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Honey Shows and Showing Hive Products

Honey Shows are often shunned by beginners, and indeed more experienced beekeepers, as they do not understand the system, or perhaps do not consider their products of adequate standard. Those standards can best be achieved by trial and failure, as at each attempt you will learn something new, and be better prepared "next time".

There is no "magic" way to success, but diligent reading of the show schedule and paying attention to small details will help avoid simple mistakes that many make. If you look carefully at exhibits and judges comments you will learn a lot.

Some simple mistakes that are common are: -

I no longer show, but I was quite successful in the past, having my name on several NHS cups. Yes, it is fun, but very time consuming if you want the prize cards. I have heard many say they enter "to make a show of it", but I don't see the point unless you expect to win. Showing does give another interest and although I no longer show, I'm happy to help and support those who do.

I think it fair to say that it is quite probable that prizes are often lost because of mistakes, such as those mentioned above. Care in preparation is very important. There is a sort of unofficial pyramid, where the larger shows will expect the highest standards, but the smaller shows may be a little more lenient. I know there are stories of cheating, but I think a good judge will soon find a culprit out. Success will not come easily, especially in the top shows, as there is often stiff competition and the standards are guarded by the honey judges. In my experience, many of the modern judges I see are decent people who are fair and honest, freely giving their time after judging to explain their decision and any point that you do not understand.

There is always help available and one good source are the booklets that have been produced by the NHS that can be downloaded from the button top left.

There are many honey shows, often being incorporated into other events, but there are some that carry high esteem and are events in their own right. The National Honey Show is the largest event of this type in the world and attracts many entries of very high standard.

There is a honey judges qualification that is covered by the BBKA exam system. The criteria is quite stiff, so an ordinary beekeeper can't be a registered judge without training and assessment. I once heard someone, who was fairly new to beekeeping, say they could be a judge because they had a food hygiene certificate! You need an awful lot more than that and quite rightly so.

Originally written by Dave Cushman. Edited and additions by Roger Patterson.

Page created 09/02/2002

Page updated 21/11/2022