4-H and Bees in Muhlenberg County

In October of 2011 Darrell Simpson, the Muhlenberg County Extension Agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources, and 4-H Program Assistant Judy McGehee began planning how to involve their youth in becoming beekeepers and learn about the important role that bees play in the lives of every person.

The “Paradise Bee Keepers,” a beekeeping association in Muhlenberg County, was approached about financially helping the 4-H members get started. The Paradise Bee Keepers also assigned members to mentor the kids as they began their beekeeping journeys.

Word went out about this project and seven youths—Haley and Taylor Cornette, Josh and David McDowell, Olivia Perkins, Hannah McGehee, and Jonathon Henry—signed on for this new adventure.

Darrell Simpson contacted the Walter T. Kelley Company and ordered complete bee kits for each youth and placed an order for bees with a marked queen for each. Mentor Shurley Stirsman and Darrell picked up the kits and the fun began with the building of boxes and frames and getting them painted and ready for the arrival of their bees.

In April the 4-H youths headed to Clarkson, Kentucky to the headquarters of Walter T. Kelley to pick up their new bees. While at Kelley’s the youths enjoyed a demonstration from the staff on how to get the bees into their new homes.

It was an exciting day as each member and mentor came home and installed the new bees. 4-H members have to monitor their boxes and make sure all is going well. Most have already added supers to their boxes for their expanding colonies. Educational programs of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability, or national origin.

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