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It Pays to BEE a Writer: State 4-H Beekeeping Essay Contest

Honeybee on red clover

West Virginia 4-H is excited to announce the 2022 State 4-H Beekeeping Essay Contest!

The topic for this 750-1000 word essay is Transportation: Minimizing Stress on Bees While Getting Them Where They Need to Be.

It is open to any active 4-H member between the ages of 8 (as of September 30, 2021) and 18 (as of January 1, 2022).

You do not have to be a beekeeper to enter! Upon request, we can provide contact information for local beekeepers to interview. Please contact Sarah Owen to coordinate this support.

Prizes will be awarded to top state-level entries in both Junior and Senior divisions, and the overall state-level winner will advance to the 2022 National 4-H Beekeeping Essay Competition for a chance to win one of three cash prizes, including $750 for first place, $500 for second place, and $250 for third place.

How Do I Enter the State 4-H Beekeeping Essay Contest?

Submit your completed essay online by May 1st at 11:59 p.m. through the "2022 State 4-H Beekeeping Essay Contest" event in ZSuite.

Register in 4-H ZSuite

Want to learn more about this contest? Continue reading below.

State 4-H Beekeeping Essay Contest

Essay Topic

Transportation: Minimizing Stress on Bees While Getting Them Where They Need to Be

Each year, approximately 1.5 million honey bee colonies make the trip to California to pollinate almonds, mostly via large trucks. The movement of these colonies, along with another half million colonies based in California, constitute the largest insect migration event in the world (albeit assisted migration). Many beekeepers often need to move colonies to various apiary locations, or for local pollination, etc. What are the major stresses on bees during local and long-distance* transportation? 

In your essay, please give specific examples for how those stresses can be minimized when moving colonies within an apiary, during short-distance movement among local apiaries, and during long-distance movement across state lines. Writers are encouraged to include photos and interviews with commercial beekeepers, citing state laws for the transport of bees. 

*Long-distance bee moving is any move that cannot be accomplished in one night, and therefore the load must be netted so that the bees don't fly off the truck during the day. Any other beehive movement can be considered local even though it may be a 250-mile trip or longer.


The 2022 State 4-H Beekeeping Essay Contest is open to all active West Virginia 4-H'ers. You do not need to be a beekeeper to enter an essay in this contest. Pre-submission support will be made available upon request. Please reach out to Sarah Owen and your local Extension office if you would like assistance in finding reputable beekeeping resources or help locating a West Virginia beekeeper to interview for this essay. The best overall essay will be entered in the national competition following final revision.

Competition Rules & Essay Requirements

  • Essays must be typewritten or computer-generated on single-sided pages and formatted following standard manuscript format using double-spaced type and 12pt font in a legible font face.
  • Essays must encompass the designated topic in 750 to 1,000 words. Word count does not include sources, works cited or the writer’s biographical statement.
  • All factual statement and interview references must be cited in a “sources” or “bibliography.”
  • 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%.
  • On a separate page, please include a brief biographical statement of the writer including mailing address, email address and phone number.

Deadline for State Submission

  • Sunday, May 1st at 11:59 p.m. via ZSuite "2022 State 4-H Beekeeping Essay Contest" event registration form.


Awards will be distributed to WV’s best essays in both junior and senior divisions. The state level overall winner will advance to the 2022 National 4-H Beekeeping Essay Competition for a chance to win one of three cash prizes, including $750 for first place, $500 for second place, and $250 for third place.