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Brashier’s 4-H project keeps her buzzing with activity

STILLWATER, Okla. – It’s no secret Oklahoma 4-H’ers keep themselves busy juggling school work, 4-H meetings and their project work. But one project of a 4-H’er in Bryan County always keeps her buzzing with activity… literally.

Bryan County 4-H’er Doree Brashier is helping the agricultural industry through her bee-keeping project.

Doree Brashier, a member of the Bryan County 4-H Club and a junior at Colbert High School, not only raises traditional livestock such as show goats chickens, she also raises bees. At any given time, she has about a quarter of a million bees in the hives she keeps.

Doree said it was her family’s love of local honey that got her interested in this unusual hobby that has turned into a full-blown 4-H project.

“My family really likes honey. We wanted to get local honey, but it was hard to find,” Doree said. “So, we just decided to buy a couple of hives.”

And from there, the project took off. Rick Brashier, Doree’s father, said the family got started in the bee business in 2013, but Doree quickly spearheaded the endeavor. She now has nine hives with about 250,000 bees. Her mom, Kelly, and younger sister, Rylee, also share in the care-taking responsibilities.

“Doree is always first in line when it comes time to check on the bees,” Rick said. “We’re up to nine hives now. Bees are getting scarce and both girls recognize the need for bees to keep our food source.”

Aside from the great tasting clover honey, Doree said her favorite part of her 4-H bee project is sharing the message of how bees are involved in every part of agriculture. She is aware the bee population is declining and her project is one way she can help combat that problem.

“Bees are so important to agriculture because they pollinate crops,” she said. “Without bees, we can’t live. Some people just don’t realize how important bees are. Also, people are afraid of them. But, if you’re nice to the bees, they’ll be nice to you. They’re just as scared of you as you are of them.”

She has put her bee knowledge to good use in 4-H. Her 2017 4-H record book featured her bee project work and she was named the state record book winner in the agriculture and natural resources section of the all other projects category. With the honor she also received a $1,200 educational scholarship.

The Oklahoma 4-H Youth Development Program is known for providing hands-on opportunities for youth to develop life skills and become involved in their communities. Doree is actively involved in their town of Colbert, especially when someone finds a swarm of bees.

Doree said people can be afraid of the bees, so when residents in the area find a swarm on their property, they call on her family to come remove them.

“We rescued a couple of hives this past summer,” she said.

They spray the bees with sugar water and the bees will concentrate on cleaning the sugar water off their bodies. At that point, Doree and her dad can simply brush the bees into a box and relocate them.

One reason for these random swarms showing up is because they outgrow the hive they’re in.

“Part of a colony will go off on their own and find a new queen when it gets too crowded,” Rick said. “When this happens, that’s when we start getting calls.”

Because of the low populations of bees, the Brashier family is happy to come get them and help relocate the swarm.

Robert Bourne, 4-H Educator for the Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension office in Bryan County, said Doree is someone other club members look up to in the Bryan County 4-H program.

“She’s been an inspiration in her willingness to take on jobs and do whatever it takes to get a job done, especially in her bee project,” Bourne said. “Doree’s project is very valuable to our world, because without the bees we don’t have the ability to pollinate our crops, especially with our fruits and vegetables.”

As the population gets older, Bourne said some members of the younger generation are more interested in their cell phones and other technology. Fortunately, Doree is stepping up to the plate and is becoming part of the generation learning more about the importance of natural resources.

“Doree and her family are doing a great job in building that knowledge through her 4-H project,” he said. “We do have several bee keepers here in Bryan County, but it’s refreshing to see the younger generation involved in this aspect of agriculture.”

Doree not only does a great job with her bee project, she also is a great role model for other 4-H’ers in the Bryan County 4-H Club.

“She wants to take on leadership roles and she’s always there to be a bright, shining star to the younger kids. They look up to Doree, not just with her bee project, but with her goats and everything else she does,” Bourne said.

Doree said not only has she learned more about bees and their importance to the agricultural industry, her project also has helped her learn time management and responsibility.

“Through this project I’ve learned hard work makes things grow. If we work on our bee hives regularly, they’re going to grow and thrive. And that means we have more honey in the long run,” she said.

To learn more about Doree and her bee project, check out her story on the television program SUNUP.



Trisha Gedon
Communications Specialist
Agricultural Communications Services
Oklahoma State University
136 Agriculture North
Stillwater, OK  74078
405-744-3625 (phone)
405-744-5739 (fax)

Oklahoma State University - Stillwater, OK 74078

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