SOMERSET beekeepers are looking forward to their annual lecture day in Cheddar on Saturday (February 21) when renowned experts will cover topics from sustainability to disease.

Among them is US honey farmer Mike Palmer who describes bees as ‘the angels of agriculture’ for their role in pollination.

Although he keeps bees many thousands of miles away from the West Country, his green approach is as applicable to the region as to his native Vermont.

Richard Bache, secretary of the Somerset Beekeepers group, said the lecture day was the association’s principal education event.

“It allows beekeepers a rare opportunity to hear talks on important topical subjects allied to beekeeping from nationally and internationally renowned speakers,”

he said.

“This year we have a fascinating lineup including how to sustainably keep bees and rear new queens, the challenges of the Varroa mite in combination with honeybee viruses and how the bees smell the world.”

David Evans, professor of virology at the University of Warwick and himself a beekeeper, will be talking about his research into deformed wing virus, which has major implications for colony management.

Celia Davis, a beekeeper for 35 years, an examiner for the British Beekeepers’ Association and author, will be looking at the roles of winter and summer bees and the importance of scent to pollinators.

A bee clinic run by the Regional Bee Inspector and his team will provide help and advice about bee diseases.

The lecture day will be held from 9am to 5pm at the Kings of Wessex Academy in Cheddar.

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