FT. MYERS, FL -- For the first time since 1997, the Florida State Beekeepers Association has crowned a Florida Honey Queen.
    The Beekeepers Association of Southwest Florida (BASF) crowned Jayla Gillaspie, 17, as their Honey Queen for 2010.  At the 90th Annual Convention for Florida State Beekeepers Association (FSBA), she was crowned Florida Honey Queen for the year 2011.
    The Honey Queen Program, begun in the 1930's, is an ambassadorship of sorts.  Traditionally, young ladies are crowned by local beekeeper associations and hold their post for one year.  At the end of that time period, they compete at the annual convention of the  FSBA for the State Honey Queen position.  After one year as the State Honey Queen, she attends the American Beekeeping Federation (ABF) conference and competes with other states Queens.
    The Honey Queen program is a knowledge contest, not a beauty contest.  These young ladies, ranging in age from 17 to 24, are usually beekeepers or have grown up on an apiary, assisting their parents or other relatives with the bees.  In the case of the Florida Honey Queen, Jayla, she is a beekeeper who maintains her own hives and even sells her honey locally.  Jayla has been a beekeeper for more than five years.
    Queen Jayla will travel throughout the State of Florida over the next year lecturing and giving cooking demonstrations using honey recipes.  She is available to schools, scout groups, religious groups and other local bee associations.  Queen Jayla will be available for media interviews as well.
    To arrange for a visit by Queen Jayla or for more information please contact Beth Fox at (407) 702-2853 or via email at FlaHQP@aol.com.
                                               #  #  #