Spring Meeting 2022, Nottingham
26th March 2022
CABK are delighted to be bringing one of our main meetings of the year to beekeepers in the East Midlands. Our Spring meeting will be held on 26th March at Holme Pierrepont Hall, near Nottingham. We are aiming to make this a hybrid event, with virtual attendance via Zoom – all of the content but you have to prepare your own lunch!
10:00 for a 10:30 start.
Tickets will be £25 pp and include a delicious buffet lunch. The on-line attendance fee will be £10
Registration for this event will open in mid-January 2022
The programme for the day is yet to be finalised but, in conjunction with the bee research team at Nottingham Trent University (NTU), led by Dr. Martin Bencsik, we will have an opportunity to see the NTU Apiary with its intensively monitored hives and hear about some of the exciting research that is going on. After morning tours of the house, garden and apiary, there will be two lectures in the afternoon.
Come along and bring your beekeeping friends, non CABK members are very welcome.
Our two afternoon speakers will be…
Vince tends his 15-20 hives in Surrey within his garden and two out-apiaries; one of which is at a local school. The bees are kept both as a hobby, but also for research; the latter being a result of this retired software engineer deciding to avoid boredom by undertaking a PhD at Queen Mary, University of London (QMUL). The research topic concerns the use and construction of honeycomb and now, in the third year, the bees and comb are beginning to surrender some answers.
Vince is an active member of Reigate Beekeepers which provides ample opportunity to help other beekeepers, to assist the public as a swarm collector and to promote the interests of bees by supporting the association at summer shows and by giving talks at local groups and schools.
“My path to understanding the mechanisms of honeycomb construction”
Honeycomb is always beautiful, often regular, and commonplace, and the method by which bees achieve its construction has fascinated and eluded scientists and beekeepers for centuries, and for my PhD research I have been continuing this attempt – with some success. I will explain my experiments, exploiting my domestic apiary, which have included video recording of observation hives, and placement of assorted stimuli onto which the bees built honeycomb. I will also present a number of custom physical and software tools which I designed and built that allowed me to take measurements and make comparisons of the resulting wax constructions. In this talk, while discussing these methods and equipment, I will disclose both successes and the more numerous failures that illustrate quite how challenging and entertaining was this process.
Harriet Hall is a PhD student in her fourth and final year at Nottingham Trent University, studying the Varroa mite and its host species, Apis mellifera.
“My research focuses primarily on substrate-borne vibrations produced by both mite and bee: their capture using vibration sensing technology, the identification and characterisation of the features of those vibrations, and the attribution of those specific vibrational traces to their corresponding bee or mite behaviour.
I have previously researched the foraging behaviour of the hairy footed flower bee, Anthophora plumipes, at a site in Portugal, as well as the mating behaviour of two-spotted crickets, Gryllus bimaculatus, during my undergraduate degree, where I studied zoology.”
“Capturing vibrations originating from Varroa destructor individuals”
Current methods of Varroa detection within honeybee colonies necessitate the physical opening of hives and removal of bees/brood, or regular, in-person inspection of the base board. Precision beekeeping is a recent apiary management strategy that aims to reduce colony stress through the remote collection of various hive data (such as temperature, weight and the number of incoming/outgoing bees), which can then be passed on to beekeepers to inform them of colony events (such as swarming) or changes in status (such as colony death, queen-less-ness).
The work that I have carried out as part of my PhD programme investigates the opportunity to detect the presence of Varroa mites in honeybee hives remotely, using vibration as the monitored parameter. Accelerometer sensors, used in my study, have previously been highly successful in the detection and characterisation of both individual honeybee vibrational signals and overall changes in the colony state.
I will discuss the successful use of these sensors in the detection of individual Varroa mite vibrations, an organism of minute size in comparison to a honeybee. Through this investigation, a never-before described Varroa behaviour has been discovered, which has a corresponding vibrational trace. I have carefully studied and characterised the vibration produced by this behaviour, which I have termed ‘jolting’, due to the abrupt movement of the mite.
The results of this study have now laid a foundation for further work into the remote detection of Varroa mites in the capped brood cells of the comb, using accelerometers as a sensing tool. I will discuss this new endeavour and its implications in terms of remote mite monitoring, as well as speculating on the potential function of this new behaviour, based on the results so far.