We have to hand it to some of our lawmakers. They are really starting to think of out-of-the-box ways to bring more attention to both the plight of the honey bee as well as a new way to generate interest in just how vital the honey bee is to our agricultural world. In the case of Iowa lawmakers, they are now considering making the honey bee the official insect of the state.
Iowa is one of just two states that have yet to nominate an official insect for the state, with Michigan being the other. Senator Roby Smith (R-Davenport) stated, “I’d like to make Michigan last.” The resolution was proposed in a Senate subcommittee and it will now be passed on to the Senate State Government Committee.
This is not the first effort to have an official state insect named, but all the previous attempts have failed. Some of the previous nominees were the ladybug as well as various butterflies, a very common choice among states. Rather than go for the cutesy approach, though, Iowa lawmakers are hoping to make a statement with their choice. By nominating the honey bee, they are hoping to recognize the important role the honey bee plays to the agricultural economy of the state.
The legislator that brought the idea to the Senate subcommittee is Senator Chris Cournoyer (R-LeClaire). Cournoyer got the idea to nominate the honey bee after attending seeing the popularity of Iowa’s Honey Bee Day last week. The local lobbyist for Iowa Honey Producers Association, Jim Obradovich, has already backed the proposal and said the recognition for the honey bee would be very welcomed among the 4,500 Iowa beekeepers throughout the state (accounting for about 45,000 colonies of honey bees, which produced an estimated four-million pounds of honey every year).
If the legislation is passed, the honey bee would join the list of other “official” representatives of the state:
State Flower – Wild Rose
State Rock – Geode
State Bird – Eastern Goldfinch
State Tree – Oak
State Insect – ????
Of the 48 states that currently have a state insect, more than 20 states have a species of butterfly and 13 states cite the honey bee as their official insect. Hopefully, Iowa will be the fourteenth. Ladybugs and beetles are also quite popular, but New Mexico was clearly thinking a bit differently when it named the Tarantula Hawk Wasp as its state insect.
Source: Des Moines Register