We are in for another insightful talk, this time presented by Alexander (Sasha) Mikheyev of ANU , titled ‘Bee line between Okinawa and Canberra’.
Globalization has allowed the exchange of ideas, resources and technology.
However, it has also facilitated the worldwide spread of diseases, parasites and invasive species. Sasha has been examining this dark side of globalization, particularly focusing on the spread and evolution of honey bee parasites, the Varroa mites.
Originally native to Asian honey bees, which are able to tolerate them, the parasites switched to western honey bees, which were brought to Korea and Japan in the 20th century to improve beekeeping. Since then the parasites have spread worldwide, decimating honey bee population. Australia is thus far the only major country free of these pests, though they are expected to arrive in the near future. International collaboration is necessary to try to avert an agricultural catastrophe in Australia and to mitigate the mites’ worldwide spread.
Sasha’s research is part of a collaboration between the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, the Australian National University, the CSIRO and the US Department of Agriculture. Sasha travels regularly between Canberra and Okinawa and will present some fascinating insights into both his work and cross-cultural experiences.
The festival features Japanese cuisine, markets and stalls with visitors able to take part in various activities.
Not to be missed are the martial arts demonstrations and mochi pounding – a demonstration of traditional rice-cake making by the Embassy of Japan. At the Embassy tent you can also play traditional Japanese games.