UACES Facebook National 4-H Beekeeping Essay Contest
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2021 winner certificate 
Congratulations to Kacie Clark of Faulkner County 4H for submittign this year's winning essay from Arkansas.  Her entry has been submitted to the national contest.  Results from nation judging will be announced in June.

2021 National 4-H Beekeeping Essay Contest

The Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees has announced the topic for their 2021 beekeeping essay contest:

"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.  

Put on Your Thinking Cap!

An essential judging criterion is the scope of research you put forth in developing the ideas behind your essay, and it accounts 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 might spell it as one word. 


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.


First Prize: $750.00
Second Prize: $500.00
Third Prize: $250.00

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.

Overview of 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; other state winners are eligible to re‐enter.

2.  Requirements (failure to meet any one disqualifies):

  • Write on the designated subject only.
  • All factual statements must be referenced with bibliographical‐style endnotes.
  • A brief biographical sketch of the essayist, including date of birth, gender, complete mailing address, email address and telephone number must accompany the essay on a separate page.
  • Length of the essay: 750 to 1,000 words (The word count does not include the endnotes, the bibliography or references, or the essayist’s biographical sketch).
  • Prepare your essay double‐spaced, 12‐pt. Times or similar type font, following a standard manuscript format. Submit as a Microsoft Word compatible document or a standard PDF document.  Any electronic files that cannot be opened or read by the judges will be disqualified.

3.  Essays will be judged on the following criteria:

  • scope of research ‐ 40%
  • accuracy ‐ 30%
  • creativity ‐ 10%
  • conciseness ‐ 10%
  • logical development of the topic ‐ 10%.

4.  Individual essayists should not forward submissions directly to the Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees office.  Essays should be sent via email to Jon Zawislak, University of Arkansas Extension Apiculturist, by April 9, 2021 (late entries will not be accepted).

Please submit your essay via email to: with “4‐H Beekeeping Essay” in the subject line of the email. The winning essay from Arkansas will be forwarded to the Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees for entry into the national contest.

5.  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.

6.  The national winner will be announced June 15, 2021.

7.   If you have any questions, you may contact Jon Zawislak at

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BONUS OPPORTUNITY:  Honey bee enthusiasts age 12-18 may also be interested in a chance to win up to $3000 in a separate contest.  The Bayer Blue Ribbon Beekeeper Award, sponsored by the North American Bayer Bee Care Program, recognizes the next generation of beekeepers (12-18 years old) and their efforts to give back to their communities through activities that support honey bee and pollinator health. These outstanding individuals have created unique projects on their own or with their local communities to promote and protect bee health for years to come.  Review the details for their 2021 contest online.  This contest is not sponsored by, or affiliated with, the 4H or the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture.