2019 EBKA Conference

The 2019 EBKA Conference will be hosted by Saffron Walden Beekeepers and is scheduled for

Sunday 20 October 2019
9am – 4pm
Felsted School

Tickets will be £25 per person including lunch

More details to follow.



Jurgen Tautz – The Bee Factory


The author, Jurgen Tautz, is a world-leading scientist with a remarkable number of high class publications and a gifted communicator of science. His writing and popular lectures have twice been honoured by the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) who included him among the best scientists in Europe in communicating science to the public. A gifted communicator and leading scientist, Juergen Tautz has much in common with Carl Sagan, Richard P Feynman, Konrad Lorenz, Vince Dethier and others famous for their work in popularizing science and making it accessible to all.

Jed Marshall


Ged started beekeeping when he was 15, spending a Summer working for a commercial (3,000 hive) operation in France. He got his first hives in the early ’80s and went full time in July 1989. Building up the business, focusing on bulk honey production and more recently, queen bee production. He has worked in France, Tenerife, Denmark and at Buckfast Abbey with Brother Adam to help improve his beekeeping. In February 2014 Ged was the first Bee Farmer in the country to be awarded with the status of ‘Master Bee Farmer’ having reached the highest level in the art, science and craft of bee farming accepted by the Worshipful Company of Wax Chandlers and the Bee Farmers Association of the United Kingdom. He has achieved professional recognition through the licentiateship of the City and Guilds of London Institute. 

As well as this, Ged has served on the Bee Farmers Association committee for 12 years and in 2017 he was elected chairman of the board of directors. He worked on the Honey Working Party in Brussels, becoming vice-chairman of the group representing all European beekeepers in meetings with the EU Commission. He has also served on the Bee Health Advisory Panel run by the governments Ministry of Agriculture and, more recently, was a member of the Healthy Bees Plan set up by FERA (Food and Environmental Research Agency). 

Rebecca, Ged and Sheila’s daughter, joined the company in April 2011 at the age of 19. She was the first Bee Farming Apprentice to graduate in the UK on The Worshipful Wax Chandlers Apprenticeship Scheme in October 2016. The majority of her time is focused on rearing Buckfast Queen bees for the company. She has had experience rearing queens at Buckfast Denmark with Keld Brandstrup, chairman for the Danish Association of Commercial Beekeepers and rearing thousands of Queens for Alpine Honey Co in New Zealand. She has also been fortunate enough to have spent time researching Manuka Honey Production with NZ Honey Co in South Island New Zealand. She has worked with honey bees in Western Australia in the south of Perth researching Jarrah Honey Production, Pollination of Almond Orchards in the Adelaide Hills, South Australia, and Urban Bee keeping in Sydney East Australia. 

Our bees are regularly used in the media because of their excellent temperament, we have worked with Angela Rippon, Mark Wogan (Terry’s son), John Craven (Countryfile), various news items including James Naughtie, Jules Botfield, Chris Evans, Ainsley Harriott (Ready Steady Cook & Great British Food Revival), Stefan Gates (Food Factory, out 2012) and many others. 

Steve Martin


My first studies in biology included bird-ringing and collecting insects in the UK and China. I completed my BSc at Bangor University in Wales, followed by MSc from Shinshu University in Japan on beetles as environmental indicators of habitat disturbance. I also studied hornets which led onto my PhD where I developed my interests in social insects, which was furthered when I returned to Japan to conduct research into the population dynamics of hornets on a small sub-tropical island. On returning to the UK I worked for the National Bee Unit for seven years researching the pests and pathogens of honeybees, where I became internationally known for my work in the parasitic Varroa mite.

I then returned to University and spent 12 years at Sheffield elucidation chemical recognition systems in social insects and continuing my work into honeybee pathogens mainly in Hawaii. In 2012, I moved over to the University of Salford in order to continue my research and help educate the next generation of scientists.

My teaching is in the area of zoology, animal behaviour and chemical ecology. It is closely linked to and driven by my research. I see teaching is a two-way process allowing for transfer of knowledge and expertise to the next generation from which the birth of new ideas and continually questioning current ideas is generated. I am very active outside university giving talks to beekeeper groups and other stakeholders in industry all around the world.

Invertebrates among most diverse and important group of animals. I have always had a deep interest in this group and their ecological importance in ecosystems. Of these, the social insects (bees, wasps, ants and termites) are the most biologically important due to numerical dominance.  My research focuses on various aspects of their biology since social insects provide excellent model systems with which to test a wide range of behaviours from conflict to cooperation.

Currently there is a worldwide decline in pollinating insects and I am looking at the molecular changes associated with increased virulence of an emerging viral pathogen using the honeybee, Varroa mite and deformed wing virus as a model system. Recently we have shown in Hawaii that the new viral transmission route caused by the parasitic Varroa mite has selected for a viral strain that has led to the global death of millions of honeybee colonies. The impact of this study has helped stakeholders understand the problem and has influenced policy at the European Parliament. Currently we are looking at ways mite tolerance has arisen in various honey bee populations.

I am also investigating the underlying mechanisms of phenotypic plasticity in chemical recognition systems in ants, using Formcia ants as the model system. Understanding how phenotypic variation is generated and then maintained is one of the major challenges currently facing biologists.

We have developed over the past 8 years a detailed understanding of the chemical recognition system in the ant Formcia exsecta and are currently working out the molecular mechanisms that generate phenotypic variation, using the latest ideas and tools in molecular biology.

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