The Illinois Queen Initiative is a grassroots movement formed by several beekeepers throughout the state who believe that Illinois raised queens have better survival and productivity characteristics under Illinois conditions.  IQI trained beekeepers have learned breeding techniques to produce gentle queens that are disease and mite resistant as well as being good honey producers and winter survivors.  IQI training includes the methodology of testing for hygienic behaviors and mite loads.

Formed in the Spring of 2008, the initial beekeepers with the IQI vision were:

Stu Jacobson

Jacobson started keeping bees on Cape Cod, Massachusetts in 1973.  After getting his PhD in biology, he spent one year studying Africanized bees in Venezuela; he has also conducted research on honey bee management, overwintering nucs and on small hive beetles.  Stu is retired from the University of Illinois Springfield where he conducted education programs for university extension staff and volunteers, including one focused on pollination and honey bees.  He coordinates the Illinois Queen Iniative for which he obtained two small USDA grants for increasing the production and use of locally-adapted, disease and mite resistant queens.  He can be reached at jsvforr@gmail.com

Phillip Raines

Runs 300 hives in Northern IL.  He has been keeping bees since 1998.  He was president of the Stateline Beekeepers Association for seven years and served one year as V.P. for the ISBA.  He has been raising queens on a small scale since 2005 and has ramped up to produce several hundred each year.  He mostly works with Carniolans as they are very winter hardy in long northern Illinois winters.  Raines keeps bees on forest preserve land and several organic dairy farms in order to keep them away from agricultural chemicals. Raines Honey Farm is heavily involved with the local community. In order to help educate the public on beekeeping, gardening and nature, the Farm has observation hives at a local museum and at a nature education center, as well as a full sized hive at the local ABC television station.  He can be reached at phillip@raineshoneyfarm.com

David Burns

Master Beekeeper of the Eastern Apicultural Society of North America, beekeeper since 1994; beekeeping instructor; queen producer.  See his site at www.honeybeesonline.com or contact him at David@honeybeesonline.com