I'm really excited to be working with Christine Hooper on a new project to depict MHC-associated mate choice through expressive dance. Christine is planning to bid for a Wellcome Trust Arts Award in June; these awards aim to "stimulate interest, excitement and debate about biomedical science through high-quality, original artistic practice". Christine makes animated documentaries and we hope to present the film and hold interactive discussions at several science exhibition venues. This promises to be a lot of fun - watch this space!
Struan is now Assistant Beekeeper, but needs proper gloves.
Isla is in charge of honey processing but so far shows no interest in donning a suit....
I love this new paper in PeerJ - Honey bee sting pain index by body location. The author rated the painfulness of stings in different body areas relative to an "internal standard" sting on his forearm. Least painful locations were the skull, middle toe tip and upper arm (score of 2.3). The most painful areas, in reverse order were (cue drum roll): (3) penis shaft (7.3), (2) upper lip (8.7) and...... (1) nostril (9.0). I wish I had thought of doing this... well, almost. This must be a sure favourite for the Ignobel Awards.
Another aim for this year is to take the next step in the Scottish Beekeepers Association examinations system. Last season I passed the Basic Beemaster Certificate, which included both practical (taking the new SBA Vice-President through one of my hives) and theory elements. Now there are only eight modules to go to work towards being a Master Beekeeper!