Friday, April 9, 2010

Reinstatement of Beekeeping Merit badge initiative

have you heard anything about this? A young boy is trying to get the Boy Scouts of America to re-instate the beekeeping merit badge, which has been obsolete since 1995. here is his statement:

My name is Christopher Stowell.
I am 13 years old. I am a boy scout in Troop 250. I am also a Beekeeper in Skiatook, OK. I am a member of both the North East Oklahoma Bee keepers Association (NEOBA) located in Tulsa, OK., and The Oklahoma State Bee keepers Association. I have recently learned that the Boy Scouts of America discontinued the Bee Keeping merit badge in 1995. I have contacted the National council and ask why. They have informed me that there was not enough bee keepers in America. They also informed me that the reinstatement of the merit badge had been brought up several times sense to no avail. It seems to me that it would only make sense to encourage bee keeping if there are not enough bee keepers in our country. I believe that now more than ever before the survival of the honey bee is important to all. If other boys are not encouraged to learn how to become bee keepers the honey bee will surly die out. Not only I feel this way but I believe that bee keepers all across America believe in the importance of teaching the younger generations the importance of the honey bee. The reinstatement of the merit badge will lend validity to the art of bee keeping. I am contacting you to ask your support in getting the Boy Scout Bee keeping merit badge reinstated. I am working on a proposal to the National Boy scout Council. I am also working on getting a petition signed by as many people as possible that would like to see the merit badge reinstated. I have a goal set to send in my proposal to the council by July 15, 2010. At that time , I would like your endorsement of my proposal as well as your help in getting as many bee keepers and people who believe in the importance of youth learning how to keep bees as possible involved in this effort.

This is what I need from you.

1. A letter from you addressing the Boys scout council to send along with my proposal would be very beneficial. Please send it to my personal address above on you letter head stationary if possible. I will take it along on July 15th.

2.I would also like to get a petition being signed in your area to add to the list of names we already have. I will be getting that to you soon to get it passes around. By e-mail or in person at association meetings.

3.If you could e-mail the National Boy scout council now, a personal letter from you telling them why you would like to see the merit badge reinstated and about the many bee keepers you have in your area that would be great.

Here is the e-mail you would need to address that letter too Please copy and pass this letter to other bee keepers and gardeners in your area. This is not a boy scout project. I am doing this on my own. All expense is paid for by my parents. So please help get the word out. If you have any other ideas on how you could help please feel free to contact me. I would appreciate any thing you can do to help. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely, Christopher Stowell BSA Troop 250, Skiatook, Ok. e-mail

here are links to forms that can be filled out to help this cause:

If you do not want to do a public post, you can print, sign and mail this form letter to Christopher Stowell:

Finally, if you are a member of a beekeeping club, please ask your club to pass this resolution:

Lets pull together for something we love, and get this done!!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Mouse in the Hive

A couple weeks ago I started cracking open my hives to see what kinda damage the winter had done to my bees. In the fall I had put entrance reducers on all my hives except one, my "weak hive", which I was sure wouldn't make it through the fall let alone the winter into spring. Entrance reducers do just what they say, they reduce the entrance to the hive. It is an elongated wooden block that fits into the entrance of a beehive to reduce the size of the entrance. Reducing the size of the hive entrance is important when a hive is weak, or during the winter to reduce the cold air flow inside the hive and to keep out "hibernating pests".

So to my surprise this spring I opened up my weak hive and there were still a decent number of bees in there buzzing. So i mixed up some sugar water in an entrance feeder and applied it to the hive and commenced to going through the hive to check everything out. The cluster of bees took up about three frames. I started on the side where the cluster was at and everything looked good, I even found the queen and some eggs, But as I got a couple frames over from the cluster the story changed. The farther away from the cluster I got the more destroyed the frames of comb became. While pulling the last three frames (which had hardly no comb left) I noticed something in the bottom of the hive. Now I grew up in the country, been here pretty much my entire life, and I know a mouse nest when I see one! That was a mouse nest in the bottom of my hive!! It was over against the wall opposite of the cluster of bees. I am pretty sure that at least one mouse co-existed with my bees through the winter, and I'm thinking kinda like a "beehive duplex" sorta deal going on! So I cleaned the nest out, and grumbled about my destroyed frames of comb. Because that's just more work my bees are gonna have to do this spring by having to pull those frames full of comb when they could be putting up honey for us to harvest. All of us beekeepers know COMB IS VALUABLE!

Entrance reducer from W.T. Kelley's = $1.25
New wax foundation sheets = $10.00
Personal experience learned = PRICELESS

Here's pics of some of the "not so bad" frames...

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