Bee swarm trap project

EAGLE SCOUT PROJECT:  

Eagle Scout Candidate, Hunter Barnhart 

 

Boy Scout builds traps to help struggling honeybees

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Boy Scout builds traps to help struggling honeybees

 

BERRYVILLE — With the honeybee population on the decline, Winchester Boy Scout Hunter Barnhart, 13, wants to do something about it.

As a part of his Eagle Scout project, Hunter is building 12 bee traps to capture and relocate the buzzing insects to help build a stronger population.

The idea came about when Hunter read a local newspaper article about the struggling bee population, which cited information from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) that said Virginia lost 60 percent of its bee colonies last winter. That’s when Hunter decided he wanted to help.

He came up with several ideas before settling on making bee traps. He considered establishing and tending a beehive. Another idea was to plant wild flowers along roadways to make pollen for the bees. Both of those ideas had their drawbacks.

Then Hunter remembered he had worked with Doug Koch, 68, a member of the Beekeepers of the Northern Shenandoah (BONS), when he did a project with his school robotics team to assist bees. Koch then gave Hunter the idea to build bee traps, and he helped connect him with beekeepers who would be willing to set up the traps at their homes.

Hunter has always loved conservation work. He particularly likes planting trees.

“I love being outdoors,” he said.

Hunter plans to give the bee traps to local beekeepers in the spring. Either he or the beekeeper will climb 

up a tree to place the trap at least 20 feet from the ground. In the summer, he will likely help take down the traps, and the beekeepers will then use the trapped bees to create hives.

 

To capture the bees, Hunter put lemon grass oil on the plywood traps to attract them.

Hunter got help from other beekeepers on his project. Tom Miller, a BONS member, offered the use of his workshop and garage so Hunter and about 20 volunteers from BONS and the Boy Scouts could build the traps. They spent Saturday morning cutting pieces of plywood and assembling the traps with screws.

The traps provide bee swarms with more opportunities to go someplace together, since there are fewer places to go because of building developments, said Doug Morvis, 80, a BONS member from Delaplane who came out to help Hunter on Saturday.

“Because we’re having so much trouble with the bees keeping them alive, if we can capture swarms, then it just gives us more hives, more colonies to work with,” Morvis said.

Hunter raised most of the money for the materials for the traps through online crowdsourcing, generating $655 of his $800 goal. He also plans to submit his project for a Boy Scouts conservation award known as the William T. Hornaday Awards.

— Contact Anna Merod at amerod@winchesterstar.com