Boy Scouts Beekeeping Merit Badge Update

As you may be aware, Christopher Stowell, a Boy Scout and 14 year old beekeeper from Oklahoma, recently led a campaign to reinstate the Beekeeping Merit Badge.

BSA recently announced its response to Christopher’s request, and the news is mostly good. While BSA is not agreeing to reinstate the Beekeeping Merit Badge, it is agreeing to incorporate beekeeping activities into several different existing merit badges.
Emphasis of the importance of bees and beekeeping will be added to or enhanced in eight existing merit badge pamphlets: Bird Study, Forestry, Gardening, Nature, Plant Science, Pulp and Paper, Environmental Science, and Insect Study. All of this will be accomplished by the end of 2015. One of those badges, Environmental Science, is needed for a scout to attain Eagle rank. Although the BSA is not reinstating a merit badge specific to beekeeping, it is making changes that provide opportunities to expose over 100,000 boys a year to the joys of beekeeping.

Beekeeping projects, such as working with a colony or harvesting honey, will be considered for addition to one or more of those merit badges so that interested scouts can earn advancement recognition for their beekeeping activities. The BSA believes this will increase the awareness of honeybees and their critical impact on our environment, and training America’s young people about caring for this important natural resource.


BSA does not currently know how many people will be willing to act as mentors for scouts who want to learn more about beekeeping. BSA may be reluctant to include a great deal of beekeeping activities as options for earning the merit badges unless the beekeeping community demonstrates that it will provide mentors to boys who want to learn about beekeeping.

RIGHT NOW, there are three things that you can do to help.

First, BSA has invited all associations and experts in the beekeeping community who are interested in helping with this project to e-mail us at Please put “bees” in the subject line.

Second, if you are interested in serving as a merit badge counselor, contact your BSA local council to initiate the process.

Finally, if you are willing to be a mentor, please contact BSA directly and let them know you are willing to be a mentor. BSA has requested that interested beekeepers e-mail them at: and please put “Honey Bees” in the heading. Just write a few words letting them know that you are willing to act as a mentor, and please give BSA a way to contact you and let them know what states and counties you are willing to mentor in.
Just write a few words letting them know you are willing to mentor. Give them a way to contact you and let them know the areas of your state/county wher you are willing to act as a mentor.

14 responses to “Boy Scouts Beekeeping Merit Badge Update”

  1. Darrell Westmoreland

    Please reinstate the Bee keeping merit badge. I am a Eagle Scout and enjoy bee keeping with my 2 boys.

  2. Timmy

    I am a Boy Scout with Troop 175 in Toms River NJ and I would LOVE to do the Beekeeper Merit Badge so please bring it back……….

  3. Kirsten Skeldon

    We are a beekeeping family and our younger son us a scout in Troop 591. We were very disappointed to find out the beekeeping merit badge was discontinued. Please reinstate this merit badge. Beekeeping is very important to our environment and there are many different aspects involved in keeping an apiary. This is a topic that should stand on it’s own and not be lumped into several other merit badges. Any scout would be proud to earn and wear the beekeeping merit badge.

  4. Paul Perry

    The beekeeping merit badge should continue. Bees are an integral part of our lives and food supply. Without bees we would suffer terribly. Most people when they think of bees think of honey or being stung. Few recognize that bees are not aggresive and that they perform an incredible role in pollinating not only our food supply but our need as a planet to reproduce plant life. All people who have made migrations have always carried with them the honeybee. Utah has the honeybee as it’s state symbol.

    With the overall problems destroying bees being documented regarding CCD (colony collapse disorder) it’s moreso important that this remain a merit badge boys can study. Otherwise – bees are seen moreso now than ever as pests that should be sprayed and destroyed when found. Bees are not a footnote in the world of insects or an honorable mention in Environmental Science or other merit badge. It’s an industry affecting billions of people and employs millions of bee keepers as a result of the their value to us. For example, no one hires someone to bring ants onto their property to help them with their farm or orchard needs but bee keepers transport bees thousands of miles every year to put food on our tables.

  5. Mark L. Dobroski

    I am a EAGLE SCOUT, and a Assistant Scout Master for Troop 288. San Antonio TX. My two sons Mark & Lukas also reached the EAGLE SCOUT rank. As a beekeeper, I have kept bees in HOUSTON TX , LAREDO TX, & now San Antonio TX area . Each area of TX, I have worked bees in offers different challenges: I am currently working with scouts fromTroop 288 , to potentially earn their BEEKEEPING merit badges: I am also a ALAMO AREA BEEKEEPERS ASSOCIATION member. I would be honered to be a beekeeper merit badge counselor.

  6. Phil Wofford

    I feel the more we have to offer scouts in merit badge studies the stronger our scouting program will become. I currently have several scouts and one of my adult leaders who are interested in the bee keeping merit badge. They were very excited when they thought that the merit badge was coming back. Please consider that sometimes the old ways are still very important even in todays world. I am sure that Baden Powell himself would agree that we should give our scouts every opportunity to learn skills that will stay with them the rest of their lives. Bee keeping is becoming a lost art and we need to ensure that it is past on to future generations of scouts. Thank you, Phil Wofford Scoutmaster Troop 86 in Harvest Alabama.

  7. Todd

    In my opinion, Beekeeping could quite possibly be in the top ten most important merit badges and the BSA refuses to recognize that? and when i am finally able to talk to someone of importance in the BSA organization they tell me that it has been incorporated into the “insect study” and “collections” merit badges, and that it just isnt relevant in todays society …and “basket making” is???? Lets take the “Reading” merit badge…Kids either read or they dont! If a kid is 12 years old and dosent like to or know how to read, the idea of earning the merit badge isnt going to change anything. In my opinion the “Reading” merit badge’ should be required to finish the Eagle award.

  8. Todd

    I am having some “Beekeeping” badges made for the 18 boys in my very small comunity that are directly involved in beekeeping. It’s ok if they arent recognized by the BSA, all of our boys understand the importance of it all.

  9. Cheri Moss

    Is there anyway to get a copy of the old beekeeping merit badge book? A scanned copy would be okay too. If anyone has one they would be willing to copy for me, I would really appreciate it.

  10. Hunter

    My mom is a bee keeper and wont’s to teach me to bee keep and she said maybe you can get a merit badge for it. So we look it up and we found that it was discontinued. We were in shock. So lets bring back the bee keeping merit badge.

  11. Norman

    As a new interested beekeeper with BANV and a ASM with Centreville Troop 893, I just sent my email in support of the merit badge. Thanks for the notification. The power of the internet is strong bringing people together.

  12. Mark Mettler

    Ruth & I are registered Scouters in the Coastal Empire. I am an Eagle Scout and Wood Badge Scouter I have volunteered my adult life to Scouting since 1981. We are members of the GA Beekeepers Association and the Coastal Empire Beekeepers Association and directly supporting the creation of the Ogeechee Area Beekeepers Assoc. I am a master beekeeper and have actively participated in many other merit badge opportunities. As others have stated the elimination of Beekeeping as a merit badge has been disappointing and BSA should consider why it has chosen to delete it and many other merit badges. We support the reinstatement of the merit badge. It is BECAUSE I earned the Beekeeping merit badge that I as an adult have become a beekeeper.

  13. Greg Stafford

    I was a Boy Scout, achieving the Life Award and failed achieving the Eagle Award by one required merit badge, one of my life’s biggest disappointments. I support the reinstatement of the Beekeeping Merit Badge. I have been a beekeeper for over 1 year, personally managing 6 colonies in my backyard, 5 out of the 6 survived this past winter. I purchased a Nuc to replace the one colony that died and just recently caught a swarm so now I am managing 7 colonies. I have just became a “Certified Beekeeper” through the Georgia Bee Institute at Young-Harris College, in Young-Harris Georgia and working my way towards becoming a “Master Beekeeper”. I live in Taylorville, Illinois and work in Springfield, Illinois. I would be more than glad to become a Beekeeping Merit Badge Counselor in Central Illinois. I am a member of both Linoln Land Bee Association and Sangamon Valley Bee Association.

  14. Pet Werner

    I have three hives in Los Alamos, N.M. and my 14-year old Life scout has his own hive as well. We’ve lamented that the badge is no longer offered and have lobbied the national organization to have it reinstated. As an adult leader in my son’s Troop, I would be happy to serve as a mentor and merit badge counselor, and know we could push 100 boys through these requirements annually through our community of five Troops. Let’s make this happen.

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