December 2023 Newsletter

Committee Meetings (Zoom)

The committee met on Wednesday 06 December. The next meeting will be on Wednesday 03 January 2024. Note: Tony has updated the register of trustees on the Charity Commission website so it reflects the changes resulting from the member voting at the AGM.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you want to join one of our Zoom committee meetings, either as a one off to see what we do OR to get involved.

Our Recent Christmas Social, 13 December 2023

Forty plus members turned up for this annual social event, bringing not Frankincense and Myrrh but finger food, raffle prizes and mirth! Thanks to all the members that made contributions.

Gill started the evening’s entertainment with a skep talk on beeswax processing, which Mary concluded by explaining how easy it was to make wax wraps. There followed a break in the entertainment whilst members loaded plates from the buffet and refreshed glasses. While some members stayed chatting and catching up around the buffet, others split into groups and took part in the quiz. The winning team scored a brilliant 32 points out of a possible 36. CONGRATULATIONS!

The festive mirth continued during the raffle draw, which wound up the evening.

BBKA Public & Product Liability Insurance: FAQs

As a member of the BBKA you have extensive Public & Product Liability Insurance which covers a whole range of things, including: sales of honey and wax products, collecting swarms, public taster days and claims from members of the public. To see an extensive range of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the extent of your cover, go to the BBKA News website: – you will need your membership number and postcode to login and register. 

Here you can find the insurance documents (including the FAQs) in the BBKA Documents section (open the tab on left, headed Select Publications). You can also access electronic versions of your BBKA News magazine from this site.

Wokingham Winter Carnival (26 November 2023)

Although the carnival didn’t officially start till 10am, our Association volunteers dropped things off at 8am in order to erect the gazebo, place tables, make the mulled wine and set out the honey, mince pies and other produce. We also had a National hive on site, which was used to explain life in the hive and the beekeeper’s role.

The Association’s thanks go to the following members that fulfilled the role of shop assistants on the day: John & Felicity, Gill, Kevin, Peter B., Mary, Lori & Peter M. and Ethan & Laura.  The main ‘life in the hive’ demonstrators were Laura and Ethan. Everything was finished and packed up by 5.30pm: a good day was had by all, despite the cold and rain. The Carnival raised around £900, after expenses.

Winter Bowls Club Events and Other Dates for Your Diary

Three more monthly Wokingham Bowls Club meetings for your diary. 7pm doors open, skep talks at 7.30pm, main speakers start at 8pm and the raffles wind up the evening. Please donate a raffle prize if you can: proceeds go towards fees for the hall and guest speakers. Tony has organised the following:

  • 10 January. Skep Talk: Basics of mead making (Evan), Guest speaker: John White, subject: small cell beekeeping & checkerboarding.
  • 14 February. Skep Talk: subject to be confirmed, Guest speaker: Peter Higgs from BeeGone, subject: the ins and outs of removing live bees from buildings.
  • 13th March Skep: Into the Spring (Kevin), Guest speaker: Peter Dalby, subject: Queen rearing.

Other dates for your diary:

  • 06 January (Saturday 10am). Annual Apiary Equipment Clean-up. Apiary Manager, Mark will circulate details nearer the time. Please help.
  • 11 January (Thursday). Kevin’s online beginner’s Zoom course for members starts. There is still time to register interest in joining the course by using our website’s contact form.

Asian Hornet App and Training

With the Asian Hornet threat to our bees (and the rest of the UK’s insects) getting closer, please don’t ignore the Association’s reminders to download the Asian Hornet Watch app to your smartphone.   Also log on to the BBKA member’s webpages and take the Asian Hornet training so you know what your are looking out for. European Hornets, although bigger, are no real threat to our bees and other insects so we don’t want them to innocently suffer! So no indiscriminate trapping!

Who Was ‘Bert’ Spragg?

In the last newsletter reference was made to Albert Spragg who, as President, in 1993 produced a history of the Association: To Bee or Not To Be. Commonly known as ‘Bert’, Mr Spragg died in January 2010 at the ripe old age of 101. Association members planted a Caucasian Lime tree in his memory in the February of that year. Look out for it if you are ever near the play area in Langborough Recreation Ground in Wokingham.

Already a beekeeper, Bert moved to Wokingham in 1962, where not long after he took over as the Association’s Apiarist from 80yr old Tom Carpenter and thus started his long and loyal service to the Beekeepers of Wokingham. He held many positions in the Association’s committee and was made Honorary President in 1986: a position he held for the rest of his life: 24 years!

Bert was known for going everywhere on his pushbike. A former member (now in her late 90s) remembers getting swarm notification phone calls from ‘Spraggy, as she calls him. If she was available he would cycle, from Bracknell, to her house in Wokingham, hop into her car and together they would go and collect the swarm. He only stopped cycling everywhere after suffering a stroke in his 95th year

…And Finally…