Please Welcome the 2006 Iowa Honey Queen
Another year has come and gone along with the
Annual Meeting held in Marshalltown. All of those who attended
can attest when I say it was a weekend worth while. Many ideas
were tossed around and tips passed down including the reign of
the Iowa Honey Queen. During the banquet, I was crowned the 2006
Iowa Honey Queen. For those who don’t know me, I will give
you a brief background.
My name is Elizabeth Macken and I live on a small
acreage outside of Readlyn. For those who care to know, our town
phrase is “857 Friendly People and 1 Old Grump”! I
attend Wapsie Valley High School were I am currently a senior.
During the school year I am involved in various activities including
dance team, golf, FFA, class Vice President, and working the sports
concession stand for athletic events. Outside of school I am involved
in piano, youth group, LYO board member, and the Rainbow Clovers
4-H club. I also work at the local Boy Scout camp during the summer
and at the Iowa State Fair. After graduation I plan to attend
college during the fall either at the University of Iowa, University
of Northern Iowa, or Central College majoring in Anthropology.
I began raising bees in May 2004 as an SAE project
through FFA. After learning some intriguing facts about these
insects, I was hooked. I bought a single hive from Ken Nuss. He
and Al Buenning have been influential mentors through out this
whole process. They taught me a lot about bee keeping basics but
that wasn’t enough. There are some things that can only
be learned through trial and error such as preventing swarms and
remaining calm after being stung. Though things didn’t always
go as planned, there were never any terminal problems, thank God.
By the end of my first season I extracted 37 pounds. Looking back,
even though it was not a lot of honey, I am just glad it was a
pleasurable learning experience that I was able to earn some money
The winter season passed smoothly and the next
honey season was about to start. My original hive had become so
strong that I decided to make a split, not once, but twice. My
dad also got into the beekeeping business. On our acreage, we
had a combined total of four hives, two each. At this time I joined
the newly formed NE Iowa Honey Producers club and was also elected
to represent the NE District. It is nice to be able to have a
“support system” especially if you are a newbie. To
say the least, this past year wasn’t the most pleasant when
it came to working with my hive. It was definitely a learning
season focused on how to work with an aggressive hive. Though
the bees weren’t the most fun to work with, I was amazed
at how well they did at the end of the honey season. By the time
I extracted, I collected 151 pounds from only my original hive.
Beekeeping is a hobby or career where one can
never know what to expect or know all there is to know. I am excited
to be able to represent Iowa as I continue to learn more from
others and share what I have learned. I look forward to seeing
you through out this upcoming year. Until then, keep warm and
enjoy this short break.
Sincerely, Elizabeth Macken
If you would like to contact me for any reason, reach me at: 2853
260th Street, Readlyn, IA 50668
Home # = (319) 279 – 3892
Cell # = (319) 269 - 7212
Winter is almost over so it is time to start
taking an inventory check which includes plans for the upcoming
season. This was one of the topics of discussion at the NE Iowa
Honey Producers meeting. It was the first meeting of the year
for this new group and 28 people showed up. Of them, there were
several people who came to see if beekeeping was something they
would be interested in starting. Ironically enough, the topic
that we talked the most about was disease. That’s a sure
fire way to get their attention!
After thoroughly confusing our guests, the focus
of the meeting switched to starting up a new hive. We were taught
several ways to which a queen can be introduced along with the
pros and cons of each method. They even provided us with a visual
demonstration of how it should be done.
Various subjects came up and many of the long time beekeepers
shared what they found worked for them over the years. As you
may well know, no one had the exact same way of doing things.
This goes to show that you can guess and plan what your hive will
do under a certain situation, but you will never really know the
outcome until it happens. Most of the time, the outcome is the
complete opposite of what you expected. For all of the new beekeepers
out there, including myself, try not to let this discourage you.
Simply think of it as yet another challenge. So as you go out
to check your equipment and prepare for the spring, think of all
of the exciting challenges you are about to face.
2006 Iowa Honey Queen