The National Honey Show 2021 by Enid Brown

The National Honey Show was held 21st to 23rd November at Sandown Park Racecourse, Esher, Surrey. There were just over 1400 entries, which is down by about 1000 from 2019, but everyone was delighted to be back and good to catch up socially. My position there is Judges Referee and this involves appointing the judges, allocating the classes they have to judge and being available to sort out any problems. Fortunately, all were easy to remedy. It’s not just a honey show, there are lots of trade stands, lectures and workshops. I’ve posted a few photos below which might encourage some members to attend next year.

Congratulations must go to Jo Ramsay, DWF, for winning class 40 with her shallow frame of heather honey and congratulations also to Joyce Nisbet, SBA member, for first prize with her display.

Fife Honey Show 2021

The Fife Honey Show (which is part of the Fife Flower Show) took place this year, at Leven Parish Church Hall, Durie St, Leven, KY8 4HA, on Saturday 18th September and Sunday 19th September.

The aim of the Fife Flower Show is to encourage gardeners in and around Fife and beyond, to exhibit their plants, flowers, vegetables, wine, floral art, honey and more. It’s a small show and needs support to keep it going.

Entering the Honey Show is the best way to learn and an excellent opportunity to exhibit your honey and honey products and to have them judged by a renowned honey judge (our very own Enid Brown).

This year saw entries in several of the classes, with the results given below. It’s amazing to see all the honey lined up in rows, so much variety in colour and consistency.

Thank you to all those who entered their honey and hive products and congratulations on your success!


Class 251 Novice two jars of liquid honey

1st place Alistair Black

2nd place Ruth Harrison

3rd place Elizabeth Hutchings

Class 252 Novice two jars of granulated honey

1st place Ruth Harrison

2nd place Alistair Black

3rd place Elizabeth Hutchings

Class 254 Two jars of liquid honey-light

1st place Janice Furness

Class 255 Two jars of liquid honey-medium

1st place Elizabeth Hutchings

2nd place Kay Gordon

3rd place Liz Wyatt

Class 261 One frame of any honey (except Ling Heather)

1st place Joan Sneddon

Class 263 Two Containers of Cut Comb (not less than 227g each)

1st place Janice Furness

Class 265 Display of honey and hive products prepared for retail sale

1st place Janice Furness

Class 266 Six jars of honey prepared for retail sale

1st place Liz Wyatt

2nd place Jan Dixon

3rd place Janice Furness

Class 268 One block of beeswax between 227 and 454g

1st place Sheila Woodward

Class 270 Three identical candles made by any method (Judge may light one)

1st place Janice Furness

Kinross Show 2021 by Elna Chisholm

In mid-July the good news came through that the Kinross Show, after an absence of 2 years, would go ahead on 14th August 2021. As Enid would be on holiday at this time Jo Ramsay agreed to co-ordinate the event. The call for volunteers to set up on the Friday and man the tent on the Saturday went out to both associations.

Friday 13th (!) dawned and praying for a dry day the set up team of Jo Ramsay, Elna & Robin Chisholm, Sharon & Andy Rivers, Martin Kay, John Hendrie, Angie Blake and Jean Andrew assembled on site from 9.30 am to erect the gazebo and arrange the displays. Although windy, the rain held off until we had the gazebo up, at which point a heavy downpour ensued. By 11.45am the displays had been prepared and merchandise priced.

We closed up the tent and left the site, crossing our fingers it would survive any bad weather overnight.

On Saturday 14th at around 7.30am Robin and Elna arrived on site and on approaching the stand saw that the wind overnight had managed to partially open the zips around the doors. Although displays had fallen over, we were thankful to see nothing had been damaged and we quickly set to tidying up the gazebo. Around 8am John Hendrie arrived with the observation hive that he and Jo Ramsay had set up on the previous day. The rest of the show day team of Jo, Andy & Sharon Rivers, Ruby Rennie, Tim Masters, Sheila Fisher, Joan Sneddon and Chris Myerscough began to arrive.

For the first hour the showground was quiet and all the team took advantage of this time to finally meet in person the people they had seen on zoom over the last 18 months. From 11am the site started to fill up and we quickly had many members of the public coming onto our stand keen to learn about bees and beekeeping, a challenge to which all our volunteers were happy to rise. A last-minute addition to our display was a hive brought along by Andy. This along with our observation hive proved very popular with the public. The next 5 hours were spent enthusiastically engaging with the visitors on all aspects of bees.

The show site was operating Covid-19 level 0 regulations, with hand sanitising stations around the site and masks being worn in tents. All contributors had to complete Covid-19 Lateral Flow Tests before being allowed on site and temperatures were taken for both contributors and public before they were allowed into the event. Despite this, for the first time in many months, there was a sense of normality and the atmosphere around the whole site was very happy and relaxed. As the day drew to a close the whole team agreed it had been a very successful and enjoyable day. This was added to when we heard that we had been awarded “The Best Small Trade Stand” prize. We were doubly pleased when we found out the reason for the award was given as – Our live display and our engagement with the public, particularly the children.

Thanks go to all the volunteers; a great day was had by all.

Elna Chisholm

SBA Basic Beekeeper Exam 2021

The FBA and DWFBA encourage any beekeepers to think about taking the Basic Beekeeping Certificate. The entry requirements for taking the certificate is to attend a Beginners Class and look after a colony of bees for at least one season. The examination is a practical / oral “over the hive” assessment and has 3 pass grades: Pass (60%), Credit (70%) and Distinction (80%). 

It is a really worthwhile way to ensure you have all of the necessary skills and knowledge to help you become a really proficient beekeeper.

Information about the certificate can be found on the SBA website. Please do think about taking the examination, you might surprise yourself and get a distinction!

Here are some beekeepers taking their exam in Summer 2021

Looking Inside a Hive

The continuing Covid 19 restrictions are making it very difficult for us all to meet at a local apiary to get some hands on experience of beekeeping. With this in mind we thought you would enjoy a little beekeeping quiz to see if you can identify some features of a hive. The photographs and quiz where made for the children at St Leonard’s School apiary by an FBA member, Jo Goodburn

Which part of the hive can you see here?

How many frames do you think the bees are living on based on this photograph?

What can you tell about the outside frames?

How many varroa can you see?

What else can you spot?

Which part of the hive are these bees on?

What would you be able to tell about this hive if you opened it and saw this?

What might you be thinking about as options to do for the following weeks?

This photograph is from the same hive, which part of the hive are we looking at?

Seeing this photograph, how would you change your answer to the third part of the photograph 2 question?

What are these bees doing, what type of comb have they made?

There were a large number of varroa present in the hive in the autumn, which we treated. Looking at this photograph would you say the bees were healthy?

Feeding Bees in Winter

I did a quick feed check on all hives in between Christmas and New Year. It was good to see that in most hives the bees were quite far down, which is good. I placed a block of fondant directly on top of the brood frames as a safety precaution. The end of January into February and March is the crucial time. The queen will gradually increase her laying and more food will be consumed to increase the temperature in the hive. This is often the time of year when colonies starve. This whole operation took less than 1 minute. It is important to be quick and not let the bees chill.


Bees in a Cavity Wall

As lockdown eased, a team of beekeepers (Enid Brown, Margaret Thomas and Jo Ramsay) removed a massive colony of bees from a cavity at a dwelling in Lethangie. A stethoscope was used to locate the exact position of the bees.  A handheld circular saw and a hive tool helped to remove the plasterboard so that the bees and comb could be reached. The bee comb was placed into a nuc box, the bees were hoovered up and all of the comb was removed … a very sticky job. The bees are now doing well in their new location.

Learning in Lockdown

Even though lockdown has made it difficult to learn about bee keeping this hasn’t stopped the children of St Leonards School, St Andrews from using MS Teams to watch one of our association beekeepers installing a nuc in the school apiary. While FBA beekeeper Jo Goodburn handled the bees the P6 school teacher gave a commentary in the classroom as the children watched via a live feed.