The honeybee (Apis mallifera) is the official Louisiana state insect and has been since its adoption in 1977.
Bees and their activities have played an instrumental part in shaping Louisiana into the state it is today. Not only this, but bee pollination is absolutely vital to the survival of plants, trees, and humans. Both honey and beeswax are used in many beneficial commodities today.
Plants and flowers will typically exert a lot of energy in attracting bees and other insects that are capable of pollinating by displaying bright and attractive coloration, with the addition of nectar.
It is not just Louisiana that recognizes the honeybee as their state insect there are a total of seventeen states that use the honeybee as their state symbol too!
Louisiana first began adopting its official state symbols in 1990, the first symbol was the state flower. A couple of years after this, many other symbols were adopted, each having a role to play in the history of Louisiana and all intertwining together nicely.
Louisiana State Insect
Typically, honeybees will reside in hives that consist of around 80,000 bees, with one queen bee, who will live up to 8 years and is capable of laying over 2,000 eggs in a single day!
Within a hive, you will have a small group of males who are called “drones”, these guys will be constantly around to fertilize a new queen bee, and the next set of hive occupants are sterile female “worker” bees, with their job being to construct the hive.
The younger bees in the hive are also considered to be “worker” bees, they will help construct the hive and maintain it, as well as care for the eggs and larvae, tend to the queen and her “drones”, regulate the hive temperature, and also defend it with their lives.
The older, more experienced bees are called “field” bees, gathering nectar and seeking out pollen, water, and plant resins for hive construction.
Strangely enough, they have an extra stomach and special pollen baskets on their hind legs specifically for the transportation of materials to the hive. Scientific evidence has suggested that honeybees dance to let each other know when they have discovered a new source of pollen and nectar.
Worker bees usually operate during the summer months and only live for around 6 weeks. However, honeybees that are born in fall will survive until the next spring.
Facts and Additional Information About Honeybees
Something many people might not know about is that honeybees have been around for a long, long time! The first bees appear in a fossil that dates back 40 million years ago, what is so unbelievable is that they have not physically or socially changed for 30 million years, not needing to adapt or evolve to survive.
English and Spanish colonists were believed to have brought honeybees from Africa to the New World shortly after they were brought over. Some quickly escaped into the wild and eventually started populating the western hemisphere, with many Native Americans calling the honeybee “white man’s flies.”
Here are some interesting facts about honeybees that you may not know:
- Bees have 5 eyes.
- They have 6 legs, making them insects.
- They can fly up to 20 mph.
- The queen usually will produce 1,500 eggs a day but can produce as many as 2,000.
- Unfortunately, if a bee loses its stinger, it will die.
- To make 1 lb (pound) of honey, bees have to collect the nectar from around 2 million flowers.
- They have 2 pairs of wings!
Bees are so incredibly important for an abundance of reasons, with one of the most significant that they pollinate approximately 130 agricultural crops in the United States alone, which includes fruit, fiber, nuts, and vegetables.
Most states will have their symbols showcase a relevant story that is indicative of the state and its history, and the Pelican State puts its history and what it stands for across very well in the Louisiana state animal.
This interesting fact about Louisiana and a whole host of others are what makes the state so unique and fascinating to those that live there or are researching the historical events or geological makeup of the state and its symbols.