National Honey Show Newsletter March 2014

By   March 24, 2014

As you already know, an enthusiastic team works hard all year round to plan and bring you a bigger and better National Honey Show each year. You’ll be pleased to know that the postponement of proposed building work at St Georges means the venue is available for both our 2014 and 2015 Shows.

As usual, for 2014 we will have lectures by world class scientific researchers in the bee world. The provisional programme includes Dr Jamie Ellis University of Florida on the subjects of Research there, Honey Bee Biology, and their diseases and pathogens; Ann Harman, Vermont, US will talk on the topics of sugars and reducing stress on bees, and Pollination; Giles Budge on the work of the NBU; Prof Nikolaus Koeniger on honeybee diversity, and preventing re-infestation of varroa and Gudrun Koeniger on mating strategies to avoid inbreeding. Professor Stephen Martin will talk about life cycles of wasps and hornets, and Michael Badger MBE on maximising honey production in the urban environment.

The Friday BeeCraft Lectures provisional programme includes whether bees like the taste of honey by Nicola Simcock from the Institute of Neuroscience, University of Newcastle and Africanised bees by Ann Harman, Vermont, US.

Saturday lectures for those new to beekeeping, and/or just interested in the subjects will include Yearly Beekeeping Activities, and Products of the Hive for Showing.

On the subject of showing, we have two new classes this year: Class 6 for 2 jars of set honey; and Class 41 one bottle of sweet and one bottle of dry mead .

As last year, there will be lectures at 9.30am and 11am on the Thursday morning. The trade hall will open earlier, at 12 noon on Thursday. The main show opening ceremony is at 2pm, followed by exhibition of classes which opens after the judging has finished.

We want to encourage more competitive entries, and give our old hands a run for the prizes. Many of our experts are happy to both talk to newcomers at the show, and share their ‘secrets’ in the ‘how to’ workshops. We appreciate that many people are interested in how the judges arrive at their decisions. Judges have followed a long path of showing themselves, stewarding, and study to become judges and many are happy to share their knowledge and expertise. Time constraints prevent detailed comments for every entry, but two of the Gift Classes: Class 5: Two jars of liquid honey and Class 6: Two jars of set honey will have judges’ feedback for every entry. Many of the judges stay at the show during Thursday afternoon, some for Friday and/or Saturday, and would be happy to answer interested enquiries about the classes they have judged. Any exhibitor is free to approach any judges who are around after judging is complete.

As ever, the National Honey Show relies on a large team of volunteers, and all offers of help are welcome. Do contact us, – you can e-mail the Show Secretary at and he will pass your offer to the right person – if you can spare some time at the Show to help.

In 2013 we were successful in winning National Lottery funding towards the video project, and for the first time, were able to video some of the lectures, the first of which are available for all to view on YouTube. These have been expertly produced, and have been very well received, with large numbers of people viewing them. If you haven’t seen them yet and would like to, the simplest way is to put ‘National Honey Show YouTube Channel’ into Google and you’ll get there straightaway. If you don’t have a computer, your local (UK) library almost certainly offers free internet access and will help you find the videos. Check out whether they provide headphones and if not, take some along as the lectures are well worth listening to.

We would like to be able to offer this expensive, luxury, but very popular service again in the future and hope to attract National Lottery funding again. However this is not a reliable or complete source of funding, so we would welcome sponsorship. In addition, we would also like to expand the National Honey Show raffle to facilitate the funding of future videos. To this end we plan to increase the ticket circulation and also ……….. (for 2015) the prizes. We hope you will support this venture and – of course continue to support the National Honey Show itself.

Our spring leaflets, and raffle tickets will be available at the Thornes and Northern Bee Books stands at the Spring Convention, or you can e-mail us ( with orders. If you or a member of your association is coming to Harper Adams, do come along and collect some for distribution to your local associations and at your local and county shows. This will be much appreciated, not just by us, but by the thousands who are enjoying the lecture videos.

We have a unique collection of displays, lectures and networking opportunities at the National Honey Show, and look forward to seeing you at the Show this autumn: Thursday 30th October to Saturday 1st November 2014 once more at St Georges College, Weybridge.

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