Pennsylvania State Beekeepers Association

Going Strong Since 1904

From the Honey Queen (December 2011)
  by Alyssa Fine - 2011 PA Honey Queen

Greetings, beekeepers! It's been another month and we find ourselves on the threshold of winter. For the Fine Family, the holidays are of a minor concern - my poor dad's more worried over whether or not to use fondant or sugar bricks to supplement the bees this season! Hopefully we'll overwinter well, as I hope all of you do, too.

November was not a particularly busy month for promotions, but the events that I attended were absolutely wonderful. On November 3rd, I traveled to Lebanon to attend a banquet in celebration of Lebanon Farm City Week. At my display booth, I prepared slices of pumpkin honey bread with buckwheat honey butter for the hors d'oeuvre hour, during which I was able to meet with many of the 250 people in attendance. I was asked to help model a beautiful "sheep to shawl" during the auction later in the evening. It was a wonderful event!

Conneaut Lake Elementary School

The following week was much busier! On November 6th I met American Honey Queen Teresa Bryson at Pittsburgh International Airport, and together we traveled to Linesville to work with Cathy and Charlie Vorisek for several days. Our first order of business was to assist with a "Honey to Money" donation for the local food bank. On behalf of the Northwestern PA Beekeepers Association, $560 worth of honey sales was donated to the Second Harvest Food Bank in Erie. It is estimated that every donated dollar translated to 17 food dollars, so this was a very sizeable and appreciated donation. Throughout the next two days, I worked with Cathy Vorisek to visit Linesville High School, Alice Shafer Elementary, Seton Catholic, and Conneaut Lake Elementary Schools throughout the area. I gave 16 school presentations to nearly 600 students, ranging from preschool through high school seniors. The students were very engaged and excited about honey bees, mostly because they all recognized "The Bee Lady" and they wanted to learn more about how honey makes it from the hive into the honey bear containers.

COOL 101.7 Radio Station Interview

The morning of November 8th, I was invited to COOL 101.7, a Linesville radio station. My 5 minute interview reached an estimated 35,000 listeners, and was also available online. What a great opportunity to represent the industry! Thanks are due to Cathy and Charlie for arranging the school visits and for all their hospitality during the trip.

November 8th, I traveled to the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium to attend Burgh Bees' annual banquet. I was given time in the program to speak about the PA Honey Queen Program and my promotions throughout this year, paying special attention to events which directly benefited their local organization. The rest of the evening, in addition to speaking with the 60 or so beekeepers in attendance, I helped by selling raffle tickets. It was a great evening. Thanks to Joe Zgurzynski and all of Burgh Bees for inviting me!

November 9th I made my way back to Erie to meet up with Teresa at the home of Charlie and Charlene Schroeck. Charlie took us to Asbury Woods Nature Center, where for many years he has managed a very vivacious observation hive. Charlie might be modest, but don't let him fool you- he is the most meticulous beekeeper I have ever met! He keeps a beekeepers log of individual hives that goes back to the 80's. I think this is part of his success; he analyses his hives, documents his approach, and learns from his errors.

Chestnut Hill Elementary School

The following morning, Charlie took me to Chestnut Hill Elementary School where I gave an hour-long presentation to 60 very excited students. It was a very enjoyable trip. Thank you again, Charlene and Charlie, for opening your home to me.

After promoting in Erie, I traveled to the PSBA State Convention in Lewisburg on Nov. 11th and 12th. During the annual banquet, I performed a preview of my 3-minute presentation for the ABF Convention this January. I am thankful for all the suggestions I receive for improvements. I also gave a summary of my year so far, which has included:

  • 122 Events
  • 25,000 Miles
  • 225,000 People reached
  • 4.17 Million reached through media

It's been a fantastic year, and I want to thank everyone at PSBA for making this possible. I had the opportunity to crown our new 2012 Pennsylvania Honey Queen, Jessica Long of Tyrone. She will be a great representative for the PSBA and I wish her luck on her travels next year.

Finishing out November, I attended the annual banquet of 2 Cs and a Bee on the 19th, where I was given time to speak about my travels this year. I had a great time seeing some familiar faces and also meeting new beekeepers in the association. Thank you for inviting me, Ken Hoover!

As the end of my reign draws near, I am looking forward with anxious anticipation to the American Beekeeping Federation Convention, which will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada this January, where I will represent Pennsylvania when I compete for the American Honey Queen title. Thank you so much for this opportunity. This year has been a series of incredible experiences. In preparation for the American competition, I am selling raffle tickets to benefit the national program. The tickets, which are for a Queen size quilt, are $5 each and you do not need to be present to win.

Thank you again and start your booking now for the 2012 season! If you would like to invite 2012 PA Honey Queen Jessica Long to your event, contact Rachel Bryson at or (717) 643-0010 today!

From the Honey Queen (November 2011)
  by Alyssa Fine - 2011 PA Honey Queen

Greetings, beekeepers! It is hard to believe that the year is passing so quickly. Here we are, already in November. I'm looking forward to our annual meeting and banquet and the crowning of next year's Pennsylvania Honey Queen and Princess. I hope to see everyone there!

I finished up the month of September at the New Holland Farmers Fair in downtown New Holland. I spoke to fifty people during the course of the afternoon.

October 1st I traveled to Ambler for the Southeastern PA Honey Bee Symposium, sponsored by Mark Atunes, president of the Montgomery County Beekeepers Association. I had a wonderful time meeting many of the 100 beekeepers in attendance from that area of the state.

October 6th I attended Farm City Day at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg. I worked with Tom Jones and Tom Lehman to reach nearly 700 students and their chaperones as they visited our extensive display about honeybees and beekeeping. The kids were excited to see the inner workings of the hive, and even more excited for free honey sticks!

Elizabeth R. Martin Elementary School

October 7th I spent the day at Elizabeth R. Martin Elementary School in Lancaster. I gave 7 presentations to nearly 185 students, Kindergarten through 4th grade.

October 8th I attended the York Beekeepers Association banquet. I was able to give a brief presentation outlining the duties of the Honey Queen and summarizing my travels throughout this year. Thanks again to Jeremy and Mary Barnes, as well as to the York Beekeepers, for their wonderful hospitality.

October 12th I traveled to the Montessori School of the Nittany Valley in State College to give three presentations to 45 students and teachers. This was my first experience with a Montessori School and I found it to be very rewarding. The children were very engaged and excited to learn. They especially loved exploring all of the tools and equipment as well as the products of the hive.

Sunnyside K-8

October 13th I traveled to Pittsburgh to speak at Sunnyside K-8. I visited two classrooms and spoke to 60 students about the importance of honeybees and beekeeping, even in a very urban environment such as the city in which they live.

Allison Park Homeschool

October 14th I visited a homeschool group in Allison Park to speak with 20 students about honeybees. This class had a focus on the pioneer days. It was great to talk about the evolution of beekeeping from skeps and hollow logs to the modern styles we use today, many of which were developed during or directly after the pioneer era.

October 15th I traveled to a Harvest Festival at St. Matthews School in Tyrone. I set up my booth and answered questions for nearly 75 interested adults and children who came by to learn more about honeybees and beekeeping.

October 19th I visited a Girl Scout Troop in Churchill to speak to 30 Daisies and their troop leaders about honeybees and beekeeping. The girls enjoyed a cooking demonstration where we tried Honey Berry Smoothies, a salad with Honey Vinaigrette Dressing, and Bee Sweet Banana Bread. You can find many of these recipes in my recipe brochure to try them at home on your own!

October 21st I visited the Mother of Sorrows School in Murrysville to speak to four classrooms of students, preschool through 4th grade. All 145 students got the chance to try a variety of honeys as well as an extremely local brand donated by the school nurse whose husband happens to be a beekeeper!

The end of my reign is quickly approaching. Before the year is out, be sure to schedule those last visits by the Pennsylvania Honey Queen or Princess. Contact Rachel Bryson at (717) 643-0010 or today!

From the Honey Queen (October 2011)
  by Alyssa Fine - 2011 PA Honey Queen

Hello beekeepers! Another month has passed and we find ourselves entering the Fall season already. It's almost time to start pulling those last supers and buckling down for colder weather. My last month of summer was quite busy with promotions work for the PSBA.

Presentation at Centre County Grange Fair

I finished up August with a trip to the Centre County Grange Fair on the 28th. I gave an outdoor presentation to a group of 75 children and adults before joining the children for their parade throughout the fairgrounds.

September 3rd I set up a booth at the Pittsburgh Public Market in the Strip District. I spent the afternoon answering questions for nearly 100 people who passed through my area. On September 4th, I traveled to Coburn for Crickfest, a sustainability festival. During the humid afternoon, I spoke to just about every person who attended, which I estimate at 300 people. September 5th I traveled to the Cambria County Fair in Ebensburg. Working with the local beekeepers, 2 C's and a Bee, we gave presentations to three groups of people. Despite the rainy conditions, we reached nearly 210 people that day.

September 8th I traveled to Blasco Memorial Library in Erie to speak with a very interested group of 20 seniors. I love teaching children, but it's always refreshing to work with adults who ask very different questions. On September 9th I traveled to Centre Hall to attend the Nittany Antique Machinery Show. Amid the old steam engines, I worked with Rich Walker at his education booth, teaching any passers-by about honeybees.

September 15th I set up a booth at the Market Square Farmers Market in Pittsburgh. During the afternoon, I spoke to approximately 50 people. September 16th I traveled to the Berlin Brothersvalley Fair in Berlin. This fair was unique because for the most part it took place inside of the local school. I spent my day giving short presentations to groups of visiting schoolchildren. I spoke to about 500 people that day. September 17th I got to visit the Great Insect Fair which took place at Penn State's University Park campus in State College. Honeybees were featured in many locations throughout the fair. Not only were there observation hives and a pollination station, but outdoors there was a varietal honey tasting booth and a screened area where a beekeeper opened up a full-sized hive in front of an audience several times throughout the day. Nearly 8,000 people were in attendance, all of which were impacted by honeybees. September 18th I traveled to Dalton to visit Roba Family Farms. During their teacher appreciation day, I passed out packets of information to teachers as well as answered questions for anyone who came past, totaling 100 people.

Pittsburgh City Council Meeting

On September 20th, I visited a meeting of the Pittsburgh City Council where they gave a proclamation for National Honey Month. September 20, 2011 was also recognized as Burgh Bees Day, due to the work that this association is doing throughout the city. I spoke briefly about the program, honey production, and the value of pollination before distributing honeybee-themed gifts to the nine council members.

Preschool Group at Mt. Vernon

September 21st I visited with a preschool group in Mount Vernon. I spoke to two classes for a total of 30 students. September 22nd I went to Wilson Christian Academy in West Mifflin to speak to a group of 80 students. September 23rd I visited South Butler school district in Saxonburg for their first ever PA Ag Products Day. During this event, students visited agricultural booths around the school grounds. I gave 16 mini-presentations to 150 students and their teachers. September 24th I traveled to Carrick Library outside of Pittsburgh to speak to ten people. Due to the small group size, we were able to talk in depth about honeybee topics that they found most interesting.

The school year is back in full swing! If you have any school-aged children, grandchildren, nieces/nephews, be sure to contact their teachers about requesting an educational visit from the Honey Queen or Princess. For more information, contact Rachel Bryson at (717) 643-0010 or

The Honey Queen Program exists because of the support of PSBA members across the state. If you'd like to donate to the program, please consider purchasing a raffle ticket for a beautiful handmade queen-sized quilt. All proceeds benefit the program and all the work that the Queen and Princess have been doing throughout the state. The winning ticket will be drawn during the PSBA convention in November, but you do not need to be present to win. Thank you for your continued support!

From the Honey Queen (September 2011)
  by Alyssa Fine - 2011 PA Honey Queen

Greetings beekeepers! Another month has passed and I hope everyone is having a successful season with their hives. I love this time of year because as we transition to fall weather, the honey starts to darken. In my area, we get a lovely red shade thanks to an abundance of Japanese Knotweed.

I finished up July with a few events. On July 25th I visited the Lebanon Area Fair. In addition to chatting with 200 guests, I gave two cooking demonstrations throughout the day. I whipped up honey berry smoothies, but the crowd seemed to be more excited about my honey vinaigrette dressing, which is listed in my recipe brochure.

Manuka Honey Demonstration at EAS

The next day, I flew to Providence, Rhode Island to attend the annual conference of the Eastern Apicultural Society with American Honey Princess Allison Adams. From the 26th through the 29th, I had the opportunity to attend a variety of workshops and demonstrations, all while representing Pennsylvania's beekeepers. My favorite part of the conference was the Apitherapy Room, where I learned to make a honey ointment, applied Manuka honey to a wound, and even got to administer bee stings!

On July 30th, I returned to Pennsylvania to attend the Fayette County Fair in Dunbar. I gave a presentation with my father about beginning beekeeping and helped to sell honey while answering questions for about 200 guests.

August has been jam-packed with promotions. On August 3rd I visited the Hollidaysburg Public Library and gave three presentations as part of the summer reading program. I reached nearly 90 people during this event.

On August 4th I traveled to the Lancaster Country Club to speak to 35 children about honeybees. They were thrilled to see PSBA member Lori Stahl show up in a bee suit and open up her hives located on the Country Club lawn. Afterwards, we tasted varietal honeys and I quizzed the kids about honeybees so they could earn their snacks. That same day, I visited the Eastern Lancaster County Library in New Holland to speak to a group of 15 children and adults. I traveled to the Goshen County Fair in West Chester on August 5th. I answered questions in the Ag tent and went on stage to auction a prize winning honey donated by Tim and Jenny Sterrett. I reached about 300 people through this event.

August 6th I set up a booth at the New Holland Farmers Market and answered questions at my observation hive for the 100 people who visited.

On August 9th I was back in the western half of the state in downtown Pittsburgh for the Carnegie Library's Market Square Reading Room. During the lunch rush, I set up my materials and answered questions about honeybees for the 50 or so people who came past. August 10th found me at the Butler Farm Show, where I worked with local beekeepers, helping to answer questions throughout the afternoon, and took part in an extraction demonstration. I spoke with nearly 350 people that evening.

August 11th I visited the Mountain Area Fair in Farmington. I brought my observation hive and offered information and fun facts about honeybees to the 75 people who made it past my booth. August 12th I traveled to Reedsville for the Mifflin County Youth Fair. I set up a honeybee ring toss game and my observation hive to grab the kids' attention. Not one of the 200 kids who visited my station that afternoon left without a honeybee sticker or coloring book.

August 13th I visited Woods Run Library in Pittsburgh to speak with a group of 15 children and adults about the importance of honeybees. On August 14th I set up a booth at the Washington County Fair where I offered information about honeybees as well as a variety of local honeys for purchase. I spoke to nearly 350 people throughout the course of the afternoon and evening. August 15th I visited the Squirrel Hill Library in Pittsburgh to speak with 25 children and adults. The kids were especially intrigued by the observation hive and spent a lot of time looking into it with my honeybee magnifying glass.

Ag Progress Days - Honey Queen with Secretary Grieg and Governor Corbett

August 16th through 18th I was at Ag Progress Days at Penn State's research center at Rock Springs. I worked alongside Princess Emily and American Honey Queen Teresa Bryson. In addition to taking honey ice cream orders and even scooping some myself, I had the opportunity to walk the grounds and even attend a luncheon with many local and state legislators. During the event, I had the opportunity to meet with PA Secretary of Agriculture George Grieg and Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett. I estimate that I reached at least 5,000 people during the three day event.

On August 19th I hit the air waves as I had a half hour radio interview with Dave Malarkey of Butler's WISR station. We spoke about everything from my experiences as PA Honey Queen to the healing properties of honey, and much in between! His broadcast had the potential to reach 35,000 people.

Extraction Demo at Crawford County Fair

August 20th I traveled to Downingtown to attend Honey Fest, a weekend event that benefits the Polycystic Kidney Disease charity foundation. I provided information about honeybees and passed out honeybee stickers to all of the 100 or so people who visited my booth. August 21st I was in North Western PA with Cathy and Charlie Vorisek at the Crawford County Fair. I pointed out the queen bee in an observation hive in front of an extensive display of honeys. I helped Charlie during a honey extraction demonstration, and Cathy helped me to get on air for a fifteen minute radio interview with Linesville's WMVL station that reaches up to 40,000 listeners.

August 22nd I worked in the education booth at the Westmoreland County Fair. I had the opportunity to spend time with 2009 PA Honey Princess Kelly Komar, who is now the president of her local association. What a privilege to work with her! I spoke to approximately 250 people throughout the afternoon. August 27th I traveled to the Hookstown Fair to work with the Beaver Valley Area Beekeepers Association in their education booth. I spent the afternoon selling honey donated by club members and answering questions about honeybees.

Whew! As you can see, it has been a busy month!

Well it's that time of year again- back to school season! If you have a child, grandchild, niece/nephew, neighbor, etc. who is in school, please consider passing along information about the PA Honey Queen Program to his/her teacher. Contact Rachel Bryson at (717) 643-0010 or email to schedule a visit by the Honey Queen or Princess today!

From the Honey Queen (August 2011)
  by Alyssa Fine - 2011 PA Honey Queen

Greetings beekeepers! Another month has passed and I've been very busy promoting the industry through visits to libraries and festivals.

I finished up the last week of June with two events. On the 26th, I traveled to Montgomery to take part in Schuylkill Canal Days, which attracted 3,000 people. I spent the afternoon providing information to the public and answering their many questions. On June 30th, I spent the day at a summer camp at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh. I used to visit Phipps often as a child, so I was happy to be able to speak with two groups of 50 inner-city children about the importance of honeybees and their role in food production.

July 7th I spoke with a group called Pretty Up Beechview, which aims to use gardening to make their community located in the Pittsburgh suburbs look and feel better. I spoke with 15 people who were extremely interested in honeybees. I also visited the Bloomfield Farmers Market where I passed out brochures and answered questions for the nearly 250 people in attendance that afternoon.

Honey Queen at Scranton Library

Honey Queen at another Scranton Library

July 8th and 9th I was in the Scranton area touring many of the local libraries. During those two days, I visited 6 libraries and spoke to 170 people. The kids were especially excited to look right inside of the observation hive and see what the bees were up to. On July 10th I visited Triple B Farms in Bunola to take part in their raspberry festival and answer questions for the 250 people who stopped by.

July 12th I traveled to Gladwyne Public Library to speak to 35 people. Although it was advertised mainly to children, the overwhelming majority were adults who were interested in beginning beekeeping. July 13th I visited Allentown Public Library to speak with a group of 35 people. One little girl works in the hives with her father, so she brought her own bee suit to model for the group. On the 14th through the 16th, I was in Zelienople for Horse Trading Days, a street festival that attracts 40,000 people annually. I helped to sell local honey and of course answered questions for the visitors, who were curious about the observation hive I had brought.

July 19th I traveled to Penn State University Park in State College to participate in Honey Day. I actually helped to organize this event with a friend who works in the dining commons. Many meals prepared in Redifer Dining Commons that day were made with local honey donated by Centre County Beekeepers. The final numbers indicate that 1,500 students and staff stopped by to try a taste of honey that day. I also visited Way Fruit Farm in Port Matilda to speak at Ag in the Classroom. I briefly spoke to two groups of 25 educators about the Honey Queen Program and provided information to them in order to request a visit by the Queen or Princess during the upcoming school year.

July 20th I visited Camp Anderson in Tyrone to speak to ten groups of Boy Scouts, totaling 200 people. I also attended a meeting of the Centre County Beekeepers where we learned some curious new ways to apply household items to beekeeping. Who knew a copy paper box could become a swarm catching unit?

Honey Queen visits Phipps Conservatory summer kids camp

July 21st I made a second trip to Phipps Conservatory to speak with another group of 25 kids during their summer camp. That evening I visited Holt Memorial Library in Philipsburg to speak with 25 people. I had visited Holt in March, and during that brief time, one family returned to tell me that they had successfully started two colonies of their own!

I hope to have run into you during our summer picnic either on the 22nd at Tom and Mary Chronister's farm in Dover, or on the 23rd at Lower Allen Community Park in Mechanicsburg. Princess Emily and I were given the opportunity to give an update on our activities so far this year. In addition to the picnic, I also attended Read Across the Valley on July 23rd in Northumberland to provide information and crafts for nearly 50 children and adults.

It has been a busy summer so far, but as always, if you have an event happening in your area that you would like myself or Princess Emily to attend, please contact Rachel Bryson at or 717-643-0010.

From the Honey Queen (July 2011)
  by Alyssa Fine - 2011 PA Honey Queen

Hello friends! Another month has come and gone so quickly. I hope everyone is getting a great nectar flow so far this summer. If you haven't started already, soon it will be time for honey extracting. It's so nice to finally see the fruit of your efforts as a beekeeper.

I finished out the last week of May with four events. On the 26th I travelled to Ringgold Middle School in Finleyville to speak with 55 students as part of a career fair series. Although I covered all the important topics, I also emphasized that beekeeping can be a full-time job and a career in itself. The students were amazed that some beekeepers and their migratory hives travel thousands of miles each year, pollinating crops in different corners of the country as the plants come into season. I also travelled to Everett Elementary School in Everett that afternoon to speak with two classrooms of 100 first- and fifth-graders.

The next day, I made a second trip to Freeport Area Middle School to speak with six classrooms of 175 seventh grade students. I spent all day in the classroom, and I don't think I was asked the same question twice.

On May 28th, I travelled to McVeytown for Country Memories Day, a street fair that attracts thousands of visitors. I was given a booth to display all of my beekeeping equipment, educational information, and recipe brochures. We even had an observation hive. Thank you again for all your help in setup, Joe Morgan! I have been told that at least 4,000 people passed through the fair that day, and a great many of them stopped by to see the inner workings of the hive.

My first June event took place locally (for me) at Triple B Farm's Strawberry Festival in Monongahela on the 11th and 12th. This was an exciting event for me, because I was able to tell each of the visitors that stopped by the honeybee exhibit that the strawberries they had picked were pollinated by my family's honeybees. The kids had a great time trying to spot the queen in the observation hive, while parents made sure to take home recipe brochures. I we had at least 800 visitors to the exhibit that weekend.

2011 Honey Queen visits Uniontown Public Library

Honey Queen visits Uniontown Public Library

On Monday June 13th, I travelled to Uniontown Public Library to speak to 55 children and adults as part of the summer reading program. Everyone got to try a honey stick and no one left without a honeybee sticker. The event was given a great review in the local newspaper, the Herald Standard. Thank you, Fran Zajac! On Monday, June 20th, I travelled to Schnecksville to attend the opening night of the Schnecksville Community Fair. I spoke briefly at the opening ceremonies and then spent the rest of the evening either at the display booth or walking the fairgrounds to hand out brochures and stickers. An estimated 4,000 people were at this event.

June 23rd I drove to Athens to speak at Spalding Memorial Library. I gave a presentation to 25 children and adults who asked very interesting questions. And the kids were able to make their own honeybee to take home.

I'm looking forward to a busy summer schedule for promotions, but I am always looking for more opportunities to spread the buzz about honeybees. If you would like to request a visit from the Queen or Princess, contact Rachel Bryson, or 717-643-0010, for more information. Now that summer has officially started, it's bound to get hot! Here's a great honey treat to beat the heat!

Peach, Chamomile, and Honey Popsicles
  • 6 ripe peaches, any variety
  • 2 Tbsp dried chamomile leaves
  • ΒΌ cup honey
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt

Clean, halve, and pit 4 peaches. Puree them- skin included- until the mixture is nearly smooth. Stir in honey, lemon juice, salt, and finely minced chamomile. Coarsely chop remaining peaches and combine with puree. Add honey to taste. Pour into popsicle molds or Dixie cups. Add wooden popsicle sticks if needed. Freeze. Makes 10 delicious pops.

From the Honey Queen (June 2011)
  by Alyssa Fine - 2011 PA Honey Queen

Greetings, beekeepers! I hope everyone is enjoying the early summer weather and all the swarming that comes with it. I was fortunate enough to collect two swarms this past month, which was a new and exciting experience. Promotions-wise, it's been a crazy month!

I finished up the last week of April with three events. On the 26th, I visited Bellefonte Library to speak with a group of twelve adults and children about the importance of honey bees. I really enjoy smaller groups because you can start a more involved discussion with them.

On April 27th, I travelled to Lamberton Middle School in Carlisle. What began as just one presentation for 70 students soon developed into an all day visit and three presentations, which reached a total of 200 students ranging from 6th to 8th grade.

On April 30th, I traveled with my family to the Community College of Beaver County in Monaca for Senator Vogel's Kids Extravaganza. During this two hour event, approximately 1000 children and adults visited our booth. Many parents seemed interested in inviting the Queen or Princess to a future event. My May promotions began on the 7th with a trip to the Dauphin County Agriculture and Natural Resources Center to participate in the Capital Area Beekeepers Short Course. It was great to learn new things in the company of friends. I was given the opportunity to briefly speak about the Honey Queen Program to the 65 beekeepers in attendance.

On May 9th I travelled to Halifax High School to speak to 2 classrooms of juniors and seniors, totaling 50 students. Some of the girls were especially interested in the Honey Queen Program, so perhaps we'll see some of them this November.

On Friday May 13th I travelled to Hayshire Elementary in York to talk to 175 second graders about honeybees, focusing on their unit discussion of insect life cycles, environment, shelter, and survival.

May 14th, I joined CABA members at Dave Anderson's apiary in Palmyra for the second half of the Short Course. We implemented our new skills by hiving a package, creating a nuc, and learning to identify diseases in the hive.

2011 Honey Queen visits Girl Scouts

Honey Queen visits Towanda Girl Scout Camp

May 15th I braved the the Pennsylvania wilds to speak with 70 girl scouts at their camp in Towanda. The girls learned interesting facts about honeybees, tasted some sweet honey recipes, and even earned a badge in the process!

2011 Honey Queen at John Beck Elementary School

Honey Queen at John Beck Elementary School in Lititz

May 17th was a busy day. First, I visited John Beck Elementary in Lititz to speak with 180 students from Kindergarten through 4th grade. I even spoke to a deaf classroom which required a sign language interpreter. The students taught me the word for bee! That evening I travelled to the Southeastern Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Manheim for a Pollinator Conference. This was a great opportunity to learn how to provide for and protect all native pollinators- not just honeybees. There were about 50 people in attendance.

On May 23rd, I visited North Dickinson Elementary in Carlisle. I spoke with three classrooms of students ranging from first through third grade, totaling 100 kids.

May 24th, I was off to Whitemarsh Elementary in Lafayette Hill, where I gave two presentations to about 420 Kindergarten through third grade studen?ts.

2011 Honey Queen at Freeport Junior High School

Honey Queen speaks at Freeport Junior High School

I traveled to Western Pennsylvania on May 25th to speak at Freeport Junior High School. I spent the entire day in an eighth grade science classroom talking to 170 kids about honeybees. Many expressed an interest in beekeeping as a hobby in the near future.

As the school year comes to a close, I find that my summer schedule seems a little bit bare in comparison. If you know of any groups that would benefit from a visit by the Honey Queen or Princess, do not hesitate to contact Rachel Bryson at for more details on how to request a visit.

It'll be a sweet addition to any summer program!

From the Honey Queen (May 2011)
  by Alyssa Fine - 2011 PA Honey Queen

2011 Honey Queen at Reading

Honey Queen giving presentation to Reading homeschoolers

Greetings everyone! It's been another fantastic month filled with promotions. I've been traveling two or three days each week, promoting the industry and answering questions along the way.

I finished up last month with three presentations in the Lancaster area. On March 30th, I spoke with 20 homeschoolers in the Gordonville area. Not only did we learn about honeybees, but we also got to try some tasty honey recipes, as well as samples of varietal honeys as well. On the 31st, I travelled to Reading to speak with 25 homeschoolers. After the presentation, I answered questions while the kids made their own honeybees. The next day, April 1st, I visited a homeschool group in York to speak with ten people. The smaller group turned into more of a discussion group by the end- everyone had their questions answered and we all learned new facts about honeybees.

2011 Honey Queen at Elbow Lane School

Honey Queen visits Elbow Lane School

2011 Honey Queen at Marion-Walker School

Honey Queen talks to Marion-Walker students

The following week, I made a trip out to Warrington to the Elbow Lane School on April 4th to speak with three groups of children from preschool through fourth grade. There were about 55 students in attendance. Everyone loved sampling the honey sticks, and no one left without a sticker.

On April 7th, I visited Marion-Walker Elementary in Bellefonte to speak to nearly 110 first and second graders all at once. These kids were extremely well behaved and asked great questions.

April 12th I began my Centre County Library tour at the East Penns Valley Library in Millheim. I spoke with 15 children and adults that evening. The next morning, I drove to Benton to speak with a classroom of fifteen very attentive middle schoolers. On April 14th I drove to Philipsburg to speak with a group of 20 people at Holt Memorial Library. Because of our location in a front room viewable from the street, many passers-by were drawn into the library to hear the presentation.

On April 19th I drove to Parkesburg to speak to a homeschool group. We had expected only 18 kids, but through word of mouth advertising, nearly 35 people from throughout the community were in attendance. Many parents were seriously considering ordering beginning beekeeping kits after the presentation.

April 21st I continued the Centre County Library tour by visiting the Centre Hall Library. About 15 children and adults came out to hear all about honeybees. The next day, I traveled to Williamsport to speak at the James V. Brown Library. We chose a location on the first floor where passers-by could easily enter on their way into the library. In this way, we were able to reach about 30 children and adults that day.

I truly enjoy what I'm doing and I'm thankful for it every day. However, I do need your help to ensure that I have the opportunity to promote the industry. Please don't hesitate to contact Rachel Bryson, 717-643-0010 or, to schedule a promotional visit from the Honey Queen or Princess today!

February Honey Princess Report
  by Emily Bruckart - 2011 PA Honey Princess

Hello! My name is Emily Bruckart and I am the 2011 PA Honey Princess.

2011 Honey Princess at PA State Farm Show

2011 Honey Princess at PA State Farm Show showing how hive works

My first event for the year was the Farm Show, where I was able to reach a wide audience to explain the importance of beekeeping to Pennsylvania. Many people already knew that bees produce honey, but it came as a surprise to some that bees' most useful function is as the primary pollinator for our flowers and food. Without bees, many here in Pennsylvania would go hungry.

2011 Honey Princess at PA State Farm Show

Princess Emily speaks at PA State Farm Show Extraction Demo

I participated in the Honey Extraction demonstration while at Farm Show, where we demonstrated how honey is removed from a frame, displayed some commonly used beekeeping equipment, and answered many of the audience's questions. One such presentation was broadcast multiple times on television throughout the state on PCN (Pennsylvania Cable Network).

There were many great places to visit at the Farm Show this year. I especially enjoyed the State Beekeepers Market Booth, which had products for sale from many local beekeepers. We had a rainbow of different honey types available, from light clover to dark buckwheat honey, not to mention beeswax candles and lip balm.

I also spent a great deal of time at the apiary educational booth near the famous Butter Sculpture, where we had two observation hives to display the inner workings of a bee colony. I especially loved the look of pure wonder in the eyes of some of our youngest visitors as they watched the controlled chaos of the bee hive, searching for the ever elusive queen bee.

Several newspapers took note of me as I worked to educate people about our industry at the Farm Show. An article appeared in the Reading Eagle and the Chambersburg Public Opinion, and a picture of me was published in the Lancaster Farming Newspaper. This media exposure reached approximately 117, 880 people. It is quite an honor to be recognized by the state community for helping our bees.

As first impressions go, this month was a great start to a wonderful year. I am so excited about all of the events that I will be attending in upcoming months, and I hope to see you there!

If you would like me to attend your event, please contact Rachel Bryson at 717-643-0010 or

From the Honey Queen (April 2011)
  by Alyssa Fine - 2011 PA Honey Queen

2011 Honey Queen at Cornocopia

Honey Queen with Pa Sec. of Ag, George Greig at Capitol Building

Hello everyone! I can't believe we've gone through another month already. They say March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb, but it's still been relatively cold here in State College. I hope everyone's bees are holding out for the warmer weather that's (hopefully) to come.

I've had a busy month of promotions. On March 8th, I traveled to the Capitol Building in Harrisburg to attend the PA State Council of Farm Organizations annual meeting. The afternoon of discussions culminated with Cornucopia, a taste of Pennsylvania foods. Governor Corbett released his budget that morning, so there were plenty of legislators in attendance. With the help of Charlie and Cathy Vorisek, and Tom Jones, we passed out honey bears to all the legislators. I was able to meet many of them and raise questions about future honey standards.

I traveled to Shrewsbury on March 10th to speak with approximately 75 homeschoolers. After the presentation, I provided a quick cooking demonstration with tasty honey samples, such as my family's own spring blend to a dark buckwheat. Afterwards, the children worked on making their own honeybee during craft time.

2011 Honey Queen with Hempfield Homeschoolers

Honey Queen visits Hempfield Homeschoolers

2011 Honey Queen tours Dutch Gold Honey

Honey Queen at Dutch Gold Honey

The following week was very busy. On March 15th, I traveled to the Priestley-Forsyth Memorial Library in Northumberland to speak with approximately 20 children and adults. On March 17th I visited the Hempfield Homeschoolers in Lancaster where I spoke to 50 children and adults. I think there may be some future beekeepers in that group! That same day, realizing that it was just down the street, I stopped by Dutch Gold Honey and was greeted with a warm welcome. I was able to tour the facility and even picked up a variety of honeys for taste testing during presentations. Thank you again, Jill Clark! On March 19th, I drove to the Bradford County Library to speak with a group of ten people. Although it was a small group, I was able to answer a lot of specific questions, mainly about beginning beekeeping.

2011 Honey Queen talks to L.R. Appleman Elementary School Students

Honey Queen visits L.R. Appleman Elementary School

I returned to L.R. Appleman Elementary School in Benton on March 25th, this time to speak with 125 first- and second-graders. I gave six presentations, which made for a long day, but it was great to spend time with these students. Although some of them might be fidgeting or excited to tell a "bee sting" story, you can always pick out at least one child who is simply fascinated and genuinely developing an interest in beekeeping… and that makes it all worth it.

The school year is almost over! Be sure to contact Rachel Bryson or visit for more information about booking the Honey Queen or Princess at your next event. I rely on your invitations to help me promote beekeeping, so spread the word to friends, neighbors, and acquaintances and invite me to your next event!

From the Honey Queen (March 2011)
  by Alyssa Fine - 2011 PA Honey Queen

2011 Honey Queen at L.R. Appleman Elementary School in Benton

2011 Honey Queen at L.R. Appleman Elementary School

Hello friends! It seems that February has gone by so quickly. I blinked somewhere around Valentine's Day and then this month was gone! That's probably due to the fact that I've been busy with promotions during the past few weeks. Whether it's putting together a display board or gathering supplies for crafts, there's usually any number of things that I can be doing to get ready for any upcoming presentations. My first official presentations took place on February 18th at the L.R. Appleman Elementary School in Benton. I spoke to three groups of sixth grade students throughout the day, totaling 60 students. I couldn't have asked for a better group of kids. They were interested, involved, and they asked great questions.

On February 19th, I attended the Western Pennsylvania Beekeeping Seminar hosted by the Beaver Valley Area Beekeepers Association in Cranberry. I brought my presentation materials and had them on display to give an example of what I bring to schools and festivals. I spoke to the approximately 300 in attendance about the Honey Queen Program and how to request the queen or princess at any upcoming events. Overall, it was nice to see some familiar faces and spend some time socializing with a great mix of beekeepers in the area.

2011 Honey Queen at Hollidaysburg Public Library

2011 Honey Queen at Hollidaysburg Public Library

I travelled to the Hollidaysburg Area Public Library on February 24th to speak to approximately 30 children and adults. These kids were mostly younger, between the ages of 4 and 7, so I brought a "Make a Bee" craft for after the presentation. I don't know what they're doing out in Hollidaysburg, but these kids are smart! I asked questions during the presentation, and they knew more about honey bees than the adults! A few kids were very excited to try on the bee suit and gloves, and one little boy promised me that he'd be a beekeeper when he was 9 years old and could fit into the suit better. It was a fun evening for everyone.

As we move into March and (hopefully) warmer weather, there will be more opportunities for presentations. Please don't hesitate to contact Rachel Bryson, 717-643-0010 or, to schedule a visit from the queen or princess. I absolutely enjoy what I'm doing and I'd be glad to have the opportunity to travel to your event.

From the Honey Queen (February 2011)
  by Alyssa Fine - 2011 PA Honey Queen

Hello everyone! My name is Alyssa Fine and I am your 2011 Pennsylvania Honey Queen. I'm brand new to this position, but after hearing nothing but great stories from our 2010 Honey Queen, Teresa, I am anxiously looking forward to an incredible year of school presentations, seminars, festivals, and fairs.

2011 Honey Queen at PA State Farm Show

2011 Honey Queen at PA State Farm Show Ice Cream Stand

2011 Honey Queen at PA State Farm Show

2011 Honey Queen at PA State Farm Show Learning Center

Although my reign does not officially begin until February 1st, I was afforded the opportunity to visit the 95th annual Pennsylvania Farm Show for a few days. On Friday evening, I attended the Governor's Reception banquet, where I delivered a gift basket filled with many of our PA honey products to PA Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding. On Saturday morning, I participated in the new Parade of Agriculture during the televised opening ceremonies for the Farm Show. I spent my next few days between the PSBA's three booths located throughout the complex. I especially enjoyed answering questions in the Learning Center, to which many people young and old alike were flocking in order to see our two observation hives. I talked so much that by the second day, I was beginning to lose my voice! During slow times, I would take a stack of honey recipe brochures and stickers and circle the complex, encouraging people to visit the Learning Center.

On Monday evening, the PSBA performed a honey extraction demonstration, which was televised live on the Pennsylvania Cable Network. I spoke briefly about myself, my interest in beekeeping, and my upcoming year as the 2011 Honey Queen. PCN has approximately 2 million viewers, many of whom mentioned during the next few days that they had seen the demonstration and were simply fascinated.

Notable events also include a brief interview with Dave Williams on Pennsylvania Farm Country radio, which has 1.5 million listeners in the eastern half of the state; a quick interview with a reporter from Blue Ridge Channel 11 that reaches 35,000 viewers; and meeting Governor Corbett and many other legislators during the Public Officials Day luncheon.

I am excited to begin my year as Honey Queen, but I need your help and support to make sure that it is a great year. If there are any events in your area that might enjoy having me as a speaker, I would be more than happy to attend. Please contact Rachel Bryson at 717-643-0010 or and set a date for me.

I am ready to represent the industry and create a buzz about honey bees!

Current 'From the Honey Queen' article and detailed contact information available on our Honey Queen Program page.

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