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NC State Extension

Beekeeping Essay Contest

Bee on a spring flower collecting pollen and nectar

Honey bees are hardworking, tirelessly gathering nectar and pollen to share with their hive. They provide a vital ecological service by pollinating agricultural, garden and native plants. Explore more about these fascinating insects by participating in the North Carolina 4-H Beekeeping Essay contest. The essay provides a platform for youth to creatively express their working knowledge and research of the craft of beekeeping.

2020 Essay Topic: Overwintering: Bee Survival through the Cold Season

Honey bees have developed special skills to overwinter in the United States. Please discuss one of these skills and then include a discussion about what you do to prepare your hives for winter. Include a photo of one of your hives, either using infrared technology or showing winter wrap, hay bales, special feeders, etc. to demonstrate how you prepare your hives for winter.

The scope of the research is an essential judging criterion, accounting for 40% of your score. The number of sources consulted, the authority of the sources, and the variety of the sources are all evaluated. Personal interviews with beekeepers and others familiar with the subject are valued sources of information and should be documented.

Note that “honey bee” is properly spelled as two words, even though many otherwise authoritative references spell it as one word.


Essay Rewards

The state beekeeping essay follows the rules laid out by the national contest sponsored by the Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees. The state senior winner is awarded $50 and is submitted to the national contest. The national essay awards cash prizes to the top three winners; 1st Place—$750.00, 2nd Place—$500.00, 3rd Place—$250.00. Each State Winner, including the national winners, receives an appropriate book about honey bees, beekeeping, or honey.


Essay Submission

All state essays should be saved with the following file name format: “Lastname_firstname-beekeeping essay” and submitted electronically to Liz Driscoll by March 15th, 2020. The 2020 essay is due ELECTRONICALLY to liz_driscoll@ncsu.edu by March 15th, 2020 at 5 p.m.


Essay Content Rules

  1. Contest is open to active 4-H Club members only. 4-H’ers who have previously placed first, second, or third at the national level are not eligible; but other state winners are eligible to re-enter.
  2. Requirements (failure to meet any one requirement disqualifies the essay) –
    1. Write on the designated subject only.
    2. Essay must be typewritten or computer-generated on single-sided pages and formatted following standard manuscript format using double-spaced type and 12pt font in legible font face
    3. Length: 750 to 1000 words. Note: Youth that are in the 9-10 age category, only need to write an essay that is between 400-500 words.
    4. Word count does not include sources, works cited or the writer’s biographical statement.
    5. All factual statements and interview references must be cited in a “sources” or “bibliography” list.
    6. On a separate page, please include a brief biographical statement of the writer including mailing address, email address and phone number.
  3. Essays will be judged on (a) scope of research – 40%; (b) accuracy – 30%; (c) creativity – 10%; (d) conciseness – 10%; and (e) logical development of the topic – 10%.
  4. NC 4-H youth will compete in the following age divisions; 1). 9-10 2). 11-13 and 3). 14-18. Youth awarded first in the 9-10 and 11-13 category will receive $25 each. Youth in the 14-18 age category will receive $50 and their winning essay will be sent on to the national competition. Youth can only place first one time within an age category.

National Essay 

  1. Individual essayists should not forward essays directly to the Foundation office. Each state 4-H Office is responsible for selecting the state’s winner
    and should set its deadline so state judging can be completed at the state level in time for the winning state essay to be mailed to the Foundation
    office before April 1st, 2020.
  2. Each state may submit only one entry to the national competition.
  3. Final judging and selection of the National Winner will be made by the Foundation’s Essay Committee, whose decision is final.
  4. The National Winner will be announced June 1st, 2020.
  5. Three cash prizes will be awarded in the 2020 National 4-H Beekeeping Essay Competition. The author of the highest scoring essay will win first prize. The author of the second-highest scoring essay will win second prize. The author of the third-highest scoring essay will win third prize. • First Prize: $750 • Second Prize: $500 • Third Prize: $250 The three prize-winning essays will be published in ABF Quarterly, the magazine of the American Beekeeping Federation. All authors of essays submitted to the national competition will receive a relevant book on honey bees, beekeeping or honey.
  6. All National entries become the property of the Foundation and may be published or used as it sees fit. No essay will be returned. National winning
    essays will be posted at the Foundation for the Preservation of Honey bees 4-H Essay website.

Program Files