October 21, 2018

Old Man-made Hive Designs

What good is keeping bees without a place to do so, right? There are many types of hives beekeepers used to store their colonies in. I will list some basic info on some hives beekeepers used in the past that I found in “The Beekeeper’s Bible”.

In the Middle Ages, some beekeepers kept hives by finding a bee colony that has already settled in, cutting a flight entrance into the tree that they’re inhabiting in for bees to build honeycomb structures in, and adding a door to it to protect the hive from predators and the weather. They also put straw around the tree trunk using rope to protect the hive from the cold during the winter. If a hive’s high up, beekeepers would either cut footholds inside the tree or use ladders to reach the hive.

In England, some beekeepers made hives from willow or hazel wood. They would wove them around a stake circle with the top together they were covered with both wet cow or ox poo (yeck) and ash or dirt in gaps within the willow or hazel wand to make the hive waterproof.

In Germany, had hives called skeps, which were basket-like. Sometimes, sticks were at the top of the inside of the skep to help the bees build honeycomb. The skep also had a lid to protect the hive from the weather.

This isn’t all of the info I found in “The Beekeeper’s Bible”, but I’m sure that this will give you an idea of hive designs from many years ago. I hope that you find some interest in how different modern hive designs are from designs from a long time ago.