Are the Characteristics of the Honey Bee?
The honey bee is a strong pollinator and the only insect that can be moved to help pollination in other areas. Without bees, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to pollinate most fruit trees, including apples, peaches, and many kinds of grass, including clover and alfalfa. Honey bees live in large colonies with as many as 80,000 members and communicate using intricate dance movements.
The honey that the bees produce will vary in color and flavor depending on the pollen in the area. Besides honey, honey bees will also create beeswax, to build the walls and caps of the honeycomb, and bee bread, a combination of pollen, honey, and glandular secretions that ferment in the comb. The fermentation releases nutrients that help prevent spoilage.
Interesting Facts About the Honey Bee
What Are Other State Symbols of South Dakota?
The state insect of South Dakota is the honey bee, an important insect for the economy because South Dakota is one of the leading producers of honey in the country. Honey bees are also responsible for pollinating many fruit trees and grasses. Designating them as the state insect helps honor all their hard work and may even increase awareness about their declining population.
Featured Image Credit: Kai Wenzel, Unsplash