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The European honey bee is now Virginia's official state pollinator

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Big news today out of Virginia. The state has an official state pollinator. It is the European honeybee.

A MARTÍNEZ, BYLINE: State Delegate Patrick Hope worked with the Virginia State Beekeepers Association to draft the legislation.

PATRICK HOPE: There's historical significance to the honeybee in Virginia.

MARTIN: Historical because, he says, the relationship goes back to the year 1622.

HOPE: The first colony in Jamestown, when the colonists were having trouble surviving the harsh winters, they realized that the native pollinators were not pollinating their fruits and vegetables. They wrote to the king in England and asked them to send over the honeybees.

MARTÍNEZ: All right. So that's why a U.S. state picked a European bee and so bee-gan (ph) a long history of supporting American agriculture. The honeybee is now recognized in more than a dozen states.

HOPE: This honeybee is the single most important insect to the founding of America. I'm surprised it took us so long to make that connection with the historical aspect. But he's a cute little bee, and we want to do everything we can to protect the bee because the bee does so much work for us day in and day out to give us delicious fruits and vegetables and that honey that everyone enjoys.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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