Skeps are the beehives most commonly associated with medieval and Renaissance beekeeping. A skep is an inverted basket made of woven wicker or coiled straw used in beekeeping for housing bees. The skep is over two thousand years old and is still used today in parts of
Coiled straw skeps were made only where suitable materials were grown. These materials were reeds, grasses, or long-stemmed cereals. Tools used to make a coiled-straw skep are a girth and an awl. A girth, made of leather or cow horn, kept the coils a consistent thickness. A bone or metal awl was used to make holes in the straw to insert the binding cane. Long stems, such as blackberry, were split and used to join the coils.
Long, thin sticks were often placed across the interior to help prevent comb breakage and anchor combs to the hive. Coiled straw skeps can have flat or domed tops and can vary greatly in size and shape. The flight hole could be placed anywhere on the coiled skep. The flight hole is the hole or holes from which the bees come and go from the hive.