The South Devon Bee project is a partnership between the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Unit and the University of Exeter. The project consists of a four year PhD position, held by Raluca Herascu, which aims to better understand how bees navigate in their natural environment.
By carrying out experiments in the AONB, the research hopes to shed light on how the natural features of the landscape affect the way in which bees navigate and forage.
Activities so far have included field based experiments in the Avon Valley, a school visit and workshop at Charleton Primary School, participation in 'Big Day Out on the Farm' at East Soar and staging an interactive educational display at Totnes and District Show.
The project makes use of innovative new technologies to tag and track bee movement. By fitting bees with microchip ‘backpacks’, the bees can scan in and out of their colonies, allowing their movements to be monitored and analysed.
The research team hopes that the results of this project will help to inform land management practices in South Devon as well as further afield. By having a better understanding of how bees forage, it's hoped that it will be possible to help create and maintain landscapes that encourage wild bee populations.
The project is looking for potential field sites for the upcoming 2017 summer experimental season. If you are interested in helping out or would like know more please contact Raluca Herascu at : firstname.lastname@example.org.
Funding for this project comes from the Natural Environment Research Council.