Western Honey Bee

Texas State Pollinator

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Western honey bee collecting nectar

Western honey bee; collecting nectar in the morning sunshine.  Photo by Bob Peterson/Flickr (Use Permitted with Attribution).

Official State Pollinator of Texas

Texas designated the western honey bee  (Apis mellifera) as the official state pollinator in 2015 (the state insect is the monarch butterfly, adopted in 1995). All State Insects

HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 65

WHEREAS, The State of Texas has traditionally designated a variety of official state symbols that embody the proud spirit and rich heritage of our state; and

WHEREAS, The bluebonnet, the Guadalupe bass, and the mockingbird serve to represent the great diversity of the flora and fauna of Texas, while the state dish, chili, aptly evokes our shared culinary culture; and

WHEREAS, In keeping with this custom, the designation of the western honey bee as the official state pollinator of Texas constitutes an appropriate recognition of the importance of this highly productive species found in the state; and

WHEREAS, Known to scientists as Apis mellifera, the western honey bee is the most widely domesticated of the several honey bee species that exist in the world and is a familiar sight in Texas, where its distinctive black-and-yellow abdomen and its zigzagging flight from flower to flower make the insect instantly recognizable; referred to simply as the honey bee, it is renowned for its ability to make its signature sweetener and, along with other members of its genus, is the only insect that produces a food eaten by humankind; and

WHEREAS, Even more significant than the production of honey, however, is the honey bee's essential role in the pollination of crops; this industrious insect enables the production of at least 90 commercially grown crops in North America, including 75 percent of all fruits, nuts, and vegetables, contributing more than $15 billion to the nation's economy every year; pollination by the honey bee accounts for approximately 80 percent of all insect pollination, far exceeding that of butterflies, beetles, and wasps; and

WHEREAS, The honey bee is critical to the agriculture and commerce of this state, where the economic impact of the food and fiber sector totals more than $100 billion annually; to take but one example, the bee helps Texas farmers to produce more cotton than farmers anywhere else in the country; cash receipts from Texas cotton in 2012 alone amounted to $2.2 billion; and

WHEREAS, In recognition of this insect's importance, the City of Austin passed a resolution forbidding the destruction of feral bees within its city limits, instead allowing colonies to be sustainably relocated by Central Texas Bee Rescue; and

WHEREAS, A creature as beautiful and memorable as the Texas sky, the western honey bee works each day to preserve the balance of nature, allowing our crops to flourish, the agriculture of Texas to thrive, and our economy to grow, and its unique relationship to the welfare of this land makes it a truly fitting symbol for the 'majestic spirit of the Lone Star State; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the 84th Legislature of the State of Texas hereby designate the western honey bee as the official state pollinator of Texas.

Texas

Images

A young housebee in the hive inspecting an empty cell of the honeycomb; photo by Max Westby on Flickr (noncommercial use permitted with attribution / share alike).

Honeybee in the hive

Honeybee in flight; photo by Toshihiro Gamo on Flickr (noncommercial use permittted with attribution / no derivative works).

Honeybee in flight

Dripping honey from a jar; photo by Scott Bauer, courtesy of USDA Agricultural Research Service Image Gallery.

Honey jar

Videos

Honey bee decline spreading globally