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Georgia State Insect

HoneybeeGeorgia State Insect: Honeybee

(Apis mellifera)

Adopted on April 18, 1975.

In 1975, the honeybee, (Apis mellifera,) was named the official state insect. The honeybee has a highly specialized labor force, an elaborate social structure, an astounding communications system and a well-fed population. It is a member of the great insect family Apoidea, which includes 20,000 species; among them bumblebees and carpenter bees. The honeybee makes an important contribution to Georgia's economy through its production of honey and aids agriculture by cross-pollinating over 50 of Georgia's state crops.

Did you know that: The honey bee has been proclaimed the official state insect in each of the following states

Arkansas | Georgia | Kansas | Kentucky | Louisiana | Maine | Mississippi
MissouriNebraska | New Jersey | North Carolina | Oklahoma
South Dakota | Tennessee | Utah | Vermont | West Virginia | Wisconsin


 

Georgia State Insect: Honeybee

Georgia State Insect: HoneybeeThe honeybee has a highly specialized labor force, an elaborate social structure, an astounding communications system and a well-fed population. It is a member of the great insect family Apoidea, which includes 20,000 species; among them bumblebees and carpenter bees. The honeybee makes an important contribution to Georgia's economy through its production of honey and aids agriculture by cross-pollinating over 50 of our state's crops.

The honeybee plays a vital economic role in Georgia through its pollination of various crops, trees, and grasses. The honeybee is the only insect that can be moved for the express purpose of pollination.

Bees produce honey as food stores for the hive during the long months of winter when flowers aren't blooming and therefore little or no nectar is available to them. European honey bees, genus Apis Mellifera, produce such an abundance of honey, far more than the hive can eat, that humans can harvest the excess. For this reason, European honey bees can be found in beekeeper's hives around the world!

The taste, color and nutrient content of honey varies from place to place depending upon the kind of flora growing in the area. For example, Tupelo honey (from Tennessee) is twice as sweet as most honey. Many people take honey from their own neighborhood as a kind of natural antihistamine.

Honeybees probably originated in Tropical Africa and spread from South Africa to Northern Europe and East into India and China. They were brought to the Americas with the first colonists and are now distributed world-wide. The first bees appear in the fossil record in deposits dating about 40 million years ago in the Eocene. At about 30 million years before present they appear to have developed social behavior and structurally are virtually identical with modern bees.

Characteristics of the Honeybee

Colony:

Honey bees are social insects, with a marked division of labor between the various types of bees in the colony. A colony of honey bees includes a queen, drones and workers.

The Queen:

The queen is the only sexually developed female in the hive. She is the largest bee in the colony.

A two-day-old larva is selected by the workers to be reared as the queen. She will emerge from her cell 11 days later to mate in flight with approximately 18 drone (male) bees. During this mating, she receives several million sperm cells, which last her entire life span of nearly two years.

The queen starts to lay eggs about 10 days after mating. A productive queen can lay 3,000 eggs in a single day.

The Drones:

Drones are stout male bees that have no stingers. Drones do not collect food or pollen from flowers. Their sole purpose is to mate with the queen. If the colony is short on food, drones are often kicked out of the hive.

The Workers:

Workers, the smallest bees in the colony, are sexually undeveloped females. A colony can have 50,000 to 60,000 workers.

The life span of a worker bee varies according to the time of year. Her life expectancy is approximately 28 to 35 days. Workers that are reared in September and October, however, can live through the winter.

Workers feed the queen and larvae, guard the hive entrance and help to keep the hive cool by fanning their wings. Worker bees also collect nectar to make honey. In addition, honey bees produce wax comb. The comb is composed of hexagonal cells which have walls that are only 2/1000 inch thick, but support 25 times their own weight.

Honey bees' wings stroke 11,400 times per minute, thus making their distinctive buzz.

Joint Resolution of the Georgia General Assembly

Joint Resolution of the Georgia General Assembly
April 18, 1975

HONEYBEE DESIGNATED AS OFFICIAL STATE INSECT.

No. 48 (Senate Resolution No. 99).

A Resolution
Designating the honeybee as the official State insect; and for other purposes.
Whereas, honey produced by honeybees provides significant income to an important section of Georgia's economy; and

Whereas, the honeybee is a valuable asset to the agricultural interests of this State; and

Whereas, if it were not for the cross-pollination activities of honeybees for over fifty different crops, we would soon have to live on cereals and nuts; and

Whereas, the honeybee far surpasses any other insects insofar as its contributions to man; and
Whereas, the importance of the honeybee to the agricultural interest and the welfare of the citizens of the State should be appropriately recognized.

Now, therefore, be it resolved by the General Assembly of Georgia that the honeybee is hereby designated as the State of Georgia's official insect.

Approved April 18, 1975.

Source: Ga. Laws 1975, pp. 927-928.

Taxonomic Hierarchy of the Honeybee

KingdomAnimalia -- animals
Phylum Arthropoda
Class Insecta
Order Hymenoptera
Family Apiidae
Genus Apis
Species Apis mellifera
State Insects,
Butterflies, and Bugs
State Insects,
State insects are selected by 45 states of the 50 United States. Some states have more than one designated insect, or have multiple categories (e.g., state insect and state butterfly, etc.). More than half of the insects chosen are not native to North America, because of the inclusion of three European species (European honey bee, European mantis, and 7-spotted ladybug).
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