Pennsylvania State Beekeepers Association

Going Strong Since 1904

PA Honey Queen Report (September 2015)
  by Jessica Onstead - 2015 PA Honey Queen

Visiting Dutch Gold Honey in Lancaster, PA

September was another busy month of me, buzzing all over the state educating the public about the importance of honeybees. My month started off with a bang by visiting Dutch Gold Honey in Lancaster. Ever since my crowning I was crossing my fingers that I would get to tour the plant, so I was very happy to experience all that Dutch Gold had to offer. It was amazing to see the huge barrels of honey from all over the world that were waiting to be bottled and sent out to consumers. Later that afternoon I visited the Young at Heart club, where I put on a presentation covering basic honey bee facts. The seniors really enjoyed my presentation and asked many questions. It was so great to see how they anticipated my coming with providing honey sticks for all of the attendees.

My next event was close to home at Mountain Craft Days in Somerset. I enjoyed spending the morning with Whitehorse Mountain Apiaries and talking to festival goers about bees and honey. It s amazing how excited people get about purchasing locally produced honey, especially when they have liquid, chunk, and comb honey to choose from. Beeswax candles and cosmetic products were other items that the crowds were especially interested in.

The following week I had the opportunity to set up an educational display at the Berlin Brothersvalley Community Fair, which was viewed by fair attendees the whole three days of the fair. Later that week I was stationed at my table to hand out honey sticks as well as answer questions about the objects on my table. The display garnered a lot of interest in the Honey Queen Program as well as beekeeping in general.

In honor of National Honey Month, Somerset Trust Company in Somerset invited me to bring my bees to the bank as part of their monthly customer appreciation events. I had the opportunity to showcase my observation hive as well as hand out honey sticks and brochures to customers. Interacting with an observation hive is one of my favorite things to do as Honey Queen, so I was very happy to be able to show bank customers the inner workings of the hive.

The Angora Garden s Junior Gardeners enjoyed creating a honey bee inspired craft.

My final event for September took me to the Angora Gardens in White Oak, where I put on a short presentation, cooking demonstration and supplied a craft for the Angora Gardens Junior Gardeners. The group really appreciated my presentation and many were copying the recipe for my honey berry smoothies. After answering a myriad of questions the junior gardeners and I created honeybee magnets by decorating a clothespin with markers, googly eyes and iridescent pipe cleaners. After the event I was approached by journalists from the Tribune Review. I was overjoyed to find that the article and my photo were then featured on the front page of The Daily News.

But wait there is more! A Honey Queen s duties go well beyond putting on presentations and visiting fairs and festivals. This month I was able to acquire space on a digital billboard located at exit 110 of the PA Turnpike. The message proudly declares that September is National Honey Month as well as encouraging viewers to Buy Local Honey . I also met with a sophomore currently studying at The University of Pittsburgh who wanted to interview me about bees, beekeeping and my role as the current Pennsylvania Honey Queen for a thesis she is writing for her nonfiction writing class. Trust me, anything can happen when you are a Honey Queen!

As always thank you all for your support. I still have a few months left of my reign so please contact Rachel Bryson at or 717-300-0146 to invite me to your upcoming fair, club meeting or event. Looking forward to meeting you!

Best Wishes,
Queen Jessica

PA Honey Princess Report
  by Blair Hetherington - 2015 PA Honey Princess

September was a quiet month for me. Just starting my junior year at Penn State, I ve done lots of running around getting my semester going and getting moved into college. That being said, I peeled back slightly and had a calm month. I had a wonderful time going to the Juniata Fair and doing a presentation on pollinators and general beekeeping. I had many questions from the audience and even sparked some interest in farmers looking at getting into commercial beekeeping. What has really intrigued me are the opportunities to speak with adults on the beekeeping industry. I have had many great discussions on the future of agriculture and how bees can shape our industry.

As my reign starts to wind down, I m getting my scrapbook together and lots of paperwork for the beekeeper s convention. I am eager to see you all again in Lewisburg in about a month. I am excited to also see the new faces of first year beekeepers!!

PA Honey Queen Report (August 2015)
  by Jessica Onstead - 2015 PA Honey Queen

Hello everyone!

It s hard to believe that the end of August is upon us. It s beginning to look and feel a lot like fall, and honestly I m not sure where the summer went! I did a lot of driving this month and was able to visit five new counties. Looking forward, I am still challenging myself to visit as many counties as possible. So if you are interested in hosting me during an upcoming event or meeting, please feel free to contact Rachel.

My first event of the month was the PSBA summer picnic, which was hosted by Burgh Bees in Allegheny County. It was so nice to meet up with people that I haven t seen since last year s fall conference in Lewisburg. Aside from enjoying some delicious food, the picnic conversation revolved around the topic of queen rearing as well as concluding with the annual queen swap.

Later in the month I traveled to Centre County to spend two days at Ag Progress Days. I split my time between the PSBA honey ice cream and root beer stand as well as the education booth. In order to compliment the observation hive, there were also full hives located a short distance away that could be used for demonstrations. It was great to see people suited up in veils crowded around the hive anxiously waiting to see inside. It was a great testament as to how docile honeybees are. Surprise, surprise nobody got stung! During my second day I attended the Government and Industry Day luncheon where Princess Blair and I mingled with state legislators. We saw many familiar faces included Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding, previous Secretary of Agriculture George Greig, many state senators including Senator Vogel and Stefano, as well as other commodity queens.

The following weekend was quite the world tour for me. From Somerset County I traveled to Chester County to visit the Colonial Gardens for their annual butterfly festival. I was so happy to represent the honeybee during this celebration of pollinators. The gardens were a beautiful backdrop for the educational presentations and butterfly releases that went on throughout the day.

A big thank you to the Lehigh Valley Beekeepers for hosting me during their National Honey Bee Day Celebration!

Later in the afternoon, I hopped back into my car and buzzed up to Lehigh County where I spent the afternoon with the Lehigh Valley beekeepers during their National Honey Bee Day celebration. I really enjoyed this well put together event. Guests had the opportunity to observe bees in an observation hive, experience an extraction demonstration as well as get their hands on lots of beekeeping equipment. I was so happy to be a part of the celebration as well as be on hand to help educate and answer questions.

Answering questions by the observation hive at the Crawford County Fair

For my final event of the month I headed due north to Crawford County to participate in the Crawford County Fair. It was so great to be able to point out the queen bee as well as answer questions in front of the HUGE observation hive that was on display. Since the apiary exhibit was part of the Fair Detective Program we had a lot of interested kids (and adults) stopping by to ask questions. I also met up with the guys at Cool 101.7 Meadville who hosted me on their radio show not once, but twice! I was able to share several facts about honeybees as well as discuss the economic importance of these pollinators. Later in the afternoon I helped out with an extraction demonstration. I love it when there is an opportunity for the public to experience how honey gets from the comb and into a jar. It certainly isn t something you see every day!

As always thank you all for your support. I am looking forward to keeping busy the rest of the year so please contact Rachel Bryson at or 717-300-0146 to invite me to your upcoming fair, club meeting or event. Looking forward to meeting you!

Best Wishes,
Queen Jessica

PA Honey Princess Report
  by Blair Hetherington - 2015 PA Honey Princess

I had a fantastic month being Princess!! August was full of LOTS of travel. I would say so far being at the fairs is one of my best memories. I love getting the chance to meet each of the local county beekeepers one on one and learn more about the process of beekeeping. Sometimes I find it challenging to speak about beekeeping when most of my experience is through a book, but our association members have really taken the time to work with me and show me photos of their successes and downfalls over the years to help me better educate the public.

Princess Blair demonstrates how the smoker works at the Delaware County 4-H Fair.

On a sillier note, I was given the opportunity to go to the Delaware County 4-H fair where we opened up the hive to explain to people how the bees work. Forgetting that bees are not fond of the color black, I was stung in the eyebrow while giving the demonstration, but I kept chugging right on through as to not scare the public into thinking bees were frightening. Fun fact of my reign, putting Windex on bee stings actually does reduce swelling (family and I are assuming it is the ammonia in the mix that takes away the bump).

Princess Blair talking about honey at the Schuylkill County Fair.

I would like to personally thank the Freeman s of Twin Oaks Apiary in Schuylkill county and Dave s Apiary for being so welcoming and sweet to me all week of the Schuylkill County Fair. Both took the time to teach me much more about our lovely hobby and shared some great bear stories with me. Thank you to Julie and Rick for taking such great care of me all week and making my reign all the more sweet.

On a final note, I also had the great chance to visit the Harford fair and meet our northern keepers. There was a fantastic turnout for the youth of the county and thankfully Farm Bureau brought a great darts game, showing youth how bees pollinate numerous crops and had great fact sheet for students to take and learn more about how pollinators affect our crops and food supply.

I look forward to visiting the Bloomsburg Fair next month and the last bit of time I have left with the association. Thank you all for the fun I ve been experiencing thus far!

Don t forget, if you would like to invite me or Queen Jessica to your event, contact Rachel Bryson at or (717) 300-0146.

PA Honey Queen Report (July 2015)
  by Jessica Onstead - 2015 PA Honey Queen

Hello everyone,

Teaching Boy Scouts about the Queen bee.

What a month! July had me buzzing with a wide array of events. I started out by attending Cub Scout day camp in Berlin, PA. I spoke to 6 groups of Cub Scouts / Webelos about the three different types of bees in the hive, beekeeping equipment and how bees make honey. The boys loved getting a chance to try on the bee suits as well as getting their hands on a smoker. At the end of my presentation we played a water relay that helped to illustrate how forager bees bring nectar back to the hive, and then pass that nectar from bee to bee to bee until it reaches its final resting place, a beeswax cell. After the game everyone was able to enjoy the labors of their work by snacking on a honey stick.

For my second event I hopped on the back of my dad s convertible and cruised through the streets of Somerset in the annual Somerfest parade. This is Somerset s biggest parade with well over 1,000 people in attendance. I was able to chat with State Senator Pat Stefano of Pennsylvania s 32nd District before the parade got rolling. It was so great to hear the shouts of both children and adults alike that recognized me from visiting their schools and civic groups. I even ran into a girl who heard me speak in Waynesburg. Talk about a small world!

Reading to children at the Mary S. Biesecker library.

Later in the week I visited the Mary S. Biesecker library to participate in their summer reading program. I myself am a huge reader, so I was extremely happy to not only get the chance to teach local children about honeybees through reading but also advocate literacy. I was so excited to read them a book from one of my favorite series, The Magic School Bus. The kids really enjoyed the adventures of Ms. Frizzle and her class as they went Inside a Beehive.

For my fourth event I travelled to Hershey, PA to visit the beautiful Hershey Gardens and participate in their Butterflies and Beyond event. The event revolved around the four B s that are important to gardens: butterflies, bees, birds and bugs. The kids in attendance really enjoyed my Dress Like a Beekeeper activity as well as observing the honeybee specimens that the Hershey Gardens lent me to display at my table. The highlight of the event was when the group of 30+ students from China stopped by to learn about honeybees. They really enjoyed my facts as well as tasting some fresh American honey.

Meeting up with the 2014/2015 Somerset County Fair Queen and the 2015 Meyersdale Maple Queen.

For my final event I attended the Somerset County Extension Office s centennial celebration. I participated in the Bugs, Bugs, Bugs! event held at the Somerset County library where I put on an educational presentation about bees and honey. I then set up a display where people could examine photos of honey bees, get their hands on some beekeeping equipment, taste honey and ask questions. Towards the end of the evening I even got to meet up with some other Somerset County royalty, the 2014-2015 Somerset Fair Queen and the 2015 Meyersdale Maple Queen.

As always thank you all for your support. I am looking forward to keeping busy the rest of the year so please contact Rachel Bryson at or 717-300-0146 to invite me to your upcoming fair, club meeting or event. Looking forward to meeting you!

Best Wishes,
Queen Jessica

PA Honey Princess Report
  by Blair Hetherington - 2015 PA Honey Princess

Besides getting to see a lot more of the Northern parts of PA, I ve gotten better at getting lost and finding my way back to where I m supposed to be this summer! This month I spent a lot of time in parts of Pennsylvania that I never really knew existed. The views were fabulous and the presentations were a blast. I feel as though I m getting better every time at handling those off the wall questions from kids and doing an impromptu speech.

This month I spent lots of times in libraries (not complaining because all had air conditioning) focusing on pollination and what would happen to the food supply if the bees didn t exist. Sometimes saying without those bees, you couldn t have your cheese burger or any of the extra stuff that comes on it really gets to the students at a new level.

I also got to spend some time at the Lehigh Valley Zoo at Farm Fest. Being my first time at the zoo, I was astounded at how beautiful the place looked. I got the chance to meet with many children and even educate their parents on what flowers to plant to help pollinators. I d like to thank Cathy Voriseck for the great bee thumb print craft she did at Farm Show because that was an easy and portable craft to use with all my visitors!

I look forward to fair season starting up and hitting larger groups to explain our everyday work as beekeepers. Don t forget, if you would like to invite me or Queen Jessica to your event, contact Rachel Bryson at or (717) 300-0146.

PA Honey Queen Report (June 2015)
  by Jessica Onstead - 2015 PA Honey Queen

Hello all,

Presenting about eggs and larvae at Eagle View Elementary School

I can officially say happy summer! June started off with a bang with lots of events that were spread out all over the state. I began the month in my hometown of Somerset by presenting to 150 first graders at Eagle View Elementary. The kids were so excited to receive a visit from the queen because they had just spent the previous weeks learning about all different kinds of insects. They were so receptive to my presentation and asked so many intelligent questions. Luckily, I was able to procure an observation hive so that they were able to see the bees in action. It was awesome to be able to present the students with the opportunity to locate eggs, larvae, pollen, honey and the queen. After the presentation, I received handfuls of thank you letters from the students explaining how happy they were that I was able to come and visit.

Next I headed to the Somerset Lake Fest to be among the vendors who were spreading awareness for the conservation of local wildlife. Festival attendees were able to enjoy a sweet treat of honey butter spread over a vanilla wafer while I spoke to them about the importance of honeybees. I had many individuals stop by and inquire on how to get started in beekeeping and was so glad to provide them with helpful hints on how to become a beginner beekeeper.

Getting interviewed by a local Erie news station during National Pollinator Week

During National Pollinator Week, I had the opportunity to visit the Tom Ridge Environmental Center in Erie for their first annual celebration of foods created by pollinators. Guests were able to sample a myriad of delicacies including wine, almonds, chocolate, cheese and fruit. The PSBA offered several different varieties of honey for tasting so that guests could experience the different colors and flavors of local PA honey. Fresh honey comb was also available for tasting. The night was highlighted by a fascinating presentation by a Penn State graduate student who is doing research on honeybees and honeybee health. At the end of the event, I was interviewed by the local news station and my segment aired during the 11 o clock slot. It was so great to be able to reach out to over 30,000 people via television, especially during National Pollinator Week.

For my fourth event I visited the Somerset Rotary Club and presented on the chemical properties of honey and how that lends to honeys eternal shelf life. Clubs always seem to enjoy this presentation and this one was no different. I entertained lots of questions and was then presented with a lovely bottle of local maple syrup. Maybe in the future I can convince them to give out local honey instead? I think it s a good idea!

My final event for the month of June took place in Beaver County. I attended Senator Vogel s Kids Extravaganza and enjoyed handing out honey sticks and I heart honey stickers to the multitude of children in attendance. All of the kids enjoyed viewing the observation hive on display courtesy of the Beaver Valley Area Beekeepers Association and then stopping by and tasting the labors of the bees hard work! By the end of the day Senator Vogel himself even stopped by to check out the bees and discuss the importance of local beekeepers.

As always thank you all for your continued support. If you would like for me to visit your upcoming event please contact Rachel Bryson at or 717-300-0146. Hope to see you all soon!

Best Wishes,
Queen Jessica

PA Honey Princess Report
  by Blair Hetherington - 2015 PA Honey Princess

Hello Beekeepers! I had a splendid month traveling and doing my duties. I would love to thank the York County Beekeepers for inviting me to their summer picnic. It was such a wonderful event! The food was fantastic and the people were even better. I got the chance to mingle and speak to some of the local beekeepers and hear how the year has been going. We also had a smoker demonstration to help some new beekeepers understand the device better and how to keep it lit longer!

I also had the pleasure of going to the Bucks County 4-H meeting to give a presentation on beekeeping! This was one of the first groups I ve had this year that spent more time asking me questions than I did doing the actual presentation!!! I loved it because the students were extremely engaged. I was vastly impressed by the amount of knowledge they knew about beekeeping based on the advanced material they were asking questions on. I hope to see more of the state 4-H programs have as much interest and as good of behavior as this group!

That s all for this month, I can t wait to see what I have in store for the rest of the summer!!! If you would like to invite me or Queen Jessica to your event, contact Rachel Bryson at or 717-300-0146.

PA Honey Queen Report (May 2015)
  by Jessica Onstead - 2015 PA Honey Queen

Hello everyone!

I don t know about you, but Memorial Day excited me for summer! I am so looking forward to visiting county fairs all over Pennsylvania as well as attending other summertime events and festivals. I was able to visit two new counties this month, and am looking forward to visiting more in the near future.

Close up of the "attic window" style quilt that is being raffled off by Queen Jessica.

I started off the month of May by attending the Lewisburg Senior Health and Lifestyle Expo. Besides interacting with many people, I also had the opportunity to present on the wonders of the honey bee to a fairly sizable crowd. This was also the first event where I was able to debut the beautiful quilted wall hanging that I am raffling off for this years Queen s Raffle. I m very excited to begin raising money to support this fantastic program as well as the endeavors of myself and future Honey Queens.

Next stop was the Bear Creek Festival in Schuylkill County. This truly was a fantastic event that revolved around celebrating all things environmental, outdoors, natural and agricultural in the county. Kids of all ages flocked to my booth for a taste of honey and were then treated to an observation hive viewing courtesy of Twin Oaks Bee Ranch. I had an overwhelming amount of people stop by and inquire on how to start beekeeping. It s such a fantastic feeling to educate and encourage these individuals to take up beekeeping for themselves.

Riding in style during the Somerset Memorial Day parade

On Memorial Day I was able to ride in style in the Somerset Memorial Day parade. My Honey Queen banner was displayed proudly amongst many American flags as we drove to commemorate and celebrate those who have fought for our country. As I m sure you can guess, this Honey Queen doesn t throw out candy she throws out honey sticks! The crowd was overly excited to receive actual honey and shouts of I love honey! reverberated throughout the crowd. I was so happy to provide this sweet treat to youngsters, especially since it is so much healthier than candy!

Educating about the smoker at Camp Blue Diamond

My final event in May took place at the Blue Diamond Camp in Huntingdon County. I was able to speak to two groups of campers about the three different bees in the hive as well as dress them up in traditional beekeeping garb. They really enjoyed taking apart and putting back together my miniature model of a Langstroth hive.

As always, thank you all for your continued encouragement and support. If any of you are interested in hosting either myself or Princess Blair or purchasing a raffle ticket for the quilted wall hanging, please contact Rachel Bryson at or 717-300-0146.

Keep buzzing!
Queen Jessica

PA Honey Princess Report
  by Blair Hetherington - 2015 PA Honey Princess

April was a great month of promotions for me! I had the wonderful opportunity to be involved in some great educational experiences this month. I was asked to attend Midd-West High School for a Mother-Daughter event on April 10. At this event, vendors and educational groups from the state were invited for an evening to spend some time with these lovely ladies. I got the chance to educate them on beekeeping at a state and national level, and how important bees are to our ecosystem and food supply. The girls received it well and I enjoyed meeting the students to talk to them one on one with their mothers.

Princess Blair, members of the Beekeepers of the Susquehanna Valley and American Princess Hayden provided great information on beekeeping during the Senior Expo.

Later in the month on April 14, I had the chance to go close to home for the Senior Expo at the Bloomsburg Fair grounds. At the event, I worked with the American Honey Princess, Hayden Wolf, to offer honey samples to guests in the attempt to show them how bees going to different pollen sources can really affect the taste of the honey they purchase. I also got the chance to inform the public on local beekeepers in the area and where they can go for pure product. Overall it was a great success!

As we get closer to summer the schedule is filling up, but we still have some days open. To invite Queen Jessica or me to your event, contact Rachel Bryson at or 717-300-0146.

PA Honey Queen Report (April 2015)
  by Jessica Onstead - 2015 PA Honey Queen

Hello Everyone,

April was my busiest month to date. I was able to attend 7 events, in 4 different counties! Did you know that Pennsylvania has 67 counties total? So far I have visited 6 counties and have events planned in 6 more. I m hoping that I will be able to grow this number of counties visited by the end of my reign.

Queen Jessica had a great time meeting members of the Confluence Lions Club.

For my first event of the month I traveled to Confluence to speak to the Confluence Lions club about the fascinating chemical properties of honey. I received such a warm welcome and am looking forward to speaking to other Lions Clubs in the future. The following day I visited the Somerset Kiwanis Club and presented on the Langstroth Hive. I love educating the citizens of our state on how this beekeeping staple was invented by a fellow Pennsylvanian!

For my third event, I was invited to a local nursery school to educate on bees during their Insect Week. I read the students a book entitled The Beeman by Laurie Krebs, which gave them a little insight on what it s like to be a beekeeper as well as how bees create honey. After I was finished reading the story, the kids set to work creating some bee bookmarks and snacking on a honeycomb cereal snack. It was so great to sit down with local children and teach them all about how beneficial honeybees are to our environment.

Queen Jessica shows kids how to dress like a beekeeper at York's Go Green in the City.

In preparation for Earth Day I traveled to York to attend the Go Green in the City street fair. I had a fantastic time educating the 4,000+ visitors about honeybees as well as educating children about beekeeping garb in with my interactive Dress Like a Beekeeper display. It was so much fun to see the kids running around in a bee suit. You certainly don t get that opportunity every day! From York I then traveled to Hershey to attend the 93rd annual Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors Educational Conference and Trade Show. The PSBA set up shop to educate members of local municipalities on the best practices for handling honeybee legislation. We really got our organizations name out in there and many supervisors stopped for information and a free honey stick.

Queen Jessica is celebrating Earth Day at Waynesburg University.

For my final events of the month I traveled to Waynesburg to educate young and old about the importance of honeybees. I first stopped at the Waynesburg senior center where I presented on products of the hive, while also demonstrating how to create lotion bars from beeswax. All of the seniors really enjoyed asking questions and sampling the freshly made lotion. I then traveled to Waynesburg University to participate in their Earth Day fair. I was able to set up a table with lots of educational resources as well as hand out honey sticks to interested passerby. It was so great to reach out to college age students, especially the day before Earth Day. I did my best to express how extremely important honeybees are to our planet.

Thank you all so much for your continued support. If you would like for me to visit your county please contact Rachel Bryson at or 717-300-0146. Hope to see you all soon!

Best Wishes,
Queen Jessica

PA Honey Queen Report (March 2015)
  by Jessica Onstead - 2015 PA Honey Queen

Hello all!

It s finally spring! Although snow flurries are still on the forecast, the sun is beginning to show its face every once in a while in Somerset County. I don t know about you, but I am ready for some warm weather.

Thank you to everyone who makes Cornucopia such a successful event.

Earlier this month I headed to Harrisburg for my first ever visit to our state s capital building. I was both nervous and excited because I wasn t 100% sure what to expect. However the Cornucopia event greatly exceeded my expectations. The Pennsylvania State Beekeepers booth really stood out during the event as a crowd favorite. All of our state legislators appreciated the honey bears that we handed out. Many commented on how they look forward to stopping by our booth every year and how much they enjoy sweetening their tea with honey or drizzling it on their morning cereal. Toward the end of the night I had the opportunity to meet Lieutenant Governor Stack as well as the newly elected Secretary of Agriculture, Russell Redding. All in all it was so great to meet with our state representatives and discuss important issues concerning beekeepers and honeybees.

My next adventure came in the form of a vacation. Although I left my kingdom of Pennsylvania I still proudly represented the PSBA while I was in Florida. While traversing numerous flea markets, I chatted with several local beekeepers and bought more than my fair share of local Floridian varieties of honey. My cupboard is now stocked with Tupelo, Orange Blossom, Kumquat, Palmetto, Gallberry and Florida s Holly. I also met a future Florida honey queen named Selene. Little Selene helps her father manage their 300+ hives and bottles and sells her Sweet Selene honey. It is so exciting to see the future generation of female beekeepers!

Representing the PSBA at the Summer Smiles Honey Open House.

My second event of the month was a lovely open house hosted by Summer Smiles Honey Farm located in Stoystown, PA. I was able to set up shop in their fantastic honey house that was chock full of educational resources. Aside from hives, bee suits and smokers they also had two observation hives as well as numerous educational posters on the wall, one of which was designed by our 2009 Honey Queen, Maya Althouse. The honey queen s legacy lives on! Throughout the night I handed out lots of information as well as educated many about queen bees and how they populate the hive.

Looking forward, the final weekend of the month I will be attending the Meyersdale Maple Festival. A good friend mine won the title of Pennsylvania Maple Queen. I have already informed her that I support her reign; however honey tops maple syrup every time. Hopefully I don t wind up getting myself into a sticky situation with those fighting words...

Just a reminder, as summer draws nearer our schedules are filling up fast! I would love to attend any of your upcoming meetings or events. If interested in hosting either myself or Princess Blair please contact Rachel Bryson at or 717-300-0146.

Best Wishes,
Queen Jessica

PA Honey Queen Report (February 2015)
  by Jessica Onstead - 2015 PA Honey Queen

Hello everyone!

Queen Jessica talks about the queen bee during her presentation at Siemen s Lakeview Manor.

While entering into the second month of my reign I was able to spend February educating many in the Somerset County area about the wonders of beekeeping. I first paid a visit to Siemen s Lakeview Manor, where I presented a short educational speech and a cooking demonstration to a room full of hungry onlookers. After my demonstration, many reminisced about past cooking endeavors while they enjoyed my honey applesauce cake as well as some homemade honey vanilla ice cream. One woman in particular stands out in my mind because she began a conversation about how her husband had been a beekeeper. It was a very enjoyable afternoon, and I was glad that I was able to reach out and spend some time with the residents.

The following week I was invited to speak at a Pennsylvania Famers Club meeting in Rockwood, PA. For close to an hour I explained the inner workings of the hive, bee biology and interesting facts about the honey industry. Everyone enjoyed my colorful PowerPoint as well as the bee suit, smoker, and miniature Langstroth hive that I brought as a visual aid. After my presentation I was approached by the Rockwood School FFA teacher who expressed her interest in beekeeping. She asked many questions about how to get started and hopes to start a classroom hive. In the future, I m hoping to have the opportunity to visit the school again and speak with her students.

Queen Jessica showing off a PSBA 110th Anniversary t-shirt during the Western PA Beekeeping Seminar.

On Valentine s Day I travelled to Pittsburgh to attend the Western PA Beekeeping Seminar. I was able to introduce myself to the crowd as well as touch on what the Honey Queen program has to offer. I then spent the day interacting with those in attendance at the PSBA booth. In the afternoon, I had the opportunity to visit with the vendors as well as attend two very interesting seminars. The first seminar touched on the value added products that can be created from the hive. The second was a honey cooking demonstration where I learned how to make heart shaped honey lollipops. I also got to taste test honey raspberry lemonade, homemade honey granola and honey pumpkin bread. After the seminar I loaded up my car with PSBA brochures and t shirts and headed out into the snow to journey back to Somerset.

The following week proved to be a crazy flurry of activity. Unfortunately due to extremely cold temperatures, school was cancelled on a day I was scheduled to have four school presentations. I m hoping that I will be able to make that time up later in the year. I then set my sights on presenting at the Somerset Exchange club s weekly meeting. I was able to explain the secrets of honeys eternal shelf life to the room of business professionals. After I was finished presenting they asked me many questions including where to buy local honey. I was so happy that I was able to inspire them to buy from local beekeepers.

As always I would love to attend any of your upcoming meetings or events. If interested in hosting either myself or Princess Blair please contact Rachel Bryson at or 717-300-0146.

Best wishes,
Queen Jessica

PA Honey Princess Report
  by Blair Hetherington - 2015 PA Honey Princess

Greetings all bee enthusiasts! February was a month of firsts for me. That s right, I m talking about school presentations. I was very lucky to get the chance to attend the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture conference in State College.

Princess Blair with her new friends after her presentation at the PASA conference.

My opportunity was to teach K-2nd grade about pollination and the importance of bees. This demonstration proved to teach me more than the kids. Though the students had a fantastic time learning about the importance of pollination for their food source and how bees pollinating different plants can change the taste of the honey, I learned that honey tasting is not exactly the easiest thing to do with elementary students! Let s just say things got a little messy.

Overall I felt my presentation went well. I learned that sometimes asking young children if they have any questions leads them to not ask a question, but instead tell you the highlights of their day. This includes: what was eaten for breakfast, what time Mom and Dad made them go to bed the night before, and how well they can swim without floaties!

I thank the students for giving me the chance to learn about how much knowledge they had and to gain experience for my next school visit. I look forward to next few months of school visits! If you would like me or Queen Jessica to attend any of your events, please contact Rachel Bryson at or 717-300-0146.

PA Honey Queen Report (January 2015)
  by Jessica Onstead - 2015 PA Honey Queen

Hello Everyone! Greetings from snowy Somerset County!

I must say that my 2015 reign started out with a bang at the Pennsylvania Farm Show. This was my first time ever visiting the Farm Show and it really was a fantastic experience. I arrived in Harrisburg on Friday in order to start preparing for opening day. I had the wonderful opportunity to observe the honey judging as well as set up a display promoting the honey queen program. With the assistance of former Honey Queen Alyssa Fine we were able to create a beautiful, eye catching display that really got our program s name out there. We had many interested young ladies sign up to be contacted with further information about how to become a honey queen. Isn t that great?

Queen Jessica and Princess Blair met with then Gov. Tom Corbett during the PA Preferred reception at the PA Farm Show.

Later that evening Princess Blair and I had the opportunity to network with many different people at the PA Preferred gala. Throughout the night we shook many hands and were introduced to then Governor Corbett and first lady Susan Corbett. We also had the chance to chat with other commodity group representatives and several members of the Pennsylvania State Beekeepers Association.

Opening day at the Farm Show was both exciting and hectic. Princess Blair and I started our morning by presenting a basket full of honey, beeswax and pollen to Secretary of Agriculture George Greig. We then had the opportunity to represent Pennsylvania beekeepers in the parade of agriculture located in the main farm show arena. It was a fantastic feeling to stand in front of the crowds representing such an important industry. Later that day I had the opportunity to help with the PA Preferred Cookie, Brownie or Bar baking contest. Interestingly enough, the blue ribbon went to a brownie decorated with tiny sugar honey bees! After the contest it was great to be able to stand up on stage and invite the large group of people back to the three booths that the PSBA has at the Farm Show.

Queen Jessica greets Farm Show visitors during one of the many extraction demonstrations

Queen Jessica hands out samples of honey after an extraction demonstration.

Queen Jessica points out the queen bee to various visitors at the Farm Show Learning Center.

As the week wore on I had the opportunity to help out with several extraction demonstrations, one of which was broadcasted live on the Pennsylvania Cable Network. Afterward I stopped by the PCN booth to ask how many people view their Farm Show broadcasts. The number was a staggering, 1.8 million! When I wasn t helping out with extractions, you could usually find me at the observation hives. I ve discovered that I have a true passion for teaching young and old about the inner workings of the hive. I was also overwhelmed by the number of individuals who were interested in starting hives of their own but didn t know how to start. I worked to encourage them to begin and many left our booth with their arms full of brochures about classes, equipment catalogs and lists of local beekeeping clubs.

Once I returned home from the Farm Show I began to look forward to my next event, Somerset s Fire and Ice Festival. Although nowhere near the size of the PA Farm Show, I did have the opportunity to network with a good number of people. The children who I talked to really enjoyed the "I love honey" stickers that I handed out as well as petting my honey "bee"-gle, Zelda. Since Fire and Ice is a very pet friendly festival I also handed out homemade peanut butter and honey dog treats with a recipe card. This was a unique thing to do because many only consider honey for their personal consumption, even though it a healthy treat for our furry friends as well.

In closing, I would like to thank you all for your continued support of the Honey Queen Program. I would also like to give a huge shout out to all those who mentored me during Farm Show week as well as all the volunteers who donated their time to the education center, honey ice cream booth or market place. I am overwhelmed by your hard work and kindness and I am so proud to not only represent but be a part of such a spectacular group of people.

I hope to see you all in the near future! I would love to come speak at one of your future events or group meetings. To invite me or Princess Blair to your event, contact Rachel Bryson at or 717-300-0146.

Best wishes,
Queen Jessica

PA Honey Princess Report (January 2015)
  by Hetherington - 2015 PA Honey Princess

Who says being a Princess isn t tough work? This month I got the full view of the job in just one solid week! That s right, I m talking about the Pennsylvania Farm Show!

From January 9th-17th, I spent almost every day buzzing around the Farm Show. Many days were spent talking to the public and selling great products the PSBA had for sale at the show. It gave me a great chance to meet all of the great folks that keep our association running strong. I also really enjoyed helping out at the food court booth and getting the chance to talk to the public one on one about our industry!

The thing that I was truly thankful for at Farm Show was all the chances and opportunities I received to do interviews and reach a larger audience. What astounded me most was nearly all of the reporters I talked to had little to no knowledge about beekeeping. It really gave me a chance to educate them from the start and give them facts to share with their viewers/readers.

The best part of the whole week was definitely being asked to be an Angel Food Cake judge! I got the chance to see a completely other section of farm show that I normally would not get the chance to see. As a child I started out just volunteering for the Vegetable Growers Association and would see the food court every year at most. This year I was everywhere from the large arena to being interviewed by the newspaper over the phone in the corners of the pens. Any back way I could get to the booths to help the association, I found and memorized so I could be everywhere at once.

Overall I am thankful for the chance I had to represent the association this month. I made many connections with the public and loved every minute of teaching people about beekeeping. I helped them to understand the importance of our industry as well as they helped me to learn and adapt my teaching styles of all levels of understanding beekeeping. I would especially like to thank all of the volunteers who gave up so much of their time during the week to help in the booth and help me learn a little more about their products. I look forward to working with them all in the future!

And don t forget, if you would like me to come to any events this year, contact Rachel Bryson at or 717-300-0146.

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

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