Honeybee (Apis mellifera)


In 1985, Gov. John Ashcroft signed a bill designating Apis mellifera (western honeybee) as Missouri’s state insect. These bees are easily recognizable by their orange and black striped bodies and furry heads. Although designated Missouri’s state insect, honeybees are not native to Missouri or the U.S. They originated in Africa and were brought to all other continents except Antarctica.

Honeybees are so named because they make honey out of nectar collected from nearby flowers. They are hive, or colony, insects. The bees are also pollinators, meaning they transfer pollen from one plant to another, thereby fertilizing it. Bees are very important when it comes to pollinating not just wild flora, but also farm crops. The bees are also “farmed” by humans who collect their tasty honey.


Revised Statutes of Missouri (RSMo)

§10.170. State insect. – The native “honey bee”, scientifically designated as apis mellifera, is selected for and shall be known as the official insect of the state of Missouri. (L. 1985 H.B. 281 § 1)

approved 03 July 1985
effective 28 August 1985


Photo Gallery:

Click on an image below to enlarge and read a caption. This will open a new window in the Missouri State Symbols Flickr album.

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Additional Resources:

Search historic issues of the Missouri Conservationist on the Missouri Digital Heritage website here.

Read about the Missouri Master Pollinator Steward program through the University of Missouri Extension online here.

Barrett, Bruce et al. “Honey Bees as Pollinators, Their Habitats and Products.” University of Missouri Extension.


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