Walton Post 16 students had the opportunity to hear from one of the UK’s leading scientific experts on the honeybee, when Dr Martin Bencsik visited the academy recently.

Dr Bencsik, who is a scientist and associate professor at Nottingham Trent University, studies the vibrations of honeybees in a quest to understand how the insects communicate with one another inside the hive.

Dr Bencsik explained to students how the honeybees are deaf so use vibrations to communicate rather than sound. He and his team of researchers place accelerometers (devices to detect vibrations) inside the hive and have discovered the pulse signals honeybees use when surprised, as well as being the first to record the ‘wake up sound’ used by older honeybees to get the younger ones up and working. The signal, known as the Dorso-Ventral Abdominal Vibration, alerts other bees to start foraging for food or become more active when the insects drum on the comb.

Despite being a physicist with many other scientific interests, Dr Bencsik focuses on these small and fascinating creatures because he says ‘bees are very valuable to us’.

Walton students have the opportunity to hear from a range of speakers and experts in their field as part of our enrichment and extra-curricular programmes.