Saturday, 9 October 2021
Incorporating the County Honey Show
A fantastic day out for people thinking about taking up beekeeping, as well as old hands who want to learn a whole lot more.
Tools and techniques for making beekeeping easier – Ken Basterfield
A talk about the many techniques that Ken Basterfield has developed or adopted and the things he has made over 40 years of beekeeping to help with the heavy work of managing bees more efficiently.
Wonderful things about bees – Professor Robert Pickard
In this erudite talk ranging from the Big Bang to modern times, Robert offers his insights into the similarities and differences between human and honey bee societies and suggests what we, as humans, can learn from these tiny insects.
So you want to keep bees? An introduction to beekeeping as a hobby – Richard Rickitt
This talk is aimed at people who are considering taking up the hobby. Richard explains what is involved in becoming a beekeeper, a little about the essential kit and what you need to know to get going.
Reading bees – Ken Basterfield
Do people really know what to look for when inspecting their bees? Seeing whether there are swarm cells in the hive or not isn’t enough to tell you how the bees are faring, what they might do next, or how you should respond to their needs. This talk will help beekeepers new and old to really ‘see’ what their bees are telling them.
Speaker Biogs here.
2021 Show sponsors
2021 Show exhibitors
- Talks on beekeeping
- Candle rolling
- Explore inside a virtual hive
- Honey beer tasting
- Mead tasting
- Exhibitors offering bee related food, drinks, gifts and products as well as beekeeping kit.
Maps – location and parking Devizes Map
More to follow
2021 Press coverage
- Article in Wiltshire Life – The buzzy life of a beekeeper and her bees – in May 2021 edition, p42, 3pp
Helpful articles and media
Why exhibit at honey shows
I have never been a competitive person and when I first got my bees, and joined West Wiltshire branch, I had no interest in, or any intention of, showing honey or wax products.
In fact, I felt it was a waste of time. When the branch honey show was due – and really needed members to participate – someone suggested I should enter at least in the Novice Class of 1lb of honey.
Not wanting to upset anyone, I did and came second. The judging was open, and the judge explained why he had reached his conclusion. I was annoyed with myself when I realized that, with a little more care, I could easily have done better. That was the day I became addicted to showing.
Since then, I have read a lot and listened a lot to people who have experience of, and success at, showing. I have entered many shows at branch and county level, and at the Bath and West Show. With each one entered, I have learned more and I have had a fair amount of success.
The more classes you enter, the more likely you are to win something. One of the Classes I have never entered is mead, so I have been reading all about how to make it and hope to enter my first bottles later in the year. This is one of the great things about showing – it’s a good opportunity to discover other aspects of your hobby. Showing is fun. If you haven’t tried it yet, why not have a go this year?
Geraldine Lenert, West Wilts
First published in the Honey Bee Times 2017 No 1
How to win at honey shows
Showing your honey and other hive products is an immensely enjoyable aspect of beekeeping.
Have a go at entering one or two classes in your association show. If you enjoy this, why not enter the County Show? Then there is the Bath and West Show, or even the National Honey Show. To be in with a chance of winning, here are some top tips when exhibiting.
- Most classes require 1lb squat jars with gold coloured, screw on, metal lids.
- Ensure the jar is clean and free of any fluff from drying cloths.
- Ensure there is no rust on the lids of honey jars and wash the lids to remove any loose white sealant from the inside.
- Attach no labels other than the class labels supplied, unless it is a class As for shop sale.
- Full jars, no daylight showing between the honey and the lid.
- No scum on the top of the honey. This can be removed by laying cling film on top of the honey and then lifting it off. Anything left can be removed with a small spoon.
- Clear honey should be perfectly clear with no granulation. Look carefully at the bottom of the jar and you may see crystals starting to form. To melt these, place the jar in hot water. Do this at least 24 hours before the show.
- Soft set honey should not move when the jar is tipped sideways, and the crystals should be small so the texture is pleasant.
- Honey that granulates quickly, such as oil seed rape, will granulate with small crystals. If OSR honey is mixed with slower granulating honey, it will all granulate with acceptable small crystals.
- Chunk honey must not be granulated in the comb and should be placed in the jar the right way up – as it is in the hive. The surrounding honey should be the same as that in the comb. Remove any small bits of loose wax.
- Cut comb honey should be allowed to drain before being boxed so that the outer cut cells are dry. Again, honey should not have granulated in the cells.
- Frames of honey must not have granulated and all cells should be completely sealed across the frame.
- Use your best wax with the lightest colour. This will come from cappings.
- Wash wax in rain water or distilled water to remove honey and dirt.
- Filter it well to remove any foreign bodies – J cloths are very good for this.
- When staging candles, ensure they stand secure and upright in their candle holders.
- Prepare the wick by dipping in the wax before inserting in the mould.
- Make sure wick is centred all the way down the candle.
- Inspect any wax products when they are finished to make sure there are no small black specks showing.
- Cool wax moulds very slowly to prevent cracking on the top. Turn off the oven and leave to cool overnight.
Geraldine Lenert (West Wilts BKA)
First published in the Honey Bee Times 2017 No 3
How to make dipped candles
For a short video on how to make silky-smooth straight dipped candles at home with minimal kit, click here.
The Wiltshire Bee & Honey Day 2020 was cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions
More about Wiltshire Bee & Honey Day 2019
2019 Press coverage
- Wiltshire Times post event coverage
- Gazette and Herald post-event coverage
- Wessex Water post-event coverage – page 19
- Wiltshire Times pre-event coverage
- Swindon Advertiser pre-event coverage
- Gazette & Herald pre-event coverage
- This is Wiltshire pre-event coverage
- Wiltshire Life Magazine pre-event coverage 1/8/19
- Wessex Water pre-event coverage – page 17
Lynfa Davis, a Master Beekeeper based in west Wales and regular contributor to the BBKA News. Lynfa currently has 15 colonies which she manages for honey and raising her own queens. She talked about Comb – how and why bees make it and how to manage it and Honey bee communication – a look at how bees share information and communicate with each other
Norman Carreck has kept bees for nearly 40 years, and has been a bee research scientist for 28 of those at the University of Sussex. He is the UK member of the international honey bee research network ‘COLOSS’. He talked about: The future for local bees in Britain.
Richard Rickitt is training officer for Melksham and District Beekeeper’s Association. He is deputy editor of Bee Craft, the UKs leading beekeeping magazine. He keeps about twenty colonies of bees in and around Corsham. He talked about: So you want to keep bees? An introduction to beekeeping as a hobby.