National Honey Show

Thursday 24th to Saturday 26th October 2019

This was our seventh visit to the National Honey Show as part of our microscopy outreach programme, held this year at Sandown Park Racecourse in Esher in Surrey. Lisa Ashby, Nigel Ashby, Joan Bingley, Deborah Bishop, Norman Chapman, Pam Hamer, Paul Smith and Alan Wood manned the Club’s stand in the Trade Hall, which is adjacent to the area where all of the entries are displayed. We had a good selection of specimens, microscopes, leaflets, books, journals and bulletins on the stand, and with 3 tables there was plenty of space for our displays and for visitors. We also had display stands with photographs shown at our Annual Exhibitions and photographs of pollen and bee parts by Pam Hamer, and a laptop computer with rolling PowerPoint presentations.

Norman Chapman was the main attraction for visitors to our stand, several of whom bought copies of his books (including the second edition of Pollen Microscopy) and got Norman to sign them.

Norman Chapman with a visitorNorman Chapman with a visitor [by Joan Bingley]

Norman Chapman and Pam HamerNorman Chapman and Pam Hamer

Norman was also showing his battery-powered motorised ringing table, a couple of loupes, and his pollen drawings, many of which are included in his book.

Norman Chapman and Thanya NirantasookNorman Chapman and Thanya Nirantasook

Norman Chapman’s pollen drawingsSome of Norman Chapman’s pollen drawings

Pam Hamer was there on all 3 days and brought 3 of her microscopes, a Vickers Patholette, a simple 20× stereomicroscope from Brunel Microscopes and a Lomo Biolam C11, for looking at slides of bee parts and pollen. The slides of bee parts and some of the pollen ones were bought from Brunel Microscopes. Other pollen slides were made by Norman Chapman and John Wells (Biosil).

Microscopes on the Quekett standPam Hamer’s microscopes on the Quekett stand

Joan Bingley helped on Thursday and brought her new Chinese inspection camera to show images on a monitor and a slender inspection camera sending images to a tablet.

Norman Chapman and Joan BingleyNorman Chapman and Joan Bingley with a visitor [by Pam Hamer]

Paul Smith brought a couple of small digital microscopes, one with a built-in screen and the other feeding images to a laptop computer.

Paul SmithPaul Smith with a visitor [by Pam Hamer]

Alan Wood helped on Friday and brought his Olympus SZ4045 stereomicroscope with an LED ring-light to show flowers and leaves collected locally.

Stereomicroscope with plant materialStereomicroscope with plant material

On the Saturday the organisers provide quiz sheets for children who had to visit several displays to answer questions. Our question was to identify the pollen seen with the microscope using Norman’s drawings. We had a slide of the very distinctive pollen of evening primrose, which was described for the youngest children as looking like the head of a teddy bear.

We had some visitors interested in microscopy, from beginners to experts, and discussions including how to set up phase contrast and how to use a dispersion staining objective. Several Quekett members who we don’t usually see at Club meetings dropped by for a chat, including Bob Maurer, Chairman of the National Honey Show. One of the Club’s obligations as a charity is to promote microscopy, and our stand generated interest from beekeepers, so we should attend the Show again in 2020.

The Club thanks member Norman Chapman and his daughter Val Rhenius (the Publicity Secretary and Trade Hall Booking Secretary) for organising our stand at this impressive and well-organised event.

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The exhibition was in the same room as the sales tables and so lots of people were able to see the displays of honey, beeswax, mead, honeycomb, frames, photographs and microscope slides.

Rows of jars of honeyRows of jars of honey

Labelled honey jarsLabelled honey jars

Rows of bottles of meadRows of bottles of mead

Flowers made of beeswaxFlowers made of beeswax

Food made of beeswaxFood made of beeswax

Beeswax picnicBeeswax picnic

Beeswax candlesBeeswax candles

Entries in the photography competitionEntries in the photography competition

Entries in the microscope slide competitionEntries in the microscope slide competition

Display by a primary schoolDisplay by a primary school

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Trade Hall

In addition to the Quekett stand, there were lots of stands in the Trade Hall where members of the public could buy almost anything a beekeeper could desire (including microscopes), browse books on bees, find out about associations to join, learn about beekeeping in developing countries and learn about pests and diseases of bees.

Brunel Microscopes usually attend this show and had a good display of both stereo and compound microscopes from the most basic to their expensive ones. One impressive stereomicroscope was fitted with a digital camera which automatically focussed the image on the screen. According to Alan Potter, the chip in the camera moves to give the sharpest image on the screen. They were also selling mountants, slides, coverslips and tools. They had toluene, though commented that it was becoming increasingly difficult to send out solvents.

Helen Murray on the Brunel Microscopes standHelen Murray on the Brunel Microscopes stand

Microscopes with cameras on the Brunel Microscopes standStereo and compound microscopes with cameras on the Brunel Microscopes stand

The National Bee Unit of the Animal and Plant Health Agency had specimens and illustrations of predators, pests and parasites of honeybees

Pests and parasites of honeybeesPests and parasites of honeybees

Claire Murthy was showing and selling examples of her artwork.

Artwork by Claire MurthyArtwork by Claire Murthy

Northern Bee Books had a huge selection of new bee-related books, and lots of second-hand books too.

New and used booksNew and used bee books

If you want to attract bees and lots of other wildlife to your garden, Meadow In My Garden were selling lots of seeds of wild flowers.

Seeds of wild flowersSeeds of wild flowers

Protective clothingProtective clothing


Report by Alan Wood and Pam Hamer, most photographs by Alan Wood

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