top of page

Honey Show Tips

A Prepared Guide for getting your entries ready for the Honey Show

Tips for Preparing Entries for a Honey Show

Your goal should be to present the best possible package and product. The best tasting honey does not always win. You will want to pay attention to every detail!

READ! Be sure to read the directions.

The rules will state the specifics for entering the show. If you do not comply with the rules, you could be disqualified before the judging begins.


Entering Honey:


Honey should be presented in one (1) pound jars (Classic Gamber or Queenline). DO NOT use plastic jars.

  • You will need to enter three (3) jars each of the same honey for any category you will enter. All three jars should look identical.

    • Categories include: Light, Light Amber, Amber, Dark.

    • Entrant will make a determination for the class they believe their honey belongs in and note it on the entry form.

    • The judge will decide which category your honey will be entered in. He/she may use a Color Scale and match the colors to the charts

  • Wash your jars with very hot water.

    • Soap will leave a smell in the jar (the honey will NOT overpower the smell of soap).

    • DO NOT DRY with a paper towel. You DO NOT want lint on or in your jar.

    • You can dry the jars in the oven on low if you would like.

  • Labels:

    • For local (county) shows, do NOT use a label. ​

    • For the state show, your jars DO need a label, which has your name, address, and the weight of the honey (16 oz./1 lb.).


Caps: Plastic vs. Metal:

  • Plastic caps do not offer a clean/crisp sound when opening.

  • Metal has a nice, clean ring to it when opened and is recommended. Listen for the “ring” of the lid when it is removed

    • The judge will look at the top of your honey jar with a flash light to check for hair and/or dirt.

    • Be sure your lid is clean. Avoid any dust in the lid. (Details! Details! Details!)

  • Do not use scratched or rusty lids.

  • Do not use a safety seal. They leave residue on the jar.

  • Do NOT put a piece of plastic wrap between the jar and the lid. It will only cause a mess when it’s being removed. The judges will not fuss over a bit of honey on the inside of the lid.


Filling the Jars:

Fill the jars to the top of the ring on the jar. The ring sits BELOW the thread and is not part of the thread that adheres the lid to the jar.

  • When the lid is on you do NOT want to see any air space.

  • It is better to overfill than underfill the jar. You can remove any excess honey with a teaspoon.

  • Foam: Honey coming from a cold bucket pulls air into it. Be sure to give yourself enough time to allow the foam to rise and be removed.

  • It is best to have honey warm when packing it.

  • Strain your honey well.

    • A new knee-high nylon stocking is a great filter for honey for a show.

    • DO NOT strain through cheese cloth. There is too much lint.

    • There should be no bits or particles of bees in the honey.

    • Be sure nothing has adulterated your honey.

      • NO dust, cat/dog hair, human hair.

  • All three jars should look consistent. Uniformity of fill is important. Line up your jars to be sure they are each filled to the same height.

  • Remove any honey that may have spilled on the jar. You do not want anything sticking to the jars.

  • Remove smudges or fingerprints from the jars as well!

    • You can lose points for jars that are not clean.

    • Shine a flashlight on your filled/capped jars. It will show you any fingerprints you may have missed or not noticed.



  • The judge is looking for a natural flavor. You want to avoid a burnt or soapy flavor.

  • Spotted Lanternfly honey: Judges will not take off marks for this kind of honey, even though the flavor is slightly different. 



Honey should be extracted in a dehumidified environment.

  • Extracting honey in times of high humidity will pull moisture into it.

  • A Refractometer tests the honey for moisture. This will tell the judge the number of points to add or subtract.

    • NWNJBA has a refractometer. Please contact the club if interested in borrowing it.

  • Put a toothpick into the jar and take it out. If the honey comes off quickly there is too much moisture.

    • Jars can be placed in a low temperature oven which will pull the moisture out. Honey can be heated to 100 degrees. It’s okay!

  • Allow all bubbles to rise to the surface of the jar.

    • Remove any additional bubbles by using a toothpick to pop them.



  • A frame should be at least 75% capped before extracting from it, although you do not need to wait for 100%. To test, strongly shake the frame. If honey does not shake out, it can be removed.

  • DO NOT let your honey sit for 3 or 4 days before extracting. You want to extract it right away! (you want to avoid moisture, small hive beetles, or wax moths)

  • NW has two extractors available to borrow. Contact the club if you would like to borrow an extractor.


Transporting the Honey to the Show:

  • If you have the box that your honey jars came in, this is a good way to transport your honey.

    • Some people like to place each individual jar in a clean sock to transport it.

  • Place your name, address, and phone number on the box.

  • Don’t forget to pick up your honey at the end of the fair.

  • Value your product!


Polariscope: (Light Box)

This item is used by the judge when evaluating your honey and will pick up any defect in the honey. It will enable the judge to see crystals, wax, pollen, etc. that may be in the honey.

Other Items That May Be Entered

Be sure to READ the rules for these items as well.


Creamed Honey: 3 jars

  • Jars must be clear glass.

  • Must contain at least 12 but no more than 16 ounces of honey.

  • Graded on fineness of crystals, uniformity and firmness, cleanliness, and freedom from foam, flavor, and fill.


Section and Cut Comb: 3 containers

  • Graded on cut if applicable, cleanliness, dryness of cappings, uniformity, density, and flavor.

  • Three basswood boxes in windowed sections with clear plastic lid or cut comb in clear plastic container


Chunk Honey: 3 jars

  • Jars must be clear glass.

  • Must contain at least 12 but no more than 16 ounces of honey by weight.

  • Graded on cut if applicable, cleanliness, dryness of cappings, uniformity, density, and flavor.


Frame of Honey

  • Must be displayed in bee-proof case, which has both sides made of transparent glass or plastic.

  • All four corners of frame need to be secured within the display case.

  • Frame will be judged on uniformity, absence of uncapped cells and watery cappings, cleanliness, freedom from granulation and cocoon castings.

  • You want the following:

  • White caps

  • All cells filled and capped

  • No honey dripping down

  • All the same type of honey within the frame

  • A uniform frame of similar color honey

  • No pollen

  • Display container that shows the entire frame



  • All entries must have been produced by member using honey from the member’s own bees, by means of fermentation.

  • Dry, Sweet, and Made with Fruit Juices entries should be contained in a single 750 ml or 25.4 fl. oz. clear glass wine bottle.

  • Natural cork, plastic stoppers, or screw top closures are all acceptable.

  • Sparkling Mead entries should be in champagne-type glass bottles and need not be clear.



  • 1 pound block

  • Pure beeswax

  • Optimum color is lemon yellow

  • Should be cleaned properly

  • Presented on solid base (wood or cardboard) with no larger than a 1-inch margin

  • Entries judged by cleanliness, uniformity of appearance, color, aroma, and absence of cracks and shrinkage.


Novelty Beeswax

  • A single or a coordinated set of any size pure beeswax item

  • No wicks

  • May be colored, decorated, fragranced, and/or painted

  • May contain non-beeswax components


Novelty Beeswax Candles

  • A single or coordinated set, any size, any shape, pure beeswax

  • May be colored, decorated, fragranced, and/or painted

  • May contain non-beeswax components


Beeswax Tapers: 2

  • One pair taper candles, poured or dipped

  • Must consist of pure beeswax with NO additives or colorings except wicks


Creams/Lotions: 3 jars

  • Jars may be either glass or plastic

  • Minimum weight of 1.5 ounces by weight of product

  • Made by member from “scratch.” Use of ready-made cream and lotion bases is not permitted.

  • Must contain member’s own beeswax and/or honey

  • Judged on consistency and texture of product, cleanliness, uniformity of filling, container appearance, and fragrance.


Soaps: 3 bars

  • Bars must weigh at least 3 ounces each.

  • Made from “scratch” by member using member’s own beeswax and/or honey. Use of melt-and-pour soap bases is not permitted.

  • Soap will be judged on appearance, uniformity, difficulty of preparation, and fragrance.


Lip Balms: 3 containers

  • Tins, tubs, or tubes must contain at least 0.15 ounces of product by weight.

  • Judged on consistency and texture of product, cleanliness, uniformity of filling, container appearance, and fragrance.

  • Made by member from “scratch.” Use of pre-made lip balm bases is not permitted


  • Photos should measure 5” X 7” up to a maximum size of 8”x 10”.

  • Each photo should be mounted or matted

    • Mat or mounting board should extend at least 1 inch beyond the print on all sides.

  • No frames are permitted.

  • Only one photo per membership may be entered.

  • Photographs will be judged on composition, treatment of subject matter, quality of photography, and presentation.


Enjoy, Have Fun, and Good Luck!

bottom of page