Thanks to sponsorship from the C.B. Dennis British Beekeeper's Research Trust, and to mark 150 years of the BBKA in 2024, the four authors receiving awards presented their posters at the Convention. 

The Certificate for the best poster and presentation was awarded by Professor Stephen Martin (Convenor of the judging panel) to Jenny Roberts, for her poster entitled Investigating the biophysical properties of UK sourced propolis.  The poster abstract is below.  Jenny is a lecturer in Mechanical Engineering at Lancaster University whose research focuses on the use of Additive Manufacturing as an enabler of environmental research, particularly in support of pollinators with the aim of enhancing food security around the world.  As part of her award, Jenny also receives one year’s membership of the BBKA.

The other three recipients of poster awards were:

  • Derek Mitchell, University of Leeds:  Honey Bee Cluster – not insulation but stressful heat sink
  • Md. Mubarack Hossain & Christopher Rodrigues, University of Warwick: Growth and sporulation variability of Paenibacillus larvae isolates across the globe 
  • Peter Kennedy et al, University of Exeter:The VespAI project: AI-based surveillance for the detection of invasive Asian hornets

The BBKA congratulates all four participants and thanks them for their participation in the Convention.

Abstract of the winning poster:   
Investigating the biophysical properties of UK sourced propolis   Jenny Roberts & Philip Donkersley, University of Lancaster

Although evidence abounds on the medicinal and chemical properties of propolis, knowledge on the physical behaviour is limited. Therefore, our research aims to conduct a comprehensive analysis of propolis, characterising mechanical and rheological properties plus material composition, highlighting regional variations throughout the UK. Subsequently, changing environmental parameters including UV, humidity and temperature will also be assessed determining any impact to the biophysical properties of propolis.

Initial research undertaken reveals a tensile strength of unrefined Apis mellifera propolis in the region of 0.16-0.43MPa, with reducing strength as temperatures increase. Observations during testing suggests increased proportions of resin to wax in a moulded sample increases tensile strength but also brittleness. Examination under a microscope at 50x optical zoom, illustrates the variation in distribution of wax and resin within moulded unrefined propolis samples, accounting for variations in results between samples sourced from different hives.

Taking a citizen science approach to collect propolis samples from around the UK, a robust series of measurements and tests will be conducted to collate a comprehensive data set aimed at identifying how varying compositions affect the behaviour of the material.