Study Group
Exploring the miniature world
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About the Group

Our aims are to * promote the welfare of bees within East Anglia. * offer training in the use of optical microscopes. * stimulate microscopical study and activities. * encourage and support people taking the BBKA microscopical examination.

About the site

The webspace for this site has been made available by the Quekett Microscopical Club, which is the UK’s leading organisation for all who are interested in the microscope and microscopy. We would urge anyone who is at all interested in microscopy to join the Quekett! The site itself has been designed by Iceni members Gordon, Robert & Steve.

Welcome to the Iceni Microscopy Study Group!

Membership of The Iceni Microscope Group is open to all. We meet on the first Saturday of the month at;

Berg Apton Village Hall, Cooke’s Road, Bergh Apton, NORWICH NR15 1AA

Meetings run from about 9:30am till 4pm. Current membership fee is just £60 a year, Tea and Coffee supplied throughout the day – but bring your own lunch. Members are always happy to help new microscopists – you do not have to have a microscope as we can lend you one for the day. We can also give advice on purchasing microscopes.

Contact; if you are interested in joining, or just turn up at one of the meetings.

Visit Us!

Anyone is welcome to visit us to check out if the Club is for them, you can either just turn up to one of our meetings - check the date of the next one on this page - or contact our Secretary for further information. There will always be someone willing to show you what we do and there’s always a spare microscope or two to use.

If you’ve not used a microscope before or your last experience of them was some time ago, you’ll be amazed at the advances made in the last few years in the field of microphotography. Time was when you had to buy an expensive Single Lens Reflex or a dedicated camera made for your particular microscope, and both options cost an absolute fortune. In either case, taking the photos was a bit hit and miss until you’d acquired considerable experience and unless you used one of the expensive Polaroid systems you had to wait for the photos to be developed to find out how successful you had been.  

Microscope cameras

How things have changed!  It’s now possible to buy a dedicated digital camera that not only produces good quality still images but also High Definition video for much less than £100, and it’s an investment you’ll never regret. Not only will you be able to make a record what you have achieved, you’ll be able to produce stunning photos that are well worthy of showing off and - as a huge bonus! - you can record video of subjects such as pond life that are positively amazing. All of the photos and videos on this page were produced by such a camera, one that actually cost just over £40 including the relay lens, and adapters are included to that it will work on just about any microscope. An example of a 5MP video camera is shown on the right, at the time of writing these cost around £42, but the price regularly goes down as technology develops and the performance also improves. Higher specification cameras are available but obviously the price is higher. Several of our members have this type of equipment and are only too pleased to show it off!

Photo above is of a three mites collected from  leaf litter at Warnham Nature Reserve and mounted by Gordon Brown. Taken using a Meiji stereo microscope and an Android mobile phone held above one eyepiece. 4x objective and 10x eyepiece.

Just to give potential members some idea of the sort of help you’ll get at the club, Gordon has produced a couple of videos that demonstrate slide ringing, based on some meetings we had last year. These can be accessed from the links to the right of this text, to view them in a larger format click on the word “YouTube”

Braula coeca - article by Peter Sunderland

One of our members has just had an article published in The Beekeepers Quarterly an international English language beekeeping journal published by Northern Bee Books since 1984. Peter Sunderland has put together a very interesting piece on Braula coeca, found in honey bee colonies, these most unusual wingless and small flies are not a true bee parasite, and are barely recognizable as Diptera as they have the superficial appearance of mites or lice. They are no longer found in England, Scotland, and Wales, but some are still seen on the Isle of

Man, (and possibly some remote Scottish islands. Modern chemical treatments for Varroa (a bee pest of serious economic importance) have killed all the rest. There are some lovely photomicrographs in the article!

The article can be viewed or downloaded by clicking the following link; Braula coeca article

If you are a beekeeper and would like to help in research about Braula, please download and complete the Survey Form and email to (form also available in Word format at Braula Survey Word)

Back in business at
Bergh Apton!

Following a long absence of face to face meetings for reasons we all know too well, the Iceni Group is well and truly back to work and to cement this welcome change we had seven additional visitors to our meeting on 7th August. Our guests were beekeepers from the local area and had come to see how we carried out training in microscopy techniques to satisfy the requirements of the British Bee Keepers Association in their assessment for the Microscopy Certificate. This certificate provides a qualification and measure of achievement for those beekeepers with an interest  in pollen, anatomy, and disease relevant to the honey bee, and the Group was founded in 2008 following a course run to help beekeepers pass the assessment.

Whilst the Group is not exclusively concerned with beekeeping, many of our members are active in that field and the study of bees, pollen and honey remains a core part of our activities. The visitors were given an introduction to the members and shown how to use the microscopes and ancillary equipment before participating in our August meeting, appropriately covering the dissection of the honey bee drone, which is part of the BBKA syllabus. Led by Jeremy Quinlan, who is an active beekeeper and Master Beekeeper, we were able to clearly demonstrate the techniques required, everyone being able to see the process on video monitors connected to two cameras mounted on an Olympus SZH stereo microscope and illuminated by a Meiji fibre optic light guide system. After the demonstration the visitors were able to use members equipment to carry out their own dissection, help and supervision being available to ensure a good measure of success. All participants were also provided with a detailed bound booklet of instructions to take away for future reference.

The Berghaptoner

Local residents will be aware that Bergh Apton has its own website and a bimonthly newsletter is published, containing items of local interest. The August edition of the Berghaptoner has a lovely article about the Iceni Group, written by John Ling and accessible at the following link

Berghaptoner August 2021

A short video clip of part of our August meeting

Peter talks to two of our visitors