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iombeeman 

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i want to try keeping bees in a skep,just to see how they used to do it
years ago.has anyone tried it and any recommdations.
i`m not intrested in producing honey from that colony just trying it out.
 

Bcrazy 

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Hi its me again,

I wanted to see if the cold killed bees as a lot of association members were complaining the 'It's too cold for the bees its killing them off'.

I collected a swarm and placed then in a large skep. I fed them to help them build the comb.
During the summer they built beautiful comb about eight in all.
Come winter all I did was made sure they were protected from rain and wind and left alone.
Come early March the bees were flying well before other hives had woken up.
This proved my point that the cold does not kill the bees.

The photo was taken on December 8th 2005.

Regards;
 

iombeeman 

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hi bcrazy,so the skep you used was not coated in anything(ie cow dung) or protected
in any way?i seen photos of a skep in winter sort of inside a wbc.
how did you feed, upturn skep and pour in feed?
more details,if you don`t mind.
i think i going to give this a go.
change of subject. when you did your module exams,did you do 1 a year or
more.1 a year is going take me ages!.....
 

Bcrazy 

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I'll try to answer your questions in order.

so the skep you used was not coated in anything
I sprayed water over the outside during the summer so the straw did not dry out.

how did you feed, upturn skep and pour in feed?
Used a "rabbit feeder" of syrup which was held on the skep by a bungie strap.

when you did your module exams,did you do 1 a year or
more.1 a year is going take me ages!.....
I have done 2 per year as I found one was not enough to keep my mind occupied.

I think there is a time (years) limit on when all modules have to be completed.
 

Finman 

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There is nothing special in skeps. Bees just make combs there, colony grows and swarms. It is totally outside of control: diseases, genepool of apiary

It is just too small hive where bees cannot live very long.

When I started nearly 50 years ago, skeps were practice in Finland. People were poor and they tried what ever systems.
I bought one skep with bees and I destoyed it soon an I took bees away.

Idea was that skep is brood store and in summer you put honey box with frames over the skep + excluder.
The key point is that in those days bee stock was the one that it did not growed bigger than skep + one frame box.
Queen will lay it quickly full and then it swarms. Nothing special in that.

Some here keep colony in tree trunk hives. They are so happy about them.

I like to play with small mating hives.

 
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SteveH 

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I sprayed water over the outside during the summer so the straw did not dry out.

Hi Bcrazy,

Why did you not want it to dry out? Is that to stop it losing its structure? Wouldn't the damp cause the straw to eventually rot?

I acquired an old (but in decent condition) large skep this summer and have so far kept it dry in my garage. However, I intend to use to for swarm collection (to see if it is any better than using cardboard boxes).

Steve
 

mikeyspikey 

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We also hived a swarm in a skep this year and they did very well for about five months and built comb lengthways and a couple at right angles to that!! In the end we said what do we do now? because to get any honey out means removing the bees so we transferred them to a brood box by building chicken wire frames and they are now doing well in a National. It is a great thing to do but I have that out of my system now, so will not be trying it again. There is also the problem of disease control, I heard a rumpour that it was actually illegal in UK, but I stress it as a rumour. Skeps are good pieces of kit for hiving swarms though better than a box, does not go soggy inthe wet and looks better!!
 

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