National Honey Show Report

The 2013 National Honey Show took place between Thursday 24th and Saturday 26th October in the impressive surroundings of St. Georges School Weybridge.  Being temporarily in the area I took the opportunity to go along on the Friday of the show.

In addition to the honey show itself there was a trade hall with the usual stands found at beekeeping conventions.  This was open to the public although it seemed almost everyone there was wearing a rather impressive National Show Member badge.  I succumb to the temptations on offer and finally got myself a top of the range bee suit from BBWear at a discount saving £20 on the list price.  Another purchase was a pan feeder from the Maisemore Apiary stand,

Maisemore Feeder
Maisemore Feeder

no discount on this but saved delivery costs and had the chance to examine before purchase.  I was told this holds three gallons of syrup and with the double access points for the bees allows rapid takedown.  Being the same external size as a National hive no eke is needed.

 I also joined, for £10,  the Central Association of Bee-Keepers.  Geoff Bazin is a former member and had donated to me some of their interesting publications produced from talks given at their meetings.  Membership included three of their booklets on various subjects.

I took my purchases to the car and made my way to the main entrance for the show.

Entrance for non-members of the National Honey Show was priced at £15, but on enquiry I discovered that membership was only £12.50 which included entrance for all of the three days and free entrance for a guest and the opportunity to attend other meetings.  So a member I became, obtained my own badge, and was given the schedule for show which also included details of lectures and workshops on offer.

The number of entrants on show was impressive and so was the quality of the entries – although I am convinced that the frame of comb entered by Lesley Lewis to our own show would have obtained first place in that category.  But non-of the classes should be out of reach for many of our members if they were to enter.  You can read the full schedule here.

But this is so much more than a Honey Show, I have already mentioned that lectures and workshops were on offer and I took the opportunity to attend a talk by Celia Davies on Pollen.  Not surprisingly the lecture hall, with its raked seating obviously the College’s Theatre, and probably the size of the Torch Studio auditorium was packed to the rafters.  The talk was highly informative describing: the role of pollen in plants, to a greater level than the obvious; the process by which bees collect pollen and how it contributes to the health of the colony.  One interesting point was the relative value, not quantity, to the bees of pollen from various plants – for example the top plant was quoted as being Viper’s Bugloss Echium vulgare while plants such as Dandelion being of less value.  I regret not taking detailed notes.  Celia Davies was convinced that feeding of pollen substitutes or supplements should not be necessary provided that bees were being kept in area with varied plants available and the number of colonies were not excessive.

I spotted Dinah and John Sweet among those present and was able to have a brief chat.  We agreed that it was a pity that more visitors from Wales do not attend, it seems that the Irish turn up in numbers making it a regular and social occasion.

I will certainly be going next year regardless of where I am living. 
Hope to see you there.  Meanwhile hope you enjoy these photos.

John Dudman

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Colourful WBC display on Thorne’s stand
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Trade stand hall
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Entry in Equipment Class to help consistently position honey labels on jars
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Some of the mead entries
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Another entry in equipment class – allows honey jar feeder to installed or replaced without bees escaping from the feeder hole.
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Some of the honey entries
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Almost black honey!
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Artistic class entry
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Another entry in the artistic class
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Detail of wax tree atop previous entry
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Artistic entry based on pollen colours through the year – inspired by studying for a BBKA exam module
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List of pollen sources for the colour display