N.D. students want ladybug as state insect

BISMARCK – A group of North Dakota second-graders will go all out next week in their effort to convince state lawmakers to make the ladybug the state insect.

Kenmare teacher Tamara McNeiley will bring four students to the Capitol for an 11 a.m. CT hearing Jan. 21 to make their case.

Although most people who testify wear suits, the kids plan to wear ladybug outfits and sing. They’re hard at work making portfolios so legislators can see all of the reasons why they want to make this happen, McNeiley said.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Glen Froseth, R-Kenmare, said he couldn’t refuse the kids’ request for a bill.

“How do you say no to them with as enthusiastic as they are over it?” he said.

The idea for the state insect came up last year when McNeiley taught the then first-grade enrichment students about ladybugs. They realized other states – Delaware, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, for example – have the ladybug as the state insect and wondered if North Dakota had one.

When they realized it didn’t, they decided to give the ladybug a go.

“I said we can’t just make it the state bug. We’re going to have to have a reason. We can’t just say it’s cute,” McNeiley said.

The students discussed the importance of farming in the state and how ladybugs eat aphids, she said. One student said aphids are why her dad has to spray, McNeiley said.

So, the students will tell lawmakers about how ladybugs help North Dakota’s crops and talk about the bug being a symbol of luck.

“We’re going to feel lucky to live here,” McNeiley said. “We’re going to be lucky we are part of the state.”

The students know their bill may not make it, McNeiley said. Still, they look at it as a fun time and a learning experience.

The ladybug isn’t the first proposed state insect for North Dakota. The honey bee didn’t make it as the state insect in 1989. Some lawmakers have joked the state insect could be a grasshopper.

The ladybug bill is House Bill 1219.

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