The Pros and Cons of Using Skeps for Keeping Bees

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Please look away if this is something you hate to see done.

I had no interest, nor even any awareness that anyone in our modern world still kept bees in this way until the recent thread where it cropped up as a discussion point. So, full marks to Beekeeping Forum contributors for widening my knowledge and understanding of beekeeping matters. However, it became obvious that using skeps has nothing but negative connotations for many regular beekeepers. I wanted to find out what, if any, are the positives. Where else do you find most of that information, but from Chris Park. He appears to have been experimenting with keeping bees in skeps for at least a decade, and has an involvement in all sorts of "alternative" crafts and lifestyles. From my brief view of his passions gained through internet websites, he seems to be what some people might call, " a bit new-age", and I know that in itself, isn't to everyones' taste. The most comprehensive, free source of Chris Park's writings online is on the Dave Cushman website. Roger Patterson (more Marmite?) has written the appropriate page in a non-judgemental way. There is a link to three PDF articles written by Chris: Skep Beekeeping

If you're interested, then it's easy to download the pages and read for youself. Any attempt at a summary by me would not do justice to the detail with which Chris has tackled the (im)practicalities of skep beekeeping. But he accepts that there are negatives and has some suggestions for mitigating the effects of the worst of these. Most of the advantages of skep beekeeping amount to positive factors which thoughtful beekeepers might achieve with regular beekeeping. Chris recommends that skep beekeepers should first acquaint themselves using conventional beehives and that keeping a couple of hives alongside your skeps gives a certain level of confidence that your bees are generally healthy.

Some people will wonder why anyone wants to make beekeeping more challenging than necessary, but some people may also wonder why anyone would choose to walk up Yr Wyddfa on foot when they could take a train.
 
For the pros, not as expensive, you don't need frames nor foundation and you don't need any honey extractors.
1….I can buy some seconds boxes cheaper than a skep, plus they’ll far outlast any skep!
2…ok frames I’ll give you but they benefit bees as much as us in regard to skep use, I’ve also seen people make their own.
3…You don’t need foundation in any hive!
4…You certainly don’t need an extractor with a conventional hive or frames!
 

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1….I can buy some seconds boxes cheaper than a skep, plus they’ll far outlast any skep!
2…ok frames I’ll give you but they benefit bees as much as us in regard to skep use, I’ve also seen people make their own.
3…You don’t need foundation in any hive!
4…You certainly don’t need an extractor with a conventional hive or frames!

You are missing the point, they are still pros, the idea of a hive with frames, is to utilise the valuable comb for honey, year after year. An extractor makes life easier than using a spoon and scraping back to the midrib. Otherwise I'd agree with you if this was about comparisons and not pros and cons.
 
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