Friday, February 14, 2014

Skep Beehives (Part 5 of 8): Hive Maintenance

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

Hives with Hackles

It was necessary to regulate the temperature and moisture in a hive. It is essential to keep the hive dry. Skeps were placed on wooden platforms to keep out pests and moisture (Butler, Ch. 2).

The hackle or coppet provided more shelter for the skep hive. (Butler, Ch. 3) The hackle is made from rushes, reeds, or long straw that was tied together to form a tent like hat for the skep (Alston, 30). To make a hackle, tie straw together at the neck and place it over the skep. A gart was then placed around the hackle over the skep to keep it in place. A gart is a hoop of metal (Alston, 30).

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