State Insect and Butterfly


This Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) is an important polinator for native plants and crops alike.

This is a pinned specimen from the Mississippi Entomological Museum.


Close up of living bee hive that was on display for the in-person exhibit in 2017.

Living hive is a specimen of the Mississippi Entomological Museum


Living honey bee on leaf.

(Creative Commons)


(Apis mellifera)

Designated as State Butterfly in 1980

The honey bee’s role as a critical pollinator of plants and crops has led to its designation as the official state insect in no fewer than seventeen states.  Mississippi’s agricultural economy directly relies on bees and other pollinating insects. There is a strong network of apiarists (bee keepers) in Mississippi working to keep bee populations healthy while, at the same time, producing local honey for markets. 

Bees are social insects that live in colonies, called hives, with up to 80,000 individuals to a colony.  Social insects have a distinct division of labor within the colony, with every individual having a defined job or purpose to support the community as a whole.  The queen bee is responsible for laying eggs, drones fertilize the eggs, and worker bees care for the hive and gather nectar.   


The Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly (Papilio troilus) is commonly refered to as the "Green Clouded Butterfly".

Mississippi Entomological Museum specimen


(Papilio troilus) 

Designated as State Butterfly in 1991

The spicebush swallowtail butterfly can be found in the eastern half of the U.S. and in southern Canada. It is most often found in shaded, deciduous forests and swampy areas.  The spicebush swallowtail acquired its name from its most common host plant, the spicebush.  

State Insect and Butterfly