Iowa is one step closer to having the honey bee as the official state insect. Senators endorsed the idea on Wednesday. It happened right after Senate President Charles Schneider and Senator Chris Cournoyer had an exchange about all the puns flying around.
“Senators, we’re not stopping history today. We’re moving forward,” Schneider said.
Cournoyer replied: “Thank you Mr. President, I know that this bill has caused a lot of buzz, so I’ll keep my comments short and sweet.”
To that reference to the taste of honey and not droning on and on about the idea, Schneider quipped: “Senator, you’re out of order,” and senators laughed.
Senator Cournoyer, who is from Le Claire, has been making the argument that bees make a serious contribution to the Iowa economy.
“Honey bees are vital in production of over 90 crops grown across the nation, many of which are in Iowa,” Cournoyer said. “Honey bees contribute to a healthy Iowa environment by assuring availability of fruits, vegetables, nuts and flowers for wildlife and all Iowans.”
Senator Nate Boulton of Des Moines brought his colleagues honey to share from the hives his wife maintain.
“My favorite constituent and beekeeper, my wife Andrea — it’s actually her birthday today, so to see the Iowa Senate take up this issue to makimg the honey bee the state insect is a real thrill,” Boulton said.
All 46 Senators present endorsed the idea. It will be up to the 100 members of the Iowa House to decide whether honey bees become the state insect. A bill that would have designated an unusually named orange, black and white butterfly as the state insect was introduced, but did not fly in the House this year, so the bee has a shot.
Iowa is one of only two states without an officially recognized state insect. Lawmakers say establishing a new state symbol is not a high priority, but so far no one has yet stamped out the bee bill’s chances.