Exploring pollinators with 4-H members! 

Join Michigan 4-H and MSU Extension as we discover the world of pollinators, honey bees, and beekeeping! We will discover topics in understanding honey bees, working with bees, pollination and agriculture, apiculture careers, and youth development. Read on for details about programs: 

4-H Virtual Beekeeping SPIN Club - 
Coming in Spring 2022

Explore the art of beekeeping, in this short-term club with your 4-H friends. This statewide club will feature speakers from the Michigan 4-H Children's Garden, apiculture educators, and 4-H staff with experience in beekeeping clubs. Youth new to 4-H welcome to join. Approved 4-H volunteers interested in learning more about beekeeping clubs may join as well.  Content will include introductory information for those just getting started, and include footage of demonstration beehives from the Children's Garden. Participants will also be sent activity kits! Enrollment directions, dates, and topics coming soon!


Project Resources: 

Visit the 4-H Children's Gardens here.

4-H Beekeeping Curricula

Videos and Web Resources:

Resources from MSU Pollinator Initiative:

MSU Resources for Beekeepers comprehensive site for the beginner or commercial beekeeper, and those just curious to learn more about beekeeping.

MSU Keep Bees Alive The Keep Bees Alive project has been designed to help beekeepers with some of the most common causes of colony death. Site includes videos, handouts, and articles to help you keep your bees alive and healthy.

MSU Pollinator Champions is a free, self-paced online course offered by Michigan State University. The course is packed full of videos, articles, and fun activities to guide you through the amazing world of pollinators and pollination. 

MSU Squash Bee Citizen Science Survey Our goal was to better understand cucurbit pollination, in particular we were interested in the role of squash bees and the impact of farm management practices on them.


2021 National 4-H Beekeeping Essay Contest 

Beekeeping Contest 2021 FINAL

4-H youth have the opportunity to develop writing and research skills, earn cash, and become published through 4-H Beekeeping Essay Contest.

2021 Essay Topic: Immunity: Threats to Bee Colonies and Methods to Defend Against the Threats 
Honey bee colonies have developed many ways to stay healthy.  Their immune responses range from behaviors such as grooming to using materials such as propolis, a plant-derived substance bees coat on the interior of a hive for antimicrobial purposes.  Even the gut of the honey bee contains beneficial bacteria to help the bee stay healthy! In your essay, name at least two threats (a parasite such as Varroa, a pathogen such as a virus, a predator such as a bear, etc.) to honey bee colonies and then discuss the methods colonies use to defend against the threats. If possible, include at least one picture you have taken from Feb. 2020-Feb. 2021 that illustrates how colonies manage to stay healthy against a variety of threats.  

Essay Contest Q&A - Feb 23, 2021 at 7PM (Optional) Play bee-themed games to learn more about the contest theme. Learn contest rules and ask any questions you may have while you begin to prepare your essay.
Pre-registration required: for Zoom link.

Entry Deadline: April 1, 2021. Send all entries to Laura Quist,

The 2021 National 4-H Beekeeping Essay Competition is open to active 4-H Club members only. (Youth may meet this requirement through the NEW 4-H Beekeeping SPIN club - see article at top of this page for details!)

Any 4-H Club member who placed first, second or third in previous years of the national competition is NOT eligible to win in 2021, however, state competition winners remain eligible to enter the national competition. Entered essays must encompass the designated topic only. There will be no exceptions. 

Competition Rules & Essay Requirements: An essential judging criterion is the scope of research you put forth in developing the ideas behind your essay—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 requirements: 

  • 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.
  • Essay 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 statements and interview references must be cited in a “sources” or “bibliography” list.
  • 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. If possible, include at least one picture you have taken from Feb. 2020-Feb. 2021 that illustrates how colonies manage to stay healthy against a variety of threats.  

Awards are made at the at National level. Three cash prizes will be awarded in the 2021 National 4-H Beekeeping Essay Competition. In addition to case prizes, 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. 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.

Sponsored by: Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees

Deadline and Contact: One winner will be selected to represent Michigan.
Send all entries to Laura Quist, by April 1, 2021.


Need support for your 4-H Bee project? 

Contact any 4-H staff member for assistance with your bee-related club project. 

Beekeeping Events

  • Jul 15

    Michigan Honey Festival

    July 15, 2023 – July 16, 2023 Shiawassee County Fair Grounds, 2900 Hibbard Rd. Corunna, MI 48817

    Do you like honey? If so, visit the Michigan Honey Festival. Join Michigan State University for live hive demonstrations.

Beekeeping Resources

  • Getting Started with Beekeeping

    The Michigan Ag Ideas to Grow With virtual conference offers multiple educational opportunities, including a session for people interested in learning to keep honey bees and support pollinator health. (RUP credits available)