Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Period Hives: Wood Hives, Part 1

There is very little written about the medieval and Renaissance Italian box hives. We can tell from this picture that vertical and horizontal hives were used. It is my belief, based on the picture and beekeeping experience, the lids were removed and comb was retrieved as needed. I do not believe these were harvested in the manner of skeps. Skep harvesting involves killing the bees at the end of the season by means of drowning or sulfur smoke. I think that combs were cut out one piece at a time as needed.

Italy’s growing and beekeeping season is longer than that of Northern and Eastern Europe. Not unlike Florida, the bees would have a longer season of activity. The increased activity time would allow the bees to easily maintain their hives. This would also allow more time for the bees to recover from a harvest. There was no need to destroy the whole colony.

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