Saturday, January 18, 2014

Skep Beehives (Part 1 of 8): Introduction

This is the first part in a series of short articles on skeps in the Medieval through Renaissance periods.

A miniature recreation I did

The skep is the universal symbol of bees, beekeeping, and honey. A skep is an inverted basket made of wicker or coiled straw used in period beekeeping for housing bees. The skep is over two thousand years old and is still used today in parts of Europe. There are many examples of skeps in period illustrations.

This is a miniature example of a straw skep I made. It is roughly 8" tall and 10" wide. Full-sized skeps would be approximately 18" tall and 24" wide. The model is too small to add the entrance or flight hole, though not all straw beehives had an entrance door. The beehive could be place on a wooden stand with a carved channel on it to allow bees to get in an out. The channel would be carved the length of the board to allow for better air circulation and to serve as a gutter so rain would not build up in the hive.

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