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State Insects,
Butterflies, and Bugs
State Insects, Butterflies, and Bugs

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New Jersey State Bug


New Jersey State Bug - Honey Bee

(Apis mellifera)

Adopted on June 20, 1974.

School children from Auburn suggested the honeybee as the Nebraska State Bug. In 1975 Governor J. James Exon signed a law that made it official. Honey bees were brought to this continent in the seventeenth century by the first settlers from Europe. The honey bee, (apis mellifera,) is the state bug, having been so designated by Chapter 42 of the Laws of 1974. The Legislature enacted the bill, A-671, and Governor Brendan T. Byrne signed it June 20, 1974.

From Office of the Secretary of State, Vermont Legislative Directory and State Manual, Biennial Session, 1993-1994, p. 17.

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   |   Missouri   |  Nebraska  |  New Jersey
 North Carolina  |  Oklahoma  |  South Dakota  |  Tennessee
 Utah  |  Vermont  |  West Virginia  |  Wisconsin

New Jersey State Bug: Honeybee

New Jersey State Bug - Honey Bee

New Jersey's state Bug, the honey bee, is neither a native of the state nor the continent.

In New Jersey, researchers have documented more than 300 different species of bees. But it's the wild bees, the native bees, that are of special interest in New Jersey. Referring to a large and diverse group that excludes the honey bees, wild bees are important because native bees are essential building blocks of our food system, as well as keeping ecological balance in the landscape. It's these wild species that have evolved with many native plants, making them essential to the survival of these plants.

This "social" insect, which grows and lives in highly organized colonies, is important to Vermont farmers and orchardists by being a principal pollinator of certain of their crops. But it is best know, of course, for the pleasant-tasting and healthful honey which it produces. Though they represent a relatively small part of the state's agricultural economy, Vermont beekeepers generally produce several hundred thousand pounds of honey each year.

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!

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


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:New Jersey State Bug - Honey Bee

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.

New Jersey Law

The law designating the honeybee as the official New Jersey state bug is found in the New Jersey Permanent Statutes, Title 52, Section 52:9A-9.


52:9A-3. Honeybee; designation as state bug   52:9A-3. Honey bee; designation as state bug

The honey bee (apis mellifera) is designated as the New Jersey State Bug

Taxonomic Hierarchy:  Western Honey Bee

Kingdom: Animalia (Animals)
Phylum: Arthropoda (Arthropods)
    Subphylum: Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class: Insecta (Insects)
Order: Hymenoptera (Ants, Bees, Wasps and Sawflies)
No Taxon: (Aculeata - Ants, Bees and Stinging Wasps)
No Taxon: (Anthophila (Apoidea) - Bees)
Family: Apidae (Cuckoo, Carpenter, Digger, Bumble, and Honey Bees)
    Subfamily: Apinae (Honey, Bumble, Long-horned, Orchid, and Digger Bees)
Tribe: Apini (Honey Bees)
Genus; Apis
Species: mellifera (Western Honey Bee)

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.).
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