The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Historical beekeeping hardware

Making skepsWhen honeybees came to America, they were brought across the ocean in straw skeps.  In Bees in America, Horn explains that these skeps were originally considered an innovation in Europe since they replaced heavier logs and clay plots that were difficult to move.  Horn's book includes some interesting illustrations of how skeps were constructed, and I was especially intrigued to learn that ekes were often placed underneath skeps when the bees needed more room, a bit like nadiring a Warre hive.

In addition to skeps, early American beekeepers were fond of bee gums --- hollow logs used as hives.  Even though the inventor of the Langstroth hive (the primary beekeeping box today) was an American, Horn reports that colonists continued using bee gums and skeps long after the Langstroth hive took over in Europe.  Since skeps and bee gums don't allow for much inspection and manipulation, their use may be one reason the U.S. saw such a rash of pest and disease problems (which I'll cover in a later post).

Bee smokerSpeaking of the Langstroth hive, it was one of four inventions that changed the face of beekeeping in America between 1851 and 1873.  During that period, the bellows smoker, the movable frame hive, wax foundation, and the centrifugal extractor (along with advances in queen rearing) changed beekeeping from a hobby into an industry.  More on the changing face of beekeeping in America is to come in tomorrow's post.

This post is part of our Bees in America lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:

Anna Hess's books
Want more in-depth information? Browse through our books.

Or explore more posts by date or by subject.

About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

Want to be notified when new comments are posted on this page? Click on the RSS button after you add a comment to subscribe to the comment feed, or simply check the box beside "email replies to me" while writing your comment.

Eke is also a noun.
Comment by Michael Wed Mar 12 07:15:11 2014

profile counter myspace

Powered by Branchable Wiki Hosting.

Required disclosures:

As an Amazon Associate, I earn a few pennies every time you buy something using one of my affiliate links. Don't worry, though --- I only recommend products I thoroughly stand behind!

Also, this site has Google ads on it. Third party vendors, including Google, use cookies to serve ads based on a user's prior visits to a website. Google's use of advertising cookies enables it and its partners to serve ads to users based on their visit to various sites. You can opt out of personalized advertising by visiting this site.