Calendar

The following is calendar of events planned for the coming year.  It is made up of :
  • Reading & District Beekeeping Association events
  • British Beekeeping Association and other events
  • Neighbouring Berkshire beekeeping associations




2017 WINTER MEETINGS (once a month evening talks)

These meetings (once a month from October through to March) entail a guest speaker talking on a variety of subjects aimed at beginners and experts. This is often followed by open forum question and answer to build your knowledge during the months when it is not possible to tend the bees. 


All winter meetings take place on Thursday evenings 7.15-9:15pm at the following location :

Caversham Heights Church
74 Highmoor Road
Caversham Heights
Reading
RG4 7BG

<<< NEXT WINTER EVENT  to follow >>>

12th October 2017 - 19:00 for 19:30 start
Dr Michael Keith-Lucas (from Reading University School of Biological Sciences) will be giving us a talk on 'The Decline of Honey Bees and Solitary bees'.

Dr Keith-Lucas need no introduction as he is well known in the area as a biologist who has taken a particular interest in bees. He is also well known for his knowledge of pollen and has acted as an expert witness in cases involving this.

The talk will be delivered at the
Methodist Church, 74 Highmoor Rd, Reading RG4 7BG

9th November 2017 - 19:00 for 19:30 start
Reading Beekeepers Association - AGM and Honey Show
We aim to repeat last year's experiment in having enhanced refreshments following the AGM. Details of the honey show or any possible alternatives will be available in due course.

14th December 2017 - 19:00 for 19:30 start
Margaret Murdin NDB - keeping your colonies healthy
Margaret is the Chairwoman of the BBKA and we are privileged to have her come and talk to us on this subject. As is inevitable these days it will cover pests and diseases.

11th January 2017 - 19:00 for 19:30 start
To be confirmed

8th February 2017 - 19:00 for 19:30 start
Dr Melanie Orros - Small cell project.

Melanie is based at Reading University and has been researching the effect of using small cell foundation (4.9mm instead of 5.4mm) as a way of controlling the varroa mite. Melanie has been working with John White who may also take part in the lecture and will present the results from a number of colonies in the area.


2017 SUMMER MEETINGS

Our Apiary visits (once a month from April through to September) entail going to a members apiary and one of our mentor beekeepers opening up numerous hives and explain the goings on and findings. This means beginners can get right up close to the inner workings of the hive as well as picking up valuable tips. This will help them decide if beekeeping is for them - if you plan to attend, please let our Secretary know and come armed with:
  • loose thick trousers (preferably jeans), not skin tight
  • Wellington boots or ankle high water proof boots
  • CRITICAL - new pair of rubber kitchen gloves
  • beekeeping suit will be provided for beginners

<< 2017 SUMMER MEETINGS >>

Our summer meetings have now finished for another summer.

2017 Previous Events 

20th August 2017

In August we aill be back at the Club apiary in Dunsden, The season will be drawing to a close by then and Clark, our apiary manager, will, we expect, be demonstrating any special measures that should be taken at this time of the year.


10th September 2017

Our final meeting of the year will be at the picturesque Harris gardens at the University of Reading. Helen and Julia have an excellent apiary in a walled garden with controlled access and a huge variety  of local forage for the bees.

Enter the university via the Pepper Road entrance and turn right at the mini roundabout about 50 metres from the gate. Follow the road around for about 300 metres and park in the first car park on the right. (car park 13). It is important to get the at 11.00 am promptly as and you will need to be escorted by a member of the university as it is quite a walk to the hives.


Sunday 14th May 11:30 -  Reading Beekeepers Club Apiary
Directions - Next door to All Saints Church, Church Lane, DunsdenRG4 9PH.  As you approach the church having driven past The Loddon Brewery, park in the large tarmac carpark on the left before you reach the church.  Walk through the public footpath gap in the hedge and turn left - you will see the RBKA shed.
Parking - please park on the opposite side of the road to the houses and not on the grass verge or drive.


Sunday 9th April 11:30 - Martin & Annette Jukes host our first meeting
Martin and Annette apiary is in their garden not far from Reading University campus.  Every year Martin and Annette have thriving strong colonies and readily producing NUCs.
Directions - will be added nearer the dates
Parking - tbc


Saturday 11th March 10:30am  - Beekeeping Open Day click on the following link :

Link -  Bee Open Day




Thursday 9th February 7:30pm  Andy Willis gave a talk entitled 'Plants I would recommend to beekeepers for their gardens/apiaries'.

Andy Willis from south Hants who is a successful & innovative beekeeper, trained as a horticulturist & plants man his first contact with keeping honey bees was when starting a job at a large estate in Lincolnshire he was introduced to fourteen beehives which he was informed he was now responsible for. At a garden fête at the big house on a fine day early that summer which he also had to organise he was called upon to deal with five swarms! As he says “ it was a very steep learning curve!” Andy topic is ‘ plants I would recommend to beekeepers for their garden apiary’. Andy is a very informative & entertaining speaker. Don’t miss it!

Thursday 12th January 7:30pm  The January talk will be 'Skep making and Skep beekeeping' by Chris Park. 
Chris runs a centre near Swindon specialising in ancient crafts & was one of our most striking demonstrators  sat our 2016 Beekeeping Day. Many of us use skeps as our preferred receptacle for collecting swarms but apart from that the ‘old-way’ of keeping & holding bees (particularly for ‘bee auctions’) in hand-made straw skeps in by no means dead! In the Netherlands & north-western Europe & the skep is still highly valued for its hardiness, keeping qualities & flexibility. Don’t miss this, come along & build-up your knowledge as Chris builds up  a skep!

Sunday 11th September     - 11:00am for 11:30 start - Reading University Harris Garden 
Directions - 
See map below - enter the University at the Pepper Lane entrance and turn right at the mini roundabout circa 50 metres after the entrance. Car park 13 is just down in the right just after the bend.


Sunday 21st August     - 11:30am start - Reading Beekeepers Club Apiary

Directions - Next door to All Saints Church, Church Lane, DunsdenRG4 9PH.  As you approach the church having driven past The Loddon Brewery, park in the large tarmac carpark on the left before you reach the church.  Walk through the public footpath gap in the hedge and turn left - you will see the RBKA shed.
Parking - please park on the opposite side of the road to the houses and not on the grass verge or drive.

Sunday 31st July     -  Mike Dabbs Ticehurst
This apiary meeting will be hosted by Mike and Marion Dabbs.  This location is beekeeping in a suburb of Reading which is a fantastic location for bees - you will see this first hand when you see Mike's flourishing hives.

2016 Historic Events 

Sunday 19th June     - 11:30am start - Club Apiary


Sunday 17th April - 11:30am - Martin & Annette Jukes will host us


Reading Beekeepers - Beekeeping Open Day
Saturday 19th March 10:30am - 16:15
-  10.45-12.00 Will Messenger spoke on "Have your best ever season"
-  12.00- 13.00 Chris Park demonstrated "Skep Making Demonstrating"
-  12.20-13.30 Rob Nickless spoke on "Making products from the hive"
-  13:45-14:15 Chris Park spoke on "Skep Beekeeping"
-  14:30- 15:45 Graham Royle spoke on "If Heath Robinson had been a beekeeper"


2015 Previous Events 

Winter Talks
13th October                  -    John Haverson talking about the Warré hive

8th December             -  Andrew Gibb talking about 'Beekeeping and a full-time job'

12th January               - Dr Nikki Gammans talking on 'Solitary Bees'

16th February             - 'BeeGone' to talk to us on 'Non-lethal removal of honeybees from structures'


September - Sunday 20th September 2015 at 11:30am - Katie Holmes
Directions - Bridge Farm Reading Rd Arborfield Post code RG2 9HT. 

Sunday 23rd August 2015 at midday - Reading Beekeepers Association Club Apiary
Directions - Next door to All Saints Church, Church Lane, DunsdenRG4 9PH.  As you approach the church having driven past The Loddon Brewery, park in the large tarmac carpark on the left before you reach the church.  Walk through the public footpath gap in the hedge and turn left - you will see the RBKA shed.

Sunday 2nd August 2015 - Emma & Giles - Crays Pond near Goring
This apiary is in the garden of Emma and Giles cottage between Crays Pond on Goring.  This is a rural apiary which is heavily dependent on farmers crops, wood land and hedgerows for the bees to forage in.

Sunday 28th June 2015 at 11:30am - Reading Beekeepers Association Club Apiary
Directions - Next door to All Saints Church, Church Lane, DunsdenRG4 9PH.  As you approach the church having driven past The Loddon Brewery, park in the large tarmac carpark on the left before you reach the church.  Walk through the public footpath gap in the hedge and turn left - you will see the RBKA shed.

Sunday 17th May 2015 - Cross Lane Apple Farm, Mapledurham
Michael & Hazel Blackburn’s Out Apiary at Cross Lanes Apple Farm, Mapledurham hosted our monthly meeting.  Michael's bees are the resident pollinators at Cross Lanes farm, well known locally for sales of fruit also offers the Blackburn’s honey from the orchards. This location is beekeeping in a rural agricultural location which is different to greater Reading suburbs.

Sunday 26th April 2015 - Clark Hunter, Sonning Common
The first of our 2015 monthly apiary meetings was at Clark Hunters apiary which is also first time for an apiary meeting in Sonning Common.

21st March - BEEKEEPING DAY
Reading Beekeepers welcomed the public, prospective beekeepers and just anyone curious about bees. There were stalls of all things bees and beekeeping; from local honey, educational displays and beekeeping equipment supplier.

In addition, the following speakers will be giving short talks on the following topics :
11:00am     Dr. Beulah Cullen    "Health of the Honey Bee" 
12:00pm     Dr. John Cullen        "Honey into Mead" 
1:00pm       Rob Nickless            "Wax and Candle Making" 
2.15pm       Ged Marshall            "Year In the Life of a Bee Farmer"

10th February 2015 starts 7:30pm
Tom Salter topic "Getting started on Queen rearing"
Tom Salter was introduced to bees and beekeeping in the 1950s by a close relative living in Devon. Since 1983 his bees have travelled with him on tours of duty to Wiltshire, Yorkshire, Warwickshire, Birmingham and finally to North Somerset in 1997.
He currently manages 15 to 20 colonies on three apiary sites. Tom became a Master Beekeeper in 1998 and was awarded the Wax Chandler’s prize, is a BBKA Senior Honey Judge, an experienced Senior Assessor for the Examinations Board and past Chairman of the Examinations Board.

13th January 2015 starts 7:30pm
Steve Moll topic "My Beekeeping year managing 70 hives"
Steve will describe how he manages his 70 production hives through the seasons, focusing on equipment, preparing colonies for winter, inspection procedures, swarm control and re-queening




2014 Previous Events 

9th December 2014 starts 7:30pm
Dr Michael Keith-Lucas topic "Identification of honey from pollen"
Michael will be talking about pollen and the identification of honey from the pollen. You can guarantee that this will be an extremely interesting lecture.

11th November 2014 starts 7:30pm
Our AGM - followed by our honey show
This was our annual AGM open to members who we really encouraged to attend so they could have their say in association business.

This will be followed by the Reading Honey Show which will be judged by Hazel Blackburn our very own honey judge.  There are classes for beginners as well as open to all members.
In addition, there will be Honey Cake competition based on the following recipes.


14th October 2014 starts 7:00pm
Sean Stevenson topic "How Mid Bucks association organises training"
Sean is the Chairman of the mid-Bucks BKA and is a Master Beekeeper. He is well known to our association as he is our examiner for the Basic Assessments. His talk was about how they organise training in their association.

Sunday 21st September 2014 at 11:30am - Crays Pond near Woodcote
Our last of the summer apiary meetings was at Giles and Emma's apiary between Crays Pond and Goring.  This was a rural apiary which is heavily dependent on farmers crops, wood land and hedgerows for the bees to forage in.

24th & 25th August - Reading & District Honey Show - at Swallowfield Show 
Reading & District Beekeepers Honey Show was held in the horticultural produce tent at The Swallowfield Show.

Apiary Visit - Sunday 17th August 2014 at 11:30am - Earley, Reading
Our August visit was kindly hosted by Matt & Kirsten Linnard in Earley.  The Linnards have 4 colonies in a suburban garden, good opportunity for new members who maybe planning something similar.  This was our first time visit to their apiary giving us a new location and aspect of beekeeping in Reading.

Apiary Visit - Sunday 27th July 2014 at 11:30am - Emmer Green 
Bob and Karen Challis will be hosting our July meeting at Emmer Green on the outskirts of Reading.  Bob has good number of very strong colonies with usually lots to see and learn.

Apiary Visit - Sunday 22nd June 2014 at 11:30am - Tilehurst 
This apiary meeting was hosted by Mike and Marion Dabbs.  This location is beekeeping in a suburb of Reading which is a fantastic location for bees - you will see this first hand when you see Mike's flourishing hives. 

Apiary Visit - Sunday 18th May 2014  - Cross Lane Apple Farm, Mapledurham  
Michael & Hazel Blackburn’s Out Apiary at Cross Lanes Apple Farm, Mapledurham.  Michael's bees are the resident pollinators at Cross Lanes farm, well known locally for sales of fruit also offers the Blackburn’s honey from the orchards. This location is beekeeping in a rural agricultural location which is different to greater Reading suburbs.

Saturday 26th April 2013 (10.00am - 3pm) Free Entry
BEAN POLE DAY at Caversham Court Gardens, Church Road, Caversham, Reading, RG4 7AD

Organised by ECONET: (Reading’s Conservation Volunteers and supporters of local environmental groups) during National Beanpole Week, promoting local woodland products and wildlife friendly gardening.  The emphasis this year is on bees and Reading Beekeeper members will be there, with wild comb, wax, virtual hive etc. to educate visitors about bees and encourage them to help bees in any way they can.  Of course, there will be local honey and beeswax candles for sale too!

There will be many nature activities for children and you can also buy plants, bean poles, pea sticks, willow plant supports and reconditioned tools.  Other associations include:  RSPB, BBOWT, Friends of the Earth, Ways & Means, Food 4 Families, Friends of Caversham Court, Tilehurst Horticultural Association, Friends of Harris Garden, Motor Neurone Disease Association.

National Bean Pole Week is run by the Small Woods Association and calls on gardeners to obtain their bean poles from British grown coppice, thus supporting our coppiced woodlands, wild life and ancient traditions.


Apiary Visit - Sunday 13th April 2014 - Arborfield
Our first apiary meeting was hosted by Simon and Katie Holmes at Arborfield.

22nd March - BEEKEEPING DAY
Reading Beekeepers welcomed the public, prospective beekeepers and just anyone curious about bees.  There were stalls of all things bees and beekeeping; from local honey, educational displays and beekeeping equipments supplier.

In addition, the following speakers presented at the open day :


 11:00am Tom Salter "Managing the Swarming Impulse"
 12:30pm Rob Nicklass  "Introduction to Beekeeping" taster talk aimed at people considering taking up beekeeping.
 2:15pm Claire Wearing "Honey hunting in Nepal and Beekeeping in Africa"


11th February - last of the winter talks
Andy Willis gives a talk entitled "Trials and Tribulations of a beekeeper". Andy has been in beekeeping for many years and has written in the BBKA journal about the work that he did on processing the wax that was used to make the candles the BBKA presented to the Queen on her Golden Jubilee. 


14th January 2014
Started the new year with a talk from Dr Nadine Mitschunas giving a talk on her work on the Urban Pollinators Project at Reading University where she is responsible for the fieldwork organisation and execution together with the sample processing and data entry.



2013 Previous Events 

Tuesday 10th December 2013
Talk by Dr Michael Keith-Lucus from Reading University who is responsible for Centre for Plant Diversity and Systematics speaking on the topic of :
 "Colony collapse and causes of decline in bees (not just honeybees)"
 
Monday 26th August 2013
UK Wolf Conservation Trust Open Day

Sunday 25th & 26th August 2013

Apiary Visit - Sunday 28th July 2013
Tim & Hilary Whitaker hosted this months apiary visit on the banks of the River Thames in Mapledurham.

Apiary Visit - Sunday 23rd June 2013
Mike and Marion Dabbs kindly welcomed us this month for our apiary visit.  Mike has a healthy collection of hives in his garden in Tilehurst.

Monday 10th June 2013
Regional Bee Inspector Disease talk -   Nigel Semmence, our Regional Bee Inspector, gave a talk on Bee Disease for the people who are interested in taking the Basic Assessment this year. 

Sunday 19th May 2013
This months apiary visit was at Bob Challis' apiary.

Sunday 19th May 2013
RBKA attended the UK Wolf Conservation Trust Open Day which was held in Beenham, Berks. It was a great success and we have been invited to attend two further Open Days this year, on Monday 26th August and Sunday 6th October.

Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th April 2013
Berkshire College of Agriculture at Burchetts Green, near Maidenhead, SL6 6QR had an Open Day and Lambing Weekend.  There were beekeeping tutors and everyone was able to see course material and view the apiary (from a distance).


Saturday 20th April 2013
BEAN POLE DAY was at Caversham Court Gardens.

Organised by ECONET:[ Reading’s Conservation Volunteers and supporters of local environmental groups] during National Beanpole Week. Our Reading Beekeeper members were there for a very fun day to meet the public and promote beekeeping. 

National Bean Pole week is run by the Small Woods Association and calls on gardeners to obtain their bean poles from British grown coppice, thus supporting our coppiced woodlands, wild life and ancient traditions.


Saturday 23rd March 2013
Was our all day BEEKEEPING DAY this year held at Caversham Methodist Church.

 11:15am  Dr Sara Robb  "Making toiletries with honey and beeswax" which will also cover soaps and demonstrations
 12:30  Rob Nicklass  "Introduction to Beekeeping" taster talk aimed at people considering taking up beekeeping.
 2:15pm  Richard Pettifer  A beekeeper - who also is an independent Meteorological Consultant with a long career in operational meteorology 28 years with the UK Met. Office.  This should be a very interesting talk.



Tuesday 19th February 2013 
Andy Willis from Southampton gave a talk on "12 Months of Forage" - A look at the floral beauties our bees visit in Central Southern England during.

Tuesday 15th January 2013
Steve Benhow spoke on the subject of "Keeping Bees in High Rise Locations" - he markets his honey as "The London Honey Company" supplying honey to "Harrods", "Harvey Nichols", "The Savoy" and "Fortnum and Masons" where he manages the ornate hives on the roof.
He also keeps bees on the roof of "The National Portrait Gallery" and "Tate Modern" plus other locations. He has been requested to bring copies of his new book "The Urban Beekeeper" to the meeting, covering a year of bees in the city - I am sure he can be persuaded to sign the copies purchased. A meeting not to be missed. 



2012 Historical Meetings

Tuesday 18th December 2012 - Will Messenger will be giving a talk on "Bees as Wild Animals". 
"There is probably no other hobby or industry quite like beekeeping. Other livestock are more or less domesticated – maybe pigeons are the other exception. Thus the beekeeper has to learn to understand the honeybee at a deeper level than is necessary to keep a cow or a cat – and in any case cats and cows are mammals like us, so treating them a bit like humans should be treated doesn’t go far wrong. "

Tuesday 20th November 2012- Members evening including a "DVD" using the associations new digital projector and speakers. 

Monday 29th October
 2012- Hazel Blackburn presented "Honey for Sale" / "Preparation of Honey for Showing" and "Cake products and ingredients for Showing". 

Monday 8th October
 2012 - London Honey Show, Lancaster London Hotel. 

Tuesday 9th October
 2012- speaker Rob Nickless - Subject "Varroa treatments" (discussion) also over-wintering of bees and spring preparation for the new season.

Apiary Visit - Sunday 9th September 2012- We met at Tim Sheldon’s Home at Collins End, Goring Heath. Tim took us out in his ‘beater’s trailer’ over the Hardwick Estate to his hives located around the rural estate.

Apiary Visit - Sunday 19th August
 2012 - Tim & Hilary Whitaker hosted the apiary visit on the banks of the River Thames in Mapledurham. The beehives inspection were in Tim's lovely large garden always having something interesting going on in the hives. 

Sunday 26th & Monday 27th August 2012 Swallowfield Show where RBKA local honey, wax and baked cakes was judged in the show. For more information and directions please go to the shows website http://www.swallowfieldshow.co.uk/

Apiary Visit - Sunday 22nd July 2012 was hosted at Giles and Emma cottage between Crays Pond and Goring.

Apiary Visit - Sunday 17th June 2012 was held at Nick Matenga's apiary in Sonning.

Apiary Visit - Sunday 20th May 2012 Michael & Hazel Blackburn’s Out Apiary at Cross Lanes Apple Farm, Mapledurham.
This is a beautiful spot and can look a picture in May. Michael's bees are the resident pollinators at Cross Lanes and the farm shop, well known locally for sales of fruit also offers the Blackburn’s honey from the orchards and it’s environs.
 
Apiary Visit - Sunday 22nd April 2012 Mike & Marion Dabb’s excellent Garden Apiary
Mike has helped several of our newer members get started last season and on occasion has been known to donate a nucleus of his vigorous Tilehurst bees.

Saturday 21st-22nd April 2012 The Berkshire College of Agriculture Open Weekend
Our beekeepers were on hand in the Berkshire Beekeeping tent together with other Berks Beekeepers to answer questions and promote beekeeping. Entrance was free with cheap car parking. A great day-out and a good way to welcome the new season.