The American Beekeeping Federation crowned Kayla Fusselman, 23, of Kempton, Berks County, as the 2018 American Honey Queen at the American Beekeeping Federation Conference and Trade Show in Reno, Nev., on Jan. 13.
“It basically was a big job interview process, being judged on writing skills, interpersonal skills, communication skills, and knowledge of the bee keeping industry so the preparation for it was really nerve racking but this is something that I’ve dreamed of. Getting crowned was really amazing,” said Kayla. “I feel really humbled by it because I have this great opportunity to represent the honey and bee keeping industry. I’m going to have an amazing year that I’m excited for. I’ll be doing something that I’m passionate about.”
As a national spokesperson for the American Beekeeping Federation, Kayla will spend the next year promoting honey and the beekeeping industry throughout the United States in a wide variety of venues.
“My passion for education and my interest in agriculture really made me realize that being the honey queen is like the perfect job for me because it puts everything that I love in one position,” she said. “I hope to educate on the importance of using honey and how we can help honey bees and how important that it is that we have our bee keeping industry. Honey bees are really important to everyone whether they know it or not. There are so many uses of honey that I think more people need to become aware of it. It is a great product for us to have.”
Kayla explained the importance of honey bees on the world’s food supply.
“The food we enjoy wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for honey bees,” she said. “Not only is the honey bee important but people should be helping bees by giving them a water source or by making sure they don’t use chemicals when they landscape and making sure they plant bee-friendly plants for the bees.”
Also, she said there are many varieties of honey and endless opportunities for honey use. Honey can be used as a cough syrup, can treat a sore throat or help heal wounds or burns. Local honey can help address allergies.
“You want raw, pure honey,” she said. “It’s also important to support your local bee keepers because they’re providing pollination for your garden and for foods that are at your local farmers market.”
Training to be the American Honey Queen began Jan. 31 in Wisconsin. Her first event serving as the new honey queen was the Florida State Fair Feb. 7.
While Kayla does not keep bee hives yet, she hopes to have her own bee hives one day soon. Kayla is passionate about agriculture, having been involved in FFA when she was a student at Kutztown Area High School, mostly flower arranging and leadership. She continues to be active with the Kutztown FFA chapter as an alumna.
“It’s just something that I’ve been really passionate about, education,” she said.
Kayla earned a bachelor’s degree in art education in 2017 from Kutztown University. She would like to teach art, preferably at a local elementary school.
Prior to being selected as the American Honey Queen, Kayla served as the 2017 Pennsylvania Honey Queen, promoting the honey industry at fairs, festivals, and farmers’ markets, via media interviews, and in schools. She was also crowned Miss Kempton at the 2013 Kempton Fair.
Kayla is the daughter of Brian and Diane Fusselman of Kempton and the granddaughter of Margaret Weller of Fleetwood.