Featured Beekeeper of the Month
This month’s featured beekeeper is Pat Ennis.
He and his wife, Peggy, are back in Iowa after beekeeping in Hawaii.
Their honey business is called P & P Honey and they live in
Goodell. Here is Pat’s story.
I started keeping bee’s in 1981 while living
in northern Wisconsin, with just two hives, mostly for the fun
and the honey. The only bad thing about northern Wisconsin were
the black bears! They tend to be hard on the hives! As most beekeepers
know, you don’t just stay at 2 hives, so within six years
we had around 20 hives. Most of our honey was sold in 2 gal. and
5 gal. pails.
Pat Ennis catching queens for the Kona Queen Co. in sunny Hawaii!
“We would have a little stool that
you sit on with 52 queen cages in them”.
In 1987 lack of jobs forced us to move, and Iowa
is where we landed. We sold all our bee stuff in Wisconsin and
started over in Iowa. By the spring of 1988, we had 10 hives and
grew to around 90 by 2002. We sold liquid, comb & creamed
honey, as well as some candles. We also pollinated apples and
I enjoy being in the outdoors and seeing bees on the flowers,
and when you open a hive and see the bees all working together,
you can see God’s handiwork and it is just amazing! I belong
to the IHPA and the CIB clubs, but living in northern Iowa, it
is hard to do much with the clubs, but I do enjoy working at the
In 2001, I took a course at the University of Minnesota with Dr.
Marla Spiuak and Gary Reuter on “Successful Queen Rearing”,
so I could raise my own queens. In 2002, I took another course
at the University of Nebraska on “Mid West – Master
Beekeeping Workshop” with Dr. Marion Ellis. Both classes
were to help me with my dream, “to someday being a fulltime
In 2003, I sold out of the bee business, and took a job with the
Kona Queen Co. in Captain Cook, Hawaii. A dream come true! ( www.konaqueen.com)
Kona Queen is just less than 1 mile from Kealakekua Bay where
Capt. Cook landed in the Hawaiian Islands. (The best snorkeling
on the island!!) This was a big step, but I wanted to work fulltime
I could bring “NO” beekeeping things with me, because
the island is closed to bringing over any bees or any bee related
items. They have no bee disease, no mites, no Africanized bees,
and they want to keep it that way.
Kona Queen Co. ships queens all over the world, not just the USA.
A day at Kona Queen starts at 7:00 a.m. in the starter yard, with
around 280 hives in very close order ( picture #2 ). Here we raise
queen cells, from 1200 to 1600 a day. We would run 2 and 3 bar
frames hive with 16 cells per bar, putting new cells in and taking
finished cells out to take to the nuc yard. By around 9:00 a.m.,
we were in the nuc yards, catching queens ( picture #3 ) with
around 1400 to 2000 nucs per yard. We would have a little stool
( picture #1 ) that you sit on with 52 queen cages in them. You
could catch 4 to 6 boxes (208 to 312) queens in 5 hours (when
you get good enough!) I caught 28 queens my first day out, and
I was happy, but had a ways to go. Eventuality, I was catching
250 a day.
(continued on page 7)