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A Tupelo Honey Inspired 4-H Beekeeping Club

Extension Education

Ray Bodrey
Agent II-(CED)
UF/IFAS Extension Gulf County


Objectives: Gulf County, Florida is home to a rich history and tradition of Tupelo honey production. However, in recent years, there has been a decrease in younger beekeepers in the profession. A 4-H club experience can help re-energize such important cultural interests and galvanize strengths for the next generation of Gulf County Beekeepers. After a needs assessment, a newly formed 4-H Beekeeping Club was implemented in 2022 to teach youth basics in managing bee colonies and how to market honey products.

Methods: Utilizing feedback from the Overall Extension Advisory Committee and interest from the community, a club leader as well as volunteers were selected. Monthly meetings followed, where topics were taught, such as the history of beekeeping, honeybee basics, and how to work a colony. As an added bonus to the curriculum, youth attended the annual UF/IFAS Bee College and UF/IFAS Extension Northwest District Panhandle Beekeeping Conference and Tradeshow. Here, 4-H members received hands-on training with open hives, as well as lectures presenting the latest research in disease management, state rules & regulations and tips on how to market their honey products.

Results: The 5-member club presently manages five hives. Youth participated in competitions for both the UF/IFAS Northwest District Panhandle Beekeeping Conference and Tradeshow and the North Florida Fair 4-H. At the District Conference, a 4-H member finished 1st place in the smoker lighting contest and another 4-H member placed 3rd in the honey show. At the North Florida Fair competition, two 4-H members received blue ribbons for their painted hive designs and another 4-H member received a blue ribbon and merit award for her bee wrap entry. This unique, handmade product is used as an environmentally safe, natural wrap to keep food safe and fresh.

Conclusions: 4-H beekeeping club learning experiences provide youth with hands-on, as well as scientific knowledge, all while adding the element of an investment in the future for this important historical agricultural commodity. Experience in 4-H clubs such as this, aid youth in gaining knowledge and skill sets, allowing for growth into responsible and productive citizens.

Poster has NOT been presented at any previous NACAA AM/PIC

This poster is being submitted only for display at AM/PIC. Poster is not to be judged, but the abstract will be published in the proceedings.

A poster file has not been provided

Authors: Ray Bodrey, Anitra Mayhann
  1. Bodrey, R. Agent II-(CED), UF/IFAS Extension Gulf County, Florida, 32465
  2. Mayhann, A. 4-H Youth Development/Family & Consumer Science Agent I, UF/IFAS Extension Gulf County , Florida, 32465