Jackie Park-Burris is the granddaughter of Leo and Ella Park, who in1913 homesteaded a farm in what eventually became Palo Cedro, California. Leo and Ella’s son Homer — Jackie’s uncle — started playing with swarms of honeybees on that farm when he was 7 years old. Homer grew up to become one of the most successful and prolific queen breeders in the country, establishing himself in the 1940s. In 1961, Homer convinced his youngest brother, Jack — Jackie’s father — to start his own bee business, and Jack became very successful, too.
Jackie grew up keeping bees under the tutelage of these two giants in beekeeping, who determined that Northern California’s central valley held the purest mating grounds for commercially raising Park Italian Queens. From the 1940s until today, the valley’s purity and space allows equal attention to be paid to rearing drones able to supply virgin queens with a lifetime’s worth of semen and rearing top quality, gentle queens able to put honey in the comb, almonds on the tree, and ample, healthy brood in the chamber.
Homer and Jack taught Jackie the importance of placing “Drone Mother” colonies near mating yards in remote areas. The health of drones is absolutely essential to the production of quality queens, and today Jackie typically produces 20-40 more drones for every Park Italian Queen she rears.
Jackie was managing the queen rearing part of Jack’s package bee business at his death in 1988. A few years later, Jackie and her husband Jim bought the homestead and the bee business from her mother, Joyce, and Jackie launched Jackie Park-Burris Queens in 1994. She also joined together with Jack and Homer’s descendants — Steve & Sharon Park, Shannon & Glenda Wooten, Pat & Bonnie Stayer, and now Daren & Alissa Wooters — to produce a line of queen bees known as “Homer Park Italians” or “Park Italians,” sold under the label “Wooten’s Golden Queens.”
In 2012, Jackie decided that she wanted to spend more time in the field managing queen rearing and doing what she loves best: catching queens! So, she began selling queens under her own label, “Jackie Park-Burris Queens,” but she continues to work with Wooten’s Golden Queens to ensure that the needs of the family’s collective Park Italian Queens customers are met.
Today, Jackie Park-Burris Queens produces over 20,000 Park Italian Queens per year, along with nuc sides for sale. In addition, her bees produce honey and pollinate almonds. Jackie has continued to increase her queen production with a hands-on focus of raising a superior queen that can handle the stress of today’s migratory beekeeping operations. Jackie is enthusiastically involved in breeder queen and drone selection, grafting, and moving of bees. She believes it is more important than ever to select for disease resistant stock and to keep the quality traits in Park Italian Queens that have made them such prolific layers and great honey producers for over 60 years.
Jackie is devoted to the quality of the Park Italian line and as a result has become the family Researcher, armed with her microscope. As part of her ongoing efforts to stay abreast of the latest in honeybee research, Jackie is a proud supporter of the University of California-Davis Bee Biology facility and the Harry Laidlaw Honey Bee Research Endowed Fund. Jackie loves her hands-on involvement in many areas of honeybee research, using her microscope as she dissects bees to inspect for tracheal mites and also as she monitors her hives for varroa levels. In this way, she can graft queens not infested with mites to create a line of bees resistant to these tracheal mites. Jackie also monitors her non-treated hives and selects her breeding stock from varroa mite tolerant queen stock. Jackie is committed to constant improvement of her queens in order meet the many challenges currently facing the beekeeping industry.
Jackie, along with many members of her family, is involved in state and national beekeeping organizations in order to keep abreast of the latest in honeybee research and development and to ensure healthy bees for pollination, honey production, and queen rearing for all the years to come. Jackie was the first woman president of the California Bee Breeders Association and is a past president of the California State Beekeepers Association.
Jackie is married to Jim Burris, and they are the very proud parents of two sons, Ryan and Randal, both graduates of the University of California-Davis.
2012. Jackie Park-Burris Queens. All Rights Reserved.