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Bee Beano

I went to a lovely day hosted by the Laboratory of Apiculture and Social Insects (LASI) at the University of Sussex last week to catch up with their latest work, to learn more about honeybees, and to network with the gathered great and good. And what a good day it was. Two aspects of the event struck me as being particularly helpful. LASII always enjoy listening to scientists talking about bees, particularly those of practical bent. I am regularly confused by (mis)information proffered by journalists and enthusiasts who often have some sort of agenda of their own. These arguments can understandably generate a lot of heat as a consequence, so it was particularly refreshing to bathe in the cool waters of scientific enquiry for a day. I learnt a lot, some of which I should have known but didn't, and a fair bit that was completely new to me (including, by the way, that the pinky red colour that Horse Chestnut flowers turn means that they have been pollinated). The second helpful thing was the mix of folk there. I've been struck over the last year by the dislocation there can be between conservationists/ecologists and the commercial sector. Events like this are brilliant in getting people to understand where the different sides are coming from. There is a very commercial relevance to honeybees of course, and that was reflected by the attendees. Rowse Honey, Waitrose and Burt's Bees are major funders of the lab, and Marks and Spencer were there too, together with some commercial beekeepers. There were government bodies as well as teachers, journalists, and folk from a wide range of conservation charities, local and national. Congratulations to LASI and the University of Sussex for coming up with the idea. I'm sure it will grow and become an important date in the Bee Calendar.