I was lucky enough to be invited to a gathering of the Iceni Microscopy Group today. Originally formed by beekeepers as a way of monitoring bee health, the current members also have a range of other interests – including algae and tortoises! Although during my university years I used microscopy to look at objects such as nematode eggs, bacteria and muscle fibres it is some time ago and I needed a refresher on basic technique (i.e don’t slam the lens down into the slide…).
However, I was made very welcome and had a great time looking at some specimen slides, including those of pollen, varroa mites, nosema (a microsporidium that can only be identified via microscopy), drone sperm (had some difficulty recognising the head) and some bee body parts. Although as a beekeeper looking at diseases and parasites are what has drawn me towards using a microscope, I have to admit to an existing interest in anatomy, so looking at antennae, mouth parts and legs was absolutely fascinating.
I hope to continue with the microscopy group and eventually become reasonably proficient. So far the Iceni Microscopy Group have had 100% pass rate of entrants for the BBKA exam so there must be hope for me yet. I have taken the above images from their website all of which are slides that I saw earlier. Many thanks to Peter, Keith, Bob and Lewis for your help and inspiration today.