June 26, 2020
Arkansas 4-H’er wins national beekeeping essay contest
By Tracy Courage
U of A System Division of Agriculture
- Saline County 4-H member Libby Majors writes about her beekeeping experiences, lessons learned
- Teen’s essay to be published in beekeeping magazine
- Winning essay at http://preservationofhoneybees.org/essays/2020-essays
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LITTLE ROCK — Libby Majors, a member of Saline County 4-H, won first place in the 2020 National 4-H Beekeeping Essay Competition and will soon have her work published in a quarterly magazine.
“This is the first time that an essay from Arkansas has placed at national, as far as I know,” said state essay judge Jon Zawislak, apiculture instructor for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service.
Majors, 17, of Alexander, is a senior at Bryant High School and a member of the Salem Superstars 4-H Club. She’s been beekeeping for two years. Majors placed first in the state essay competition and advanced to the national competition, where her essay competed against 22 other entries.
Majors won $750 for her prize-winning essay, which will be published in ABF Quarterly, the magazine of the American Beekeeping Federation. Her essay, along with those of the second- and third-place winners can be read online at http://preservationofhoneybees.org/essays/2020-essays.
“The world of beekeeping is very fortunate to have so many clever, young professionals preparing to lead our industry one of these days,” said Molly Sausaman, executive director of the Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees, Inc., which sponsors the competition.
This year’s essay contest theme was overwintering and helping honeybees survive cold months. Essay contestants were asked to discuss one of the skills bees use to survive and how they help prepare their hives for winter.
“Overwintering honeybees has been a real learning experience,” Majors said of her two years beekeeping.
Majors worked to shore up her colonies’ health by treating for Varroa mites and by feeding her bees using the “Mountain Camp” method, which entails putting dry sugar inside the hive to ensure the bees don’t starve over the winter.
“I learned this the hard way during my first year as a beekeeper,” Majors wrote. “Having successfully caught a couple of swarms with my dad late in the summer, I assumed my new colony would have time to build up stores for the winter. I supplemented feeding into the fall, thinking all was well. As spring approached, I was devastated to find bees dead with their heads stuck in cells, which is indicative of starvation. This was an important lesson for me which led to more research around how to increase bee survival through the winter months.”
Majors said she is continually learning about beekeeping techniques via the Internet, social media and from local bee clubs.
“I’ve found that, for the most part, beekeepers are eager to share their knowledge to help others be successful in this endeavor,” she said.
Majors is the daughter of Jason Majors.
About the Division of Agriculture
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.
The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
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Director, Communications Services
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service