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:  Plant Sciences Building, Room 1140 (the auditorium)
ADDRESS:  4291 Fieldhouse Dr, College Park, MD 20742
DAY:            June 15, 2019
TIME:           9AM - 4PM  (Doors open at 8 AM)

Here are some advance highlights:

  • Our KEYNOTE SPEAKER will be Dr Gene Robinson of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on Science and the gentle Africanized bees of Puerto Rico
  • 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 bottle competition, where the attendees all get a chance to play honey judge.
  • We will ask meeting attendees to bring in a jar of their honey, wrapped in duct tape (any color)  Your honey will be judged by other beekeepers on TASTE ALONE.  This is a black jar competition. The overall taste winner 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
Gene E. Robinson
Director, Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology
Swanlund Chair
Center for Advanced Study Professor in Entomology and Neuroscience
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


TOPIC: The Science of the gentle Africanized bees of Puerto Rico



Gene Robinson is an entomologist, Director of the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology and National Academy of Sciences member. He pioneered the application of genomics to the study of social behavior and led the effort to sequence the honey bee genome., 

AuthorChemical Communication in a Post-genomic World: National Academies of Sciences and Engineering, Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center, Irvine, CA, January 17-19, 2003

AwardsWolf Prize in AgricultureGuggenheim Fellowship for Natural Sciences, US & Canada

EducationCornell University (1982–1986), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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.


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. Honey must be in a 12oz-1 lb honey container with a flip-top lid so it can be squeezed out without taking off the lid-- NO EXCEPTIONS. .


(Rules will be posted soon, but here is a peek at the DRAFT rules, last updated April 19, 2019:

1)   In order to gauge the approximate number of entries and make plans, please notify the contest organizer at ncsba.black.jar@gmail.com by Tuesday June 11 11:59 pm if you plan to enter.

2)   The entrant must be a registered meeting attendee.  There can be only one entry per person or family.

3) The honey must have been produced in Maryland by the entrant – as an individual or as part of family, business, Chapter or other group effort.

4)   12 oz – 16 oz of honey in container with a flip-top lid must be submitted (12-oz honey bears are fine for this).  The honey will be squeezed out onto a spoon for tasting by the judges, so this is a very important, firm requirement.

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 registered attendee can judge.  Each judge will vote for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place per flight (~10-12 honeys max per flight).  1st place will be awarded based on the total number of points (3 points for every 1st place vote, 2 for every 2nd place, and 1 for every 3rd place). Colored poker chips will be used for judging.

12 honeys max per flight).  1st place will be awarded based on the total number of points (3 points for every 1st place vote, 2 for every 2nd place, and 1 for every 3rd place). Colored poker chips will be used for judging.

8)   The winner 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.