CATCH THE BUZZ – Beekeeping Ambassadors Visit

American beekeeper royalty visits Greeley for some tips of the trade
A 2021 queen and princess ambassadors met with Local Hive executive

GREELEY, CO – MARCH 02:Tony Landretti, LocalHive CEO, left, gives a tour of the facility to Virginia Allen, 2021 American Honey Princess, center, and Jennifer Hinkel, 2021 American Honey Queen, right, during a visit to LocalHive in Greeley March 2, 2021. The American Honey Queen and Princess are crowned during the annual American Beekeeping Federation Conference and act as spokespeople for the organization for the year. (Alex McIntyre/Staff Photograph) By: Anne Delaney

Did you know honey bees breathe through holes in their abdomens?

They do. And, did you know you can do more with honey than add it to tea when you have sore throat? It’s true. Raw honey has medicinal benefits as an anti-bacterial agent, according to Healthline.

Then, there is the bees’ massive impact on our food supply.

“Without pollination, we don’t get the fully developed fruits and vegetables we eat,” said Jennifer Hinkel, a 23-year-old Wisconsin resident and advocate of honey bees and honey.

There are all kinds of interesting facts about honey bees and honey. Jennifer Hinkel and Virginia Allen, two 20-somethings from Wisconsin and Texas, respectively, will spend the next 10 months discussing bees and the beekeeping industry as a part of their year-long stint as royalty and ambassadors of the American Beekeepers Federation.

Hinkel, 23, is the 2021 American Honey Queen while Allen, 20 and a freshman at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton, Texas is this year’s American Honey Princess. The American Beekeepers Federation’s American Honey Queen program is an outreach endeavor in which the queen and the princess spend a year as spokespeople for the beekeeping industry.

The queens and princesses traditionally travel through the U.S., and even Canada, talking about honey bees and their importance in the ecosystem while visiting fairs, civic organizations and schools.

In the era of COVID-19, Hinkel and Allen’s work is altered along with almost everyone else. But the women have managed to continue their advocacy while WFH (working from hive) through virtual visits and demonstrations.

“We try to do fun things to get kids engaged,” said Allen, a marketing student who developed her interest in beekeeping at age 14 through neighbors.

Earlier this week, Hinkel and Allen were in Greeley to visit with the city’s unofficial bees and honey guru, Tony Landretti, the chief executive officer of Local Hive, a honey company with roots dating to 1924. Given Landretti and Local Hive’s interest in bees, beekeeping and honey, it made sense for Hinkel and Allen to stop in Colorado to talk shop with Landretti.

Hinkel and Allen were chosen as the honey queen and princess at the American Beekeepers Federation’s annual convention earlier this year and Landretti was a judge for the candidates.

“We cannot do what we do if not for American beekeepers,” said Landretti, adding the more his company works with beekeepers and the federation, the better it is for everyone.

Landretti said in the last two or three years it was the first time where income from pollination for U.S. beekeepers usurped commercial honey production.

“It’s also an opportunity (for Hinkel and Allen) to connect and say ‘we’re out here and we want to come back’ to your school or 4-H group and educate people about bees.”

American beekeeper royalty visits Greeley for some tips of the trade