Young co-op member discovers beekeeping, wins statewide awards
Preslie Pigg is an award-winning beekeeper. Courtesy photo
Preslie Pigg was 7 years old when she first suited up in the standard white beekeeping garb with a veil covering her face.
“I wasn’t nervous at all,” 8-year-old Preslie says, thinking back to her initial experience observing bees working in a colony.
A beekeeper friend, Marilyn Goodrich, had the beekeeper’s suit for her granddaughter who was about the same age as Preslie. She invited Preslie to visit her hive.
“She explained everything about the bees and gave her a little education on what they’d be doing when they checked the bees and how to stay calm,” Tina Pigg, Preslie’s mother, says.
Tina Pigg and her husband Jason Pigg, Southeastern Electric Cooperative members, raise cattle and horses on their ranch in the southeast Oklahoma. Preslie, a third-grader at Coleman Elementary School in Coleman, Oklahoma, raises chicken, and soon—bees.
Preslie’s experience, watching bees at work, fascinated her. Enough so that she created a 4-H project about honeybees. It explained their jobs in the hive and shared interesting facts about bees and honey. The project won her first place at the 2018 Johnston County Fair; she went on to win first place at the Oklahoma State Fair.
The project also earned her accolades from the Oklahoma State Beekeepers Association (OKSBA). They presented her the Excellence in Beekeeping Award as a way to recognize her interest in bees and encourage her as a junior beekeeper.
“This award was created because of Preslie and her accomplishments,” says Forest Chapman, OKSBA president. “We selected her because she’s so young and she won first place at the fair. We thought it would be a good way to help motivate young beekeepers like Preslie.”
The OKSBA is a network of more than 2,000 Oklahoma beekeepers. They are working to start a junior beekeeper’s program, for kids aged 8 to 14.
“The program will help promote beekeeping for young people to get them involved,” Chapman says. “Like almost everything, if you have an aging population, you have to get young people into it to keep it going.”
Along with her recognition, Preslie will receive a complete beginner’s hive setup, courtesy of Richard Henry of Henry’s Bee Supplies in Oklahoma City. The prize includes two hive boxes, frames, a frame grip, a hive tool, and a smoker.
Tina Pigg says Preslie has already begun planting flowerbeds with plants that bees like, in anticipation of her hive arriving. Preslie looks forward to having a farm stand where she will sell her honey, along with the eggs from the chickens she raises.
Asked what she would like others to know about bees, Preslie says: “Don’t squash them. About a third of the foods we eat are the result of honeybee pollination. They’re very important.”
For more information about beekeeping, visit OKSBA’s website: okbees.org.