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Spring Meeting 2019

23rd February 2019 @ 10:30 am - 4:30 pm

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The annual Spring Meeting of 2019 will feature three lectures and the CABK Annual General Meeting.


10.30  Welcome & tea/coffee.

11.00  Dr Shona Blair: “Honey – a sweet solution against superbugs”

12.00  CABK 74th Annual General Meeting.

12.45  Lunch (a lunch can be provided if booked in advance, cost and details to be confirmed)

14.00  Professor Juliet Osborne – “Bees and Pollination in a changing environment.

15.00  Dr Peter Kennedy – “In search of the invader:  Tracking Asian hornets.”

16.30  Close of meeting.

Admission to the Lecture Programme & AGM is free. Donations are welcomed and a there will be an exit collection, £5–£10 would be appreciated as a contribution to the day’s expenses.

Click here for the full schedule, including the AGM agenda.

For general enquiries, please contact the Secretary. As space is limited, we would appreciate it if you could please register your attendance in advance, using Eventbrite.

A lunch will be available at Roots and Shoots but this must be booked in advance by email from secretary@cabk.org.uk before 20th February 2019. The price is £8.00 per person, payable on the day.  Please remember to state any dietary requirements in your email.

Speaker: Dr Shona Blair

Dr Shona Blair is a microbiologist who has been studying the medicinal properties of honey for 20 years, pioneering this research in Australia. Shona was awarded her PhD in 2004 from the University of Sydney. She has since led many projects focusing on the wound healing and antimicrobial properties of honey, particularly against antibiotic-resistant ‘superbugs’, and the effects of eating honey on human gut health.

Shona has published her research findings in the scientific and popular press including microbiology and wound care journals, as well as popular beekeeping and health magazines, including a widely-read article for The Conversation about Manuka Honey. She held the role of inaugural CEO of the Wheen Bee Foundation (2013 – 2014), established to raise awareness of the importance of bees for food security. In 2013, she joined the Executive Council of the New South Wales Apiarists’ Association, where she works with commercial beekeepers to help tackle some of the issues faced by the industry. She received the prestigious Keith McIlvride Memorial Award in 2017 in recognition of her services to the industry.

Lecture: “Honey – a sweet solution against superbugs”

Honey really is liquid gold, and people have always held it in high regard. It has been a prized food and a powerful medicine for many different cultures throughout history.

However, its medicinal use largely fell from favour in the 1940s with the introduction of modern antibiotic drugs. Unfortunately, the misuse of these lifesaving drugs means that today we face a shortage of effective treatments for infections, because there is a huge global increase in the number of antibiotic-resistant bacteria – or ‘superbugs’.

Our urgent need for other treatment options, has led to a renewed interest in complex, natural products with antimicrobial activity, like honey. One of the most exciting things about the antimicrobial activity of honey is that it works against a very wide range of microbes that cause infections, even antibiotic-resistant superbugs.  Apart from its ability to stop superbugs in their tracks, honey also encourages wound healing and stimulates our immune response, and has additional therapeutic qualities, including anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and prebiotic (i.e. boosting gut health) properties.

Speaker: Professor Juliet Osborne

After 17 years studying bees and pollination at Rothamsted Research, Juliet Osborne joined the University of Exeter in 2012, and carries out research looking at how insects and plants interact within the environment and their role in ecosystem services. The pollination of crops is vital to agricultural production and fears over the health of bumblebee and honeybee colonies could have serious impact for agro-ecosystems. Professor Osborne’s research group are combining field experiments with computer modelling to predict the success of bumblebee populations, and honeybee colonies. This research provides a powerful tool so that land managers and policy makers can ensure sustainable pollination is able to thrive in tandem with successful arable farming.  She is also Director of the Environment and Sustainability Institute.

Lecture: Bees and Pollination in a changing environment.

Juliet will give her perspective on the status of bee populations and pollination across the world, and give examples of her group’s research.  These will include studies of crop pollination and how to understand the different factors affecting bee populations – focusing on honeybees and bumblebees.  A key aspect of her work is understanding bee flight patterns and how these can be used to explain pollination and the vulnerability of bee communities.

Speaker: Dr Peter Kennedy

Pete Kennedy is a behavioural ecologist interested in how insect behaviour affects their survival in a heterogeneous and changing environment.  His research has focused on beneficial insects, in particular social and pollinating insects, the ecosystem services they provide, and the interaction of multiple factors (whether natural or man-made) on their survival.  To this end, Pete utilises a range of technologies to study the movement and foraging patterns of insects.

Lecture: In search of the invader: Tracking Asian hornets.

Asian hornets (Vespa velutina) are voracious predators of bees, and are the latest emerging threat to managed and wild pollinator populations in Europe.  To prevent establishment or reduce the rate of spread of Asian hornets, early detection and destruction of nests is considered critical.  Detection is difficult as their large nests are well hidden and flying hornets are difficult to follow over long distances.  This presentation will review how Asian hornets have spread across Europe, how increasing numbers of countries are addressing this non-native invader, how technologies may be adapted to assist with finding hidden nests, and will summarize prospects for control of this threat to our beleaguered pollinators.




23rd February 2019
10:30 am - 4:30 pm


Sue Carter


Roots and Shoots
Walnut Tree Walk, Kennington
London, SE11 6DN United Kingdom
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