Honey Show Rules

If Honey Shows are to run smoothly without disputes and protests then the Show Secretary must provide both exhibitors and the judge with a clear set of Rules and Regulations. The BBKA Advisory Leaflet No 22, titled Show Rules (Revised 2016) is a good starting point

The BBKA Leaflet is all-embracing and for a Local Honey Show perhaps too comprehensive. However, by making reference to it in the Show Schedule with a phrase such as “BBKA Show Rules (2016) apply unless amended by the following:” will provide most of the information for the exhibitors to prepare their exhibits. The following suggested clauses for Show Schedules which are relevant to the efficient administration of the show and handling of the exhibits. These clauses should be tailored to meet individual show requirements. In addition, there will be a need to advise exhibitors of changes to the BBKA Rules to properly define what is ‘custom and practice’ at the local show and to be more specific on the presentation of exhibits in certain classes.

Some Suggested Clauses for Show Schedules:-

1)            This Show is held in accordance with the Show Rules (2016) of the British Beekeeping Association and Exhibitors are bound by them.

2)            Entries must be made on the form provided with the appropriate fees and reach the Entries Secretary on or before ………..

3)            The entry fee per class is ………..

4)            In Shows which charge admission fees

Exhibitors paying …….in entry fees will be sent a free Admission Pass. (Each entry in a Gift Class will be regarded as being equivalent to ……… for this purpose.

5)            Acknowledgement of entries will not be made, but show labels,  passes etc. will be sent to the Exhibitor at least 7 days prior to the show.

6)            Delivery and staging.

All exhibits must be delivered to the Show by…………on……….

Exhibits sent via third party must be sent to arrive by the stated date/time, and arrangements made for their collection at the end of the Show.

Unless otherwise stated, all exhibits will be staged by Committee Members or Stewards.

7)            Judging will commence at ……… on………

8)            No exhibit or any part thereof shall be removed until………on the final day of the Show and only when authorised to by a member of the Show Executive.

9)            Lighting or power points will be available to exhibitors in class(es)…………provided notice has been given on the entry form.

10)          No honey may be sold or otherwise displayed without permission of the shoe authorities.

11)          For cups and special prizes, points will be awarded as follows:-

First: 6        Second: 5    Third: 4    Reserve, Fourth or VHC: 3    HC: 2    C: 1

12)          The show will be open to the public and exhibitors at ………

13)          Challenge cups and Trophies won the previous year should be cleaned and delivered by hand to the Show Executive on …………

14) In many shows Novice Classes are introduced to encourage newcomers to showing to exhibit. If the term ‘Novice’ is not defined in the show rules Exhibitors will be unsure if they are eligible to enter.

  1. a) The BBKA Show Rules (2016) do not give a definition of a Novice as that this would be too prescriptive when set against the variation in the standards of exhibitors at the different levels of honey show across the country and the aims of the show committees.
  2. b) The following definitions are being used at shows and the Show Secretary should select the definition which meets the aims and standard appropriate to their show:-

“A Novice is an Exhibitor who has never won a First prize or trophy at any Honey show.”

“A Novice is an Exhibitor who has never won a First prize at a local association/branch members show”

“A Novice is an Exhibitor who has never won a First prize at a County Honey Show”

“A Novice is an Exhibitor who has not won more than three First Prizes at any Honey show”

“A Novice is an Exhibitor who has not won more than three prize cards (1st 2nd or 3rd ) for honey/beeswax in open classes at a County Honey show”


Every eventuality cannot be covered, but here are a few aspects for the Show Secretary to consider:

Labels  The purpose of the label is to give a coded  identity to an exhibit. The BBKA Rules  are quite specific in where the label is to be placed on the various classes and, in particular, for jars a dimension of 2cm from the base of the jar to the bottom edge of the label. Apart from the fact that the judge needs an unimpeded view across the inside bottom of the jar the dimension is not critical. However, for presentation reasons labels at the same height on the jars create an orderly and efficient impression to the public.

Jars  The different types of the jar and lids in the BBKA Rules  are to cover both the jar classes and the display and commercial classes. It is recommended that where a show only has jar classes the schedule specifies what is required with a form of words as follows:

“Extracted honey must be exhibited in clear 454g(1lb) squat glass jars with gold lacquered screw or twist off lids with flowed-in plastic seals. Where a class requires more than one item of the same type, the jars, lids and their contents must be matching in all respects.”

Sections  Square sections (approximate weight 454g(1lb)) are a rarity and round sections (approximate weight 227g(8oz)) are becoming more common, if both types are to be allowed in the same class then this should be stated but a weight requirement should not be given.

Cut Comb Honey  It is usual for the schedule to call for a container (or two containers) of cut comb and then define the weight. The most common size of container in use is 227gm(8oz)and therefore what would be expected from the exhibitor is:

 “Container(s) filled with cut comb to satisfy a minimum gross weight of 227gm(8oz)”.

Some shows ask for a higher weight which is unreasonable in an 8oz container. If the exhibitor has very thick unwired comb which would meet the higher weight then the underside of the lid could rest on the cappings and these may become detached when the lid is removed. On the other hand, to meet the higher weight using a standard comb thickness, there will be a temptation to use cut comb which is undrained.

Wax  The BBKA rules specify wax blocks to be displayed in a plastic bag or a show case. Although the plastic bag introduces anonymity, a show case will keep out fingernails from damaging the surface! One  label must be affixed to the wax top visible surface and a duplicate on the show case lid. It is usual to give a weight requirement for the beeswax block and there should also be a corresponding minimum thickness requirement:-

”One beeswax block minimum weight 454g(1lb)and at least 25mm thick”. Other possibilities would be:-e.g.“340g(12oz) and at least 15mm  thick” or “- 227g(8oz) and at least 10mm thick”. Alternatively the weight requirement could be as a band, e.g. 400-500g, 325-375g and 200-250g respectively.


Cakes and Confectionery.  If a recipe has not been given in the Schedule then the Class instructions should ask the exhibitor to provide one. The judge needs to know the honey content and also if sugar is used in the recipe as this makes an easier cake to produce.


Photographic Classes The BBKA Rules do not cover these classes, it is advisable to put something in the schedule to stop the same exhibit being used each year and to state how the exhibits are to be mounted to provide them with protection and for presentational reasons.

A form of words could be:

“All exhibits must have been taken, but not necessarily processed, by the exhibitor. The subject should be connected with beekeeping.

Transparencies must fit in a 50mm x 50mm(2in x 2in) standard mount, glass mounts recommended.

Colour or black/white prints/images must be mounted on card of any colour, maximum size of mount 250mm x200mm(10in x 8in). A title is to be positioned centrally below the print.

Transparencies and prints previously entered at _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  Honey Show, whether prize winners or not, may not be entered in the same class.”