In light of the current Covid-19 crisis, and in expectation of further government rules, all advertised meetings of RBKA are cancelled or postponed until further notice.

(unless marked as "online")

The following is calendar of events planned for the coming year. It is made up of :

  • Reading & District Beekeeping Association events

  • Summer Apiary visits

  • Winter Meetings


Our Apiary visits (once a month from April through to September) entail going to a member's apiary and one of our mentor beekeepers opening up numerous hives and explaining 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

A beekeeping suit will be provided for beginners.

These visits are for members only.


  1. TBA

2020-2021 WINTER MEETINGS (online only)

Wednesday 6 January: Plants, Bees and Honey, by Celia Davis Bsc NDB

Friday 4 December: Recycling old frames and wax, by Wally and Jenny Shaw

Thursday 19 November: Comb management, by Lynfa Davies

Thursday 8 October: Bee Genetics Explained, by Margaret Murdin

Genetics is a fascinating study whether of humans or insects but, of the two, the insects are far more interesting. Like us, female bees have two sets of chromosomes… set from the mother and one from the father. But male bees, the drones, are different…they have a single set. This is why we say that drones have no father! How does that work?

Because drones have only this one set we say they are haploid…well usually ……but not always. It’s for this reason that mutations (like white eyes) always show in drones but not in the female castes.

The genetics of bees can seem complicated, mainly because the words used are long, complicated and difficult to remember (and not really necessary). The concepts themselves are not that difficult and an understanding of them helps us to understand our bees and their behaviour.

This talk will seek to explain the genetics of honey bees in a straightforward way …in a way that is easily understood and useful to beekeepers.

Margaret has been keeping bees for about 12 years and is a practical beekeeper who learnt her skills as a member of the Ormskirk and Croston Branch of the Lancashire Association. She is a member of BIBBA and keeps bees that are well adapted to the local area. She currently has 20 colonies across 3 apiaries and is interested in the bees themselves rather than the production of honey. She is a Master Beekeeper and holds the National Diploma in Beekeeping. She enjoys teaching all levels of beekeeping and gives talks and workshops all over the UK. She holds a degree in biological sciences and was principal of a Further and Higher Education College before retirement.



Monthly meetings will be held from October to March on the Thursday evenings listed below, from 7:15 to 9:15pm. As in previous years, the venue is Caversham Heights Church, 74 Highmoor Road, Caversham Heights, Reading, RG4 7BG (click here for map). These generally have

a guest speaker talking on a variety of subjects aimed at both beginners and experts.

More details will follow.

  • 12th December: Sean Stephenson (details here)

  • 14th November: AGM and beginners honey show

  • 12th December: Sean Stephenson: Drones: Life and Behaviour

  • 9th January: Beate and John McKenzie: Beehive air therapy. (Beecura System)

  • 13th February: Dean Madden's Memorial Lecture: Hauke Koch on Sex, Drugs and Ecosystem Services (details here) (was to have been Professor Phil Stevenson)

2018-19 Winter Meetings: Download

2017-18 and Earlier Events: Download