South Cheshire Honey Show 2021

By Alan Smith, Show Manager

The South Cheshire Honey Show this year (2021) is scheduled for October 14th 2021 at Smallwood Village Hall CW11 2UR.

This is our friendly local show and is free to enter, and is a great way to enjoy your beekeeping. It feels very exciting when you put your entry on the showbench with the others! Many of you won’t have entered before and this is just the place to start.
The Schedule which lists the classes and details for entry can be downloaded here and will be posted to South Cheshire members too, to make sure everyone has a copy. There are hints and tips for producing that show-winning entry, but if you’re pleased with what you and the bees have made, then it’s good enough to enter in the Show. We supply most of the things you will need, so if you need equipment such as a frame display case, or even standard bottles, caps or jars, let me know and I’ll do my best to sort it out for you. I’ll also try to advise if you have problems preparing entries, so drop me an email if you need to.You can try out making entries for many of the classes, even if you don’t intend to show them this year. Wax craft, mead, art and confectionery classes can all be tried and if you turn out a great picture, mead or candles, then change your mind and enter it, you might win a prize! Bring along a jar of your honey, or a sample of your mead, for people to taste on the night, and have a great evening at the Show!

Showing Is Great Fun and Part Of Beekeeping

by Alan Smith

We are not able to hold the South Cheshire Honey Show this year (2020) because of meeting restrictions imposed as part of coronavirus control. However, you can still try out making entries for many of the classes, even though you can’t actually show them this year. Wax craft, mead, art and confectionery classes can all be tried and if you turn out a great picture, mead or candles, they should last till next year! The confectionery won’t, but you can still enjoy making it and then eating or drinking the results.


Here are some hints and tips, which are also included in the Schedule. If you’re not sure how to do something, drop me a line and I’ll advise you or put you in touch with an expert.

For honey you need standard honey jars without any blemishes and with perfect new matching lids. The Judge won’t worry if liquid honey has got on the underside of the lid, but will check the aroma as part of the judging, so keep the aroma inside by leaving the lid on. Make sure the honey is filled to the bottom of the threads so no airspace is visible under the lid. The supplied labels go midway between the jar seams, about an inch up from the bottom of the jar and at the same height on each jar shown.

Frames of honey are shown in a wooden case with a sliding top and glass sides. Fix the supplied labels to the top of the frame and to the case. The top of the case should slide smoothly but the case is not included in the judging. Clean excess burr comb off the frame sides without touching the honeycomb.

For wax the aroma, surface and colour are judged, paler wax scoring more highly. Check for foreign bodies in the wax by using a bright torch and get the wax clean during filtration. Wax blocks need to be the right weight, with a flat top achieved by slow cooling (put clean bricks in the oven while it’s heating and prepare the blocks last thing before bedtime so there are no vibrations during the cooling). Show wax blocks under a cake dome (which is supplied) but don’t stick the label on the dome! 

Candles should have their wicks trimmed to the same height and with the wick standing up straight as it may be lit. Watching the candle burn is an important part of the judging. Choose the right size of wick for the size of candle. Show tall candles in matching candlesticks and fix the supplied labels to each candlestick in the same place so they match. Short candles which stand safely by themselves can be shown on a fireproof plate (not supplied) and stick a label on the rim of the plate where it can be seen.

For mead use a standard clear homebrew wine bottle with a distinct shoulder and a punt on the bottom. Fill the bottle to within an inch of the bottom of the cork. Use a white plastic-topped cork and wipe the cork to remove any bits before stopping the bottle, so nothing drops off the cork on to the surface of the mead. Your brew should be beautifully clear when inspected with a torch behind, and no sediment visible on the punt. This usually means preparing the bottle a few days before the show, as those done earlier may produce a bit of sediment even if the mead is clear and bright when you fill the bottle. Labels go on the bottles between the seams and about an inch up from the base.

Fresh-baked confectionery is shown under a supplied cake dome on a supplied paper plate. Fix the entry label to the plate rim not the dome, and also to the recipe card if required which you show with your entry. Confectionery in jars is shown free-standing, fix the entry label to the jar about an inch up from the base, and also to the recipe card if required which you show with your entry. Your jar is not included in the judging for confectionery but must be clear to show the contents. Don’t put a wax disc on the surface, because the quality of the surface is judged.

Good luck with your showing and don’t forget to enjoy yourself!

Alan Smith


Healthy bee and disease day

Saturday 22 June 2019 Starting at 9.30am to 4pm

at Shropshire Wildlife Trust, Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury, SY2 6AH

(Parking is available at Abbey Foregate car park)


Organised by the Shropshire Beekeeping Association in conjunction with the National Bee Unit.

The day will be led by regional bee inspector Colin Pavey along with his seasonal bee inspectors

The day is an opportunity to bring your disease recognition skills up to date. The National bee unit, with a group of inspectors, will cover all aspects of disease recognition with theory and practical workshops.
As there will be live bees at the venue please bring LAUNDERED bee suits, CLEAN wellies and GLOVES

The day will cover:
Foul brood – both AFB and EFB
Sac brood
Bald brood
Chalk brood
Chilled brood
Drone laying queen or laying workers
Small hive beetle

Cost for the day will be £10 to include coffee or tea (bring own lunch).

Places are limited and expected to fill quickly

To avoid disappointment members should contact (chairman) Peter Bound,
(by email ( or by phone on 07896 045443) to book a place. Followed by a cheque, made payable to SBKA, posted to Pete Bound, 24 Westland Rd, Shrewsbury, SY3 8UT, within 7 days to guarantee your place.

Meeting highlights – Dec18

Christmas social

Everyone gathered for the traditional get together with mouth-watering deserts in their hands and reindeer antlers on their heads.

The evening was set up in tables of 6 to better get to know each other or catch up… on bees or other topics.

We all enjoyed the buffet (not much was left behind for the traditional auction) followed by a fun, challenging quiz prepared by Peter to determine who among us were the most clued up about singers, the weight of a peanut M&Ms, foreign languages and of course bees.

Sydney had fun as usual auctioning out the valuable left-overs and the raffle concluded the evening.

We noticed this year that mostly regulars attended and we hope that new members can feel at ease next year to join us all for a fun evening.

Any suggestion or feedback on how the evening is run and what could make it an even more enjoyable event are all welcome, please use the Contact form or talk to any member of the committee at one of our next meetings.

Have a lovely Christmas and see you all in the New Year for our first meeting of the year: AGM and Beekeepers Question Time.

Meeting highlights – Nov18

Chris Logan

A taste of manuka honey and a taste of beekeeping in New Zealand

Having family in New Zealand allowed him to spend quite a few holidays there over the year. During his last visit in 2017 he had the chance to spend time understand the work around Manuka honey.

New Zeland has a lot of virgin hilly countryside, with dense vegetation where the land has not been transformed for pastures.

Apiaries are often located in the middle of grassland. Most of the New Zealand beestock are either strains of Apis mellifera mellifera (introduced in 1839), or Apis mellifera ligustica (introduced in 1880).

They have 6700 registered beekeepers, most are hobbyist (88%) and they have 5 hives in average . That is 4 times as many as in England for a big difference in population but they have see similar increase in the last few years as in the UK. They also have a much higher per capita consumption of honey with 1.5kg honey per year (UK; 0.6kg in 2007). Beekeepers favor langstrogh hives.

new zealand apiary

Local bees also suffer from Varroa infestation since is was introduced in 2000.

Chris had the opportunity to spend a day with a professional beekeeper… managing Foolbrood-diagnosed hives.

Manuka honey is not only sold as a very tasty honey but also as a medicinal product. It is claimed to have strong antioxidant properties – via a non peroxide antibacterial activity due to glucose oxidase enzymes. Chris has looked extensively into literature but despite a lot of research available and still going on, there is no strong proof as to the superior clinical effects of Manuka honey over another.

He also explained the difficulties around measuring that antibacterial activity, commonly described as the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF).

Chris concluded on the effects on the Manuka honey success worldwide. A “Manuka honey war” is going on. Theft, vandalism, reckless beekeeping behaviors and disputes over land access and hive homing are creating a lot of tension among the professional beekeepers.



Updates were made to Andrew’s lift share system.

Meeting in December :

Christmas social. £2.5 per person. Confirm attendance to any association committee members  and bring a small desert.Updates made to Andrew’s lift share system.

Meeting Highlights – Oct18

Planting for Bees

This month meeting’s presentation was one I was personally looking forward to the most has I have been preparing and researching the topic recently. My focus had been UK native wildflowers and I hoped to check that my meadow selection was correct as well as hear about other ways I could later enhance the forage opportunities in my otherwise very cereal and grass rich area.

It is obvious that most beekeepers are also keen gardeners and I feel a little green among them but starting beekeeping feels like that anyway and that should not put anyone off!

Stuart Hatton explained his horticulture background. He then presented many slides listing the benefits of various plants; shrubs, trees, flowers, etc.

A few things to remember:

  • Avoid double flowered varieties as they don’t yield nectar.
  • Plant in groups as bees like to forage where it is worth their while!
  • Avoid pesticides… or at the very least spray before or after the bees are out.
  • Picking you fertiliser well is important. Fertiliser like fish, blood and bonemeal is organic and is broken down over a period of months so is better for the plants. Also it is a good idea to change the compost in any planters which are used for summer and winter bedding plants to avoid problems with Vine Weevil.

A list of useful plants from the BBKA and another one from Stuart himself were made available. Ask Stuart or Pam for a copy next time you go see them at Hatton Lodge Apiary

Stuart and Pam have also been key organisers of the yearly CBKA show stand at Tatton park during the RHS Show. Stuart explained what is involved in the preparation and what makes a difference in the race to a Prize!


Award ceremony for the 2018 South Cheshire Branch Honey Show

Alan Smith presented the results and distributed the prizes and many thanks to the participants. Well done all and a great thank you!

results on the websites?


Sydney’s words

Sydney reminded us all that becoming a good beekeeper is a lot easier when people are sharing; sharing tips, experience, questions. That sharing is great in Cheshire and it is greatly enabled by our monthly meetings where anybody can openly ask questions and we can all learn form each others. Passing of knowledge is a great opportunity.


Next month’s meeting

The presentation is on the theme of Experiences of Bee Farming in New Zealand by Chris Logan.







Meeting highlights – Aug18

The meeting started early at the Apiary with a couple of groups going over the winter preparation activities to consider at this time of year and the beginners’ group looking at a hive. John reminded us all to come with suitable footwear (wellies or ankle protection).

Back in the hall, Stuart Hatton from Hatton Lodge Apiary gave us a thorough description of the various UK approved varroa treatments and associated application methods.

Corresponding information can be downloaded on the BBKA website.

Arwell then highlighted the opportunity for new starters to enroll in the Eat Natural “Pollenation” initiative. Applications are now opened. Read more.

September meetings:

Wednesday 5th September, 7.30

Joint meeting with North Staffordshire branch

Hanchurch Village Hall, Whitmore Road, Hanchurch Crossroad, Newcastle under Lyme ST5 4DG

Speaker: Wally Shaw – Varroa and Deformed Wing Virus

Thursday 6th September, staging from 6pm, start of judging 7pm

South Cheshire Branch honey show

Bradwall village hall

Show Manager: Alan Smith

South Cheshire Beekeepers’ Honey Show 2018

The South Cheshire Beekeepers’ local Honey Show 2018 will take place on Thursday 6th September 2018 at Bradwall Village Hall.

Last year’s was a success with a lot of Prices awarded by our experienced judge Mr J. Goodwin. Let’s all use that opportunity to learn and enjoy the friendly atmosphere.

Download below the schedule and the entry form:


SCBK – Show Results:

scbka honey show sep 2018 matrix_2