Category Archives: Conference Blog

A blog in relation to the 2013 Essex Beekeepers Conference

SRC Willow

By   September 5, 2013


It’s obvious that planting short rotational coppiced (SRC) willow in place of conventional agricultural crops increases farm diversification, but you may not have considered that biofuel plantations also provide an interesting alternative landscape and habitat type for many species of wildlife. In particular, willow provides an excellent early source of nectar and pollen for a wide range of bee species from February to May.

Some of Dr. Alison Haughton’s current work at Rothamsted Research, where she leads the Pollinator Ecology Group, involves evaluating the potential benefits of planting more biomass crops, like (SRC) willow, in the agricultural landscape. Come and hear her latest findings about how this new crop could benefit bees and learn how willow compares with the quality of forage currently provided by other commercial crops, like oilseed rape, at this year’s Essex conference.

Edible Flowers

By   September 3, 2013


Delicious to look at and good enough to eat, edible flowers are on the menu at this year’s conference. Did you ever wonder what goes through a bee’s brain when it experiences glowing guide stripes on the fall petals of geranium, viola or nasturtium ? Well now you have the chance to tickle your tastebuds and savour seasonal petals sprinkled on your dessert. Bon appetit.

Bespoke Baskets

By   August 31, 2013


Beekeepers have long known the benefits of housing an apiary near a stand of willow. Loved by all bees for its excellent source of early pollen and nectar and with the increase in need for biofuel, large plantations of willow may soon become commonplace in the landscape. Short rotation coppice (SRC) systems utilise high yield varieties of both poplar and willow, but it may surprise you to learn that the willow species typically chosen, is the Common Osier, or Basket Willow (Salix viminalis).

Designer maker, Deb Hart (Hart Willow), skilfully weaves local willow into bespoke baskets from her Braintree studio. So we were delighted when she agreed to make a small number of her stunning signature willow ‘tension trays’ especially for the Essex Conference raffle this year. Sometimes her baskets contain other common hedgerow species like elder, birch, alder and hazel for added texture and interest. However, it is the inherent beauty of colour and simplicity of form in natural willow bark, which makes these versatile, handwoven platters a stylish contribution to any table, whether empty or laden.

Make sure you buy a ticket to have the chance to win one !

In addition to crafting domestic pieces, Hart Willow also undertakes much larger scale projects for private and corporate clients, including garden bowers, living willow tunnels, in situ fencing and mazes, as well as holding traditional crafts workshops for learning groups of all ages.

For more information on commissions and workshops please contact :

Best Wishes

By   August 19, 2013


Best wishes are rolling in from academics and sponsors to wish us all a happy and successful conference 2013. Here are just a few:

“…My best wishes to you and your organising committee for the event. Your speakers are really ‘heavy hitters’ when it comes to delivering excellent presentations at your conference. May I wish you every success with it.”

Philip McCabe.  (President, Apimondia European Commission)

“With best wishes for a successful conference.”

Sarah Jones  (Publications Manager (IBRA) International Bee Research Association)

“Looking at the web site I was very tempted to come along myself, interesting talks and the venue looks superb, very peaceful! I think that as I leave for Kiev and Apimondia the following Friday I had better stay closer to home. I hope you have a great day. Best wishes.”

Jeremy MW Owen.  (Director, Vita (Europe) Ltd.)

“I wish you a fruitful event 🙂  Best regards.”

Gilles RATIA.  President of Apimondia:


Working Woodland Day

By   August 15, 2013


Why not come along to our Conference venue and sponsor’s popular Working Woodland Day on Saturday 17 August 10am-3pm.

A free family Nature Event with a wide variety of exhibitors and activities it promises to be a fun day out for all ages. Check their website for a timetable of events and demos including Suffolk Punch Horses, archery, traditional blacksmiths, chainsaw carving, wood turning, tree felling and much more.

For more information please contact: