Thursday, August 21, 2014

August Quote - Driving of the Bees: Charles Butler, 1609

Driving the bees is part of the medieval process of harvesting honey. Skeps do not have frames that allow for easy inspection of the hive and harvesting the honey. Charles Butler recommends driving the bees rather than smoking them out with a sulfur fire.The smoke from the sulfur fire killed the bees and left a residue on the wax and in the honey.

Below is a quote from Charles Butler's "The Feminine Monarchie: Or a Treatis Concerning Bees and the Due Ordering of Them" published in 1609. He discusses how to drive the bees in order to harvest the honey.

“Around midsummer, early in the morning, invert the skep to be driven. Cover the mouth of the full skep with an empty one. Wrap the join with a cloth to seal the opening. Clap rhythmically on the sides of the full hive. The bees will walk to the other hive. After most of the bees have walked to the empty hive, place it where the first hive was. Bees that are coming back from flight will go in there.”  - Charles Butler

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