Honey Princess

My name is Elena Hoffman. As the 2014 American Honey Princess from Pennsylvania,  I travel all across the country to teach students, 4-H groups, and many other groups about the importance of honeybees and pollination in our everyday lives. I also attend many different events such as fairs, festivals, and farmers markets, and have interviews with tv, radio, and newspapers. To find out if the American Honey Queen or Princess can visit your school or community, please visit the American Beekeeping Federation website

On this page, I'll post about my travels as I "buzz across America!"

My Travels:
March

Princess Elena shows a family the queen bee
in an observation hive (Houston, TX).
March was a busy month for traveling. I was able to fly to both Texas and Connecticut! I stopped in Texas first for the Houston Livestock and Rodeo Show. While there, I worked alongside Texas Honey Princess Shannon La Grave and the Harris County Beekeepers Association. The Harris Country Beekeepers had an excellent educational display that included three observation hives and various types of honey. Shannon and I explained basic bee biology to onlookers of the observation hives and made sure they saw the queen honey bee before they left the display. Remember, there are three types of honey bees in the hive: the queen bee, the worker bee, and the drone bee! We worked at the display for two days and were also given the honor of being in the Houston Livestock Show’s grand entry. On our final day in Texas, Princess Shannon and I were given a tour of NASA. Did you know that on April 12th, 1985, NASA actually sent a colony of honey bees into space onboard the shuttle Discovery? 


During Ag Day at the Capitol,
Princess Elena speaks to an attendee about
joining the American Beekeeping Federation.
After having a wonderful visit to Texas, it was time to head to Connecticut. While in Connecticut, I had many wonderful promotions. The first promotion I attended was Ag Day at the state capitol. I worked with the Connecticut Beekeepers Association to talk to the public and Connecticut’s state representatives about beekeeping in their state. Did you know that order to keep honey bees in Connecticut, your hives must be registered? I was also able to meet the governor, Dan Malloy, and the Ag Commisioner, Steve Revisczky. Next, I traveled to Wamogo Agri-Science High School in Connecticut to present to a class on general honey bee biology. I was excited to find that at least two of the boys in the class had 4 hives or more! One of the boys was going to do research with top-bar hives as an FFA project. It was an amazing experience, and all the students were wonderful! Next, I helped with the Connecticut Beekeepers Association Workshop at Massaro Farms. I was able to introduce myself to all of the attendees and help answer any questions they had on beginning beekeeping. Did you know that honey bees prefer wood frames because wood (specifically trees) is their natural habitat in the wild? The workshop also allowed them to put a hive box together and construct frames. It was a really great workshop for getting started with beekeeping. The final event after Massaro Farms was a talk at the Ansonia Nature Center. I was able to talk to a group about the importance of the honey bee and answer plenty of questions on the first year of beekeeping alongside a few Connecticut beekeepers. We had equipment with us as well to show them what a beekeeper needs to start hives such as the hive tool, smoker, bee suit, and more. Finally, everyone there left with a little jar of Connecticut Beekeepers Association honey. The most common variety of honey in Connecticut is wildflower. 

February


Princess Elena crowning
Pennsylvania Honey Queen Kaylee Kilgore.
This month started out in my home state of Pennsylvania! I traveled from my college, in West Chester, PA, to Mars, PA for the Western Pennsylvania Beekeeping Seminar. The seminar was packed with a record attendance of about 450 attendees! I was able to speak to a majority of this group about the American Honey Queen Program and even crown a new Pennsylvania Honey Queen, Kaylee Kilgore. After this, past 2012 American Honey Queen, Alyssa Fine, and I prepared some delicious honey recipes in a cooking with honey demonstration. We were able to share great facts with the onlookers, such as, reducing over temperature by 25°F when cooking with honey to prevent overbrowning! If you’re interested in some honey recipes check out our blog recipe page at http://www.buzzingacrossamerica.com/p/cooking-with-honey.html

Princess Elena puts her head against a hive to listen
 to the honeybees keeping warm during the cold Minnesota winter.

The next and final place I went to this month was to St. Paul, Minnesota. Queen Susannah and I participated in the University of Minnesota’s Beekeeping in Northern Climates short course. For two days, we learned a lot of new knowledge about beekeeping in Minnesota like, for instance, how they cover their hives with boxes in winter to help keep the honeybees warm and drill holes in the front of the hives for extra ventilation. We even were able to stop by some Minnesota hives. Honeybees don’t hibernate or die in the winter, instead they crowd together tightly in a cluster and rotate from the outside to the core of the cluster, keeping the center temperature at 80-90 degrees. If you listen closely, you can hear the honeybees trying to keep warm during winter.  We were able to talk to some very knowledgeable people about honeybees while on this promotion. One of these knowledgeable people was Dr. Marla Spivak, an entomologist at the University of Minnesota. She has a great Ted Talk, “Why Bees are Disappearing.” Check it out at this link http://www.ted.com/talks/marla_spivak_why_bees_are_disappearing.html 


January
In January, I had my first travel experiences of the year. My first time ever flying on a plane happened at the beginning of the month when I travelled to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for the American Honey Queen Competition. It was a really exciting trip! I spent the majority of the week in Louisiana selling raffle tickets to help fund the American Honey Queen Program and talking to many beekeepers about their honeybees. I also gave a presentation on urban beekeeping. Did you know that it’s possible to keep honeybee hives on rooftops? At the end of the week, I was crowned the 2014 American Honey Princess! This year, I’m going to be as busy as a bee!

Next, I headed to Wisconsin and Iowa to train for my new position. I learned great new ways to teach children and adults exciting new facts about
Queen Susannah and I cooking delicious honey recipes! 
beekeeping,  
pollination and honeybees
. Did you know one honeybee only makes 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime? I also learned how to do media interviews and make some wonderful honey recipes in cooking demonstrations. I’m nervous and excited to start my busy year of travels from state to state promoting and teaching about honeybees! Check back here each month to see what I've been up to as the 2014 American Honey Princess.