2019 Spring Meeting June 15

Join us for this amazing beekeeping event.

LOCATION: University of Maryland/College Park (ten minute walk from the metro station)
BUILDING:  Biology-Psychology Building, Room 1250
ADDRESS:  4094 Campus Dr, College Park, MD 20742
DAY:            June 15, 2019
TIME:           9AM - 4PM  (Doors open at 8 AM)

Complete Agenda and Map Below!

  • Our KEYNOTE SPEAKER will be Dr. Humberto Boncristiani, presenting his research on the Small Hive Beetle
  • Just in time for the summer fairs, David Morris, Master beekeeper, will be presenting ”Beekeeping Excellence, how to prepare for judging" presentation.
  • We will be hosting Suzy Spencer from North Carolina, who will be doing a presentation on honey tasting, how to set up it, what is important.  We will also do a Black Jar Competition, where the attendees all get a chance to play honey judge.
  • Bring in your honey so it can be judged by other beekeepers on TASTE ALONE.  This is a black jar competition. The taste winners will receive bragging rights, and a prize.   This will be a great chance to try other honeys and see the diversity of flavors in Maryland.
  • Mark Dykes, Extension Coordinator, vanEngelsdorp Bee Lab, UMD will introduce UMD-Bee Squad's "Afternoon in the Apiary" program - our chance for hands on learning.
  • Scroll Down for Honey Tasting Contest Rules
  • Scroll Down for a full agenda!
Honey Bee Research and Extension Laboratory
Entomology and Nematology Department
University of Florida

Humberto Boncristiani

TOPIC: The small hive beetle biology  and the efficacy of small hive beetle traps.


Dr. Humberto Boncristiani is the honey bee husbandry applied researcher at the University of Florida Honey Bee Research and Extension Lab. Dr. Boncristiani has a diverse background in honey bee research, having worked in a government institutions (USDA, Army), Academia (UNCG, UMD), private industry, with the National Research Council, and having come from a beekeeping family. At the Honey Bee Research and Extension Lab, Boncristiani conducts honey bee husbandry research that is directly applicable to commercial beekeeper operations in the state of Florida and across the country.


Suzy Spencer, North Carolina Master Beekeeper


TOPIC: Honey Tasting Skills

We've all tasted honey, but can you describe the experience? There is a lot more to it than 'sweet' and 'floral'. Suzy will demonstrate how to IDENTIFY FLAVORS in honey using a HONEY FLAVOR WHEEL. She'll also explain how to differentiate taste versus smell, and other tips, all while guiding attendees through several guided honey-tastings and providing resources for continued learning.



Suzy Spencer is an NC Master Beekeeper with 30 years of beekeeping experience.  She is the immediate-past Membership Secretary of the North Carolina State Beekeepers Association (4400 members) and is active in her local Chapter Five County Beekeepers. She first became interested in honey-tasting in 2014 when the California Honey Flavor Wheel was published and she realized that honey could have over 100 flavors and aromas depending on the nectar sources. She has taken classes to learn honey-tasting at the Honey and Pollination Center (Mondavi Institute, UC-Davis, CA) and American Honey Tasting Society (Weston, CT). She shares what she learned by giving presentations to the NCSBA, its Chapters, and other groups.  She also organized the NCSBA's first black jar honey contest for its 2018 spring conference. She looks forward to sharing all of this with the Maryland beekeepers in June.

MSBA Spring Meeting
Biology-Psychology Bldg
Room 1250
June 15, 2019
8:00 AMDrop off for Black Jar Contest
Refreshments, Coffee, Donuts, etc.
9:00 AMOpening and WelcomeJim Fraser, President
9:15 AMMd. Apiary Inspector's ReportCybil Preston, Md. State Inspector
9:30 AMBiology of the Small Hive BeetleDr. Humberto Boncristiani
Honey Bee Research and Extension Lab, Entomology and Nematology Department
University of Florida
10:30 AMThe Basics of Honey Tasting
Suzy Spencer, Master Beekeeper, Urban Beekeeper, BeeCulture Contributor
11:45 AMMSBA’s Black Jar Contest Rules and Criteria
12:00 PMLunch Break & Voting
Round 1 Black Jar Contest Voting
1:00 PMRound 1 Black Jar Contest Results
Results of Black Jar Contest Round 1
Finalist Entries Presented
until 3:30 PM
1:15 PMBeekeeping Excellence: How to Prepare Hive Products for CompetitionDavid Morris, Master Beekeeper, Certified Honey Judge, MSBA Past President
2:30 PMBreakFinal round of Black Jar Contest votes
3:00 PMThe Latest Research on the Efficacy of Small Hive Beetle Traps: What Works?Dr. Humberto Boncristiani
3:30 PMThe "Afternoon in the Apiary Program" from the UMD Bee SquadMark Dykes, Extension Coordinator, vanEngelsdorp Bee Lab, UMD
3:45 PMAnnouncement of Black Jar Contest winner and award presentationJim Fraser, President, MSBA
4:00 PMAdjourn


Do you think you have the best tasting honey in Maryland?  Bring it to the meeting and enter the BLACK JAR HONEY CONTEST.! Your honey will be   judged by attendees, not just a few judges, on the basis of taste alone. It will truly be a People's Choice award. So that we can plan better, please reply to NCHoneyTasting@gmail.com by Tuesday June 11 11:59 pm if you will have an entry.  Also please review the rules, posted below.

The second prize $50 

The third prize $25

The first prize $100 and bragging rights! 


Updated June 2, 2019:

1)   In order to gauge the approximate number of entries and make plans, it is helpful but not required to notify the contest organizer at ncsba.black.jar@gmail.com by Tuesday June 11 11:59 pm if you plan to enter. Pre-registration is requested but not required

2) There can be only one entry per person or family.

3) The honey must have been produced by an entrant who is a current MSBA member--as an individual or as part of family, business, Chapter or other group effort.

4)   Submit 12 to 16 ounce of honey in container with a flip-top lid. (12-oz honey bears are OK).  The honey will be squeezed out onto a spoon for tasting by the judges, so this is very important. If you do not have a proper container, one will be provided to you for you to fill and label with your name.

5)   The container must have the entrant’s name on it.  Containers will be covered with aluminum foil to obscure characteristics and distinguishing marks after it is submitted.

6)   The entrant must sign in the honey by  10 am Saturday, June 15, to allow judging to start on a very tight schedule.  If there are many entries, there will be a preliminary judging (elimination round) in the morning and a final round in the afternoon.

7)   Any attendee can judge.  Each judge will be assigned 10-12 entries to evaluate based solely on taste. Of those entries, judges will recommend 1st, 2nd and 3rd place entries by placing color-coded poker chips next to their choices. Each 1st place chip will be worth 3 points, 2nd place chips will be worth 2 points, and 3rd place chips will be worth 1 point.

8) Points will be tabulated for each entry to determine overall winners of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places.

8)   The winners will be announced before the end of the meeting.  Honey not consumed during the judging can be reclaimed at that time.

9)   Rules are subject to change.  If they must be changed to accommodate unforeseen circumstances, they will be restated before the judging starts.

If you have questions or need clarification, contact Suzy Spencer (contest organizer) at ncsba.black.jar@gmail.com.