Holsworthy Spring Convention 2018

Saturday 24 February 2018, 10.00 - 16.30

Doors open at 9.00 with bacon butties for early arrivers (£2.50)

Holsworthy Memorial Hall, Manor Car Park, North Road, Holsworthy, EX22 6DJ (map)

Car park details here

The booking form is here


'Exotic Travels of a Bee Researcher'

Professor Steve Martin – University of Salford

Professor Steve Martin now holds the Chair in Social Entomology at the University of Salford after initially studying in Wales followed by an MSc in Japan and PhD when he studied the local hornets. On his return to the UK Steve worked at the National Bee Unit for seven years where he researched the pests and pathogens of honeybees and became internationally known for his work on the parasitic Varroa mite. After the NBU Steve carried out research at the University of Sheffield into the chemical recognition systems in social insects and continued his work into honeybee pathogens.

Steve's main areas of research at the University of Salford are the study the pests and pathogens of honeybees and understanding the complex chemical communication systems that underlie most behaviours in social insects. Recently his group at Salford has studied the viral strain that has led to the global death of millions of honeybee colonies. This work has helped stakeholders understand the problems honeybees face and has influenced policy at the European Parliament.

Professor Martin's world-wide research work into social insects and particularly the honeybee has given him plenty of material for his talk. Amongst other topics his talk will cover the effects of the viral diseases that the Varroa mite has introduced to the honey bee and we hope answer the question 'How bright is the future for the honeybee?'

'Forage Nutrition'

Steve Alton – Director, FlowerScapes Ltd

Originally from Sheffield, Steve studied Biology at the University of York, before embarking on a career in the environment sector. Having worked as County Conservation Officer for one of the Wildlife Trusts, he then spent 12 years running the UK Programme of the Millennium Seed Bank Project at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew.

During that time he carried out fieldwork and training around the world, from Ascension Island to the Lake District. Steve has a particular interest in the history of the British landscape.

Dr Karin Alton – Post Doctoral Research Fellow, University of Sussex and Director, FlowerScapes Ltd

Dr Karin Alton is a Post Doctoral Research Fellow with the Laboratory of Apiculture and Social Insects (LASI) at the University of Sussex. Following a career in commercial and retail finance, Karin obtained a Zoology degree at Nottingham University, then a PhD in Entomology. She has worked with hoverflies, aphids (galling aphids on poplar trees), tephritid flies and their parasitoids on knapweed, bugs and beetles of various grasslands, and now with honey bees.

Steve and Karin are directors of FlowerScapes Ltd a company that provides habitat creation and wildlife gardening solutions informed by the latest ecological research. FlowerScapes provide simple, cost-effective solutions that can increase the wildlife value of almost any piece of land, and not just for pollinators.

Steve and Karin's talk will cover a brief history of our landscape and how honey bees and other pollinators use the landscape and seasonality of forage available.

'Honey Bees in the Wild – What Can we Learn From Them?'

Roger Patterson – Deputy Chairman of BIBBA

Roger Patterson is a practical beekeeper who started keeping bees in 1963. This was directly after the harsh 1962/3 winter when a large number of bees and queens were imported. He quickly realised these imports were not well suited to our climate and conditions. At one stage he ran 130 colonies, but has now reduced to around 25. He concentrates on teaching the practical aspects of beekeeping at his local BKA where he is the Apiary Manager. He lectures and demonstrates widely and is a regular contributor to the bee press.

Roger now owns and maintains Dave Cushman's website www.dave-cushman.net that is widely recognised as one of the world’s most comprehensive beekeeping websites. He is the author of Beekeeping, A Practical Guide. Roger can often be seen in the company of his border collie Nell.

Over many years of keeping bees Roger has participated in the removal of several hundred wild colonies from trees and buildings, many of them pre-varroa. In doing so has learnt a lot about how bees live naturally. The information gathered has convinced him that perhaps we should rethink some of our standard management methods as bees often don't do what we expect and we may be working against them.

In his talk Roger will tell of the experiences that have led him to think again about the best management techniques for the honey bee.

Choice of workshop

This year we are again offering three workshops on honeybee related topics. Delegates are asked to choose which workshop they wish to attend

Workshop A: ''Let's Raise a Few Queens''

Val Vivian Griffiths – Master Beekeeper
Adam Parker – Bee Inspector, Forest of Dean

This workshop will help you understand what is required to begin raising Queens in your own apiary. Adam will also give a quick summary of his involvment as an inspector in the recent search and destruction of the Asian Hornet nest in Woolacombe.

Workshop B: 'Spring Management'

Jim Vivian Griffiths – Master Beekeeper Forest of Dean

This workshop will be a practical guide covering all the things you need to do in the early part of the season leading up to beginning of June. Jim will include a comparison of different methods of preventing swarms.

Workshop C: 'Enhancing your garden for flower visitors'

Steve and Karin Alton – FlowerScapes Ltd

This workshop will include some hands on demonstrations to help entice pollinators to the garden in terms of nesting sites and food resources such as constructing mini meadows, making seed bombs, hoverfly lagoons and the correct way to construct solitary bee houses.

Trade stands

Holsworthy Beekeepers are grateful for the long-term support of many local beekeeping suppliers.

Full details of the 2018 trade stands will be available soon


Holsworthy Memorial Hall

Holsworthy Memorial Hall, Manor Car Park, North Road, Holsworthy, EX22 6DJ, (map)

  • Car Parks
  • Memorial Hall, EX22 6DJ

    Next to the Memorial Hall, 60p per hour, free after 12.00 noon on Saturdays

  • Well Park Long Stay Car Park, EX22 6DH

    Approx 250m from the Memorial Hall, £1 all day.

Cost – payable on the door

Holsworthy branch members – £16

All others – £18

The cost includes buffet lunch, tea, coffee and homemade cakes at break time.

Bacon butties (served 09.00 - 09.45) – £2.50


The booking form is here

If there are problems booking, please contact Graham Jones by email: springconvention@holsworthybeekeepers.org.uk

Note that the link should open your email program with the address completed. If it does not then please copy the address and send an email in the usual way.



Holsworthy Beekeepers

Branch Logo

Holsworthy Beekeepers is a branch of
Devon Beekeepers Association

Registered Charity Number 270675

Page last updated on
1 January 2018