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Beekeeping Essay Contest

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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.

The 2024 essay topic is, “Varietal Honeys.” For this essay, a 4-H student should answer these questions: What makes a varietal honey? What are some unique varietals? How are some of the valuable varietals confirmed to be authentic (e.g., Manuka honey UMF and MGO)? What are some culturally or economically important varietals and why are they important?

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

Essay Awards

The state beekeeping essay follows the rules laid out by the national contest sponsored by the Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees. NC 4-H youth will compete in the following age divisions; 1). 8-10 2). 11-13 and 3). 14-18. Youth awarded first in each category will receive $25 each. The overall winning essay from either 11-13 or 14-18 will be sent on to the national competition. Youth can only place first one time within an age category.

Essay Submission

Submit your paper here by April 22, 2024 by 11:59 p.m.. If you run into any difficulties, please reach out to Liz Driscoll at | 919.886.3424

bees on wax comb

NC 4-H Essay Content Rules

  1. Eligibility: The 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)
    • Write on the designated subject only.
    • Essay must be typed on single-sided pages and formatted following standard manuscript format using double-spaced type and 12pt font in a legible font face.
    • Youth in the 11-13 and 14-18 age category must have an essay length of 750 to 1000 words. Youth that are in the 8-10 age category, only need to write an essay that is between 400-500 words. 
    • Word count does not include sources, works cited or the writer’s biographical statement. 
    • All factual statements and interview references must be cited in a “sources” or “bibliography” list. 
    • On a separate page, please include a brief biographical statement of the writer including mailing address, email address and phone number.
  3. Scoring: 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%. 
    • 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.
  4. Awards: NC 4-H youth will compete in the following age divisions; 1). 8-10 2). 11-13 and 3). 14-18. Youth awarded first in each category will receive $25 each. The overall winning essay from either 11-13 or 14-18 will be sent on to the national competition. Youth can only place first one time within an age category.

National Essay 

The winner of the North Carolina 4-H state Beekeeping Essay is forwarded to the national Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees to participate in their national essay contest. 

  1. Each state may submit only one entry. North Carolina 4-H submits the state winning essay by May 1, 2024. 
  2. Any 4-H Club member who placed first, second or third in previous years of the national competition is NOT eligible to win in 2024; however, state competition winners remain eligible to enter the national competition. Essays entered must encompass the designated topic only. There will be no exceptions.
  3. National winners will be announced by June 15, 2024
  4. Decisions made by the trustees of the Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees during national judging are final. All national competition entries become the property of the foundation and may be used as it sees fit. No essays will be returned.
  5. Three cash prizes will be awarded in the 2024 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: $250The 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.

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