Beekeeping Merit Badge

Bring Back the Beekeeping Merit Badge

As a beekeeper and an Eagle Scout, I am a little disappointed that the Boy bee_keepingScouts of America have discontinued the “Beekeeping Merit Badge”. It has been discontinued since 1995. I know the Boy Scouts place a lot of weight on being involved in important civic matters as well as environmental conservation. It is my belief that it would be responsible for the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to reinstate the Beekeeping Merit Badge. This will give the young men and future leaders of our country the opportunity to learn about the honey Bee (Apis Mellifera) and the importance of the honey bee to our food chain and environment. These young men would also be able to learn about the challenges the honey bee faces.

The following were the requirements for the Beekeeping Merit Badge in 1995;
  1. Study a hive of bees. Remove the combs. Find the queen. Figure the amount of the brood, number of queen cells. figure the amount of honey in the hive.
  2. Show the differences among the drones, workers, eggs, larvas, and pupae at different stages. Tell the differences among honey, wax, pollen, and propolis. Tell how bees make honey. Tell where wax comes from. Explain the part played in the life of the hive by the queen, the drones and the workers.
  3. Hive a swarm or divide at least one colony. Explain how a hive is made.
  4. Put foundations in sections or frames. Fill supers with frames or sections. Take off filled frames or sections. Take off filled supers from the hive. Fix the honey for market.
  5. Write in not more than 200 words how and why the honeybee is used in pollinating farm crops. Name five crops in your area pollinated by honeybees.

Proposed Changes

Considering the changes that have happened in the beekeeping landscape in the past 20 years, these requirements could be expanded to allow for a more in depth learning experience. Instead of the sole focus of the merit badge being honey bees, the merit badge should be expanded to include requirements for solitary bees such as the masonry bee or leaf cutter bee. The solitary bees are native bees unlike the honey bee which have a European lineage. The scouts could build and install a solitary bee house.

Some other ideas to improve and revive the merit badge include the following;

  1. Create a pollinator friendly garden at their house.
  2. Write an essay discussing diseases and parasites affecting the bees like the varroa mite or the fould brood issues.
  3. Discuss the issues that have been presented with pesticide usage including spraying for mosquitoes, which recently killed 2,000,000 bees in South Carolina.
  4. Discuss some hive alternatives to the Langstroth hive. What are their advantages and disadvantages.
  5. Be able to identify different families of bees.

Petition to Bring the Merit Badge Back

For those who are interested in a Beekeeping Merit Badge, please go to Change.org and sign the petition. We have already amassed quite a few signatures on the petition and forwarded the petition to the Boy Scouts of America. There are many things you can do to encourage the Boy Scouts to bring the merit badge back. Be sure to contact your local counil, and you district executive. Reach out to the Boy Scouts at merit.badges@souting.org.


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