Looking to build a skep and hopefully move a hive into it in the spring. Hubby and I do Living History here in Ohio and Im looking forward to using my experience with a skep as part of the time period we portray at some of our events. I also think it would be great for children to see and learn how bee keeping was done. Any info is alwats appreciated. Thanks
I am afraid that is illegal in most of the US, including Ohio. Section 909.12, sorry to quote the regulations :
The bees must be kept on frames which can be removed. Nothing to keep you from maintaining an empty skep, but if you are deliberately keeping bees in it, that may be considered a misdemeanor…
If you want to demonstrate bees to children, an observation hive with perspex sides is an option. You could have an empty skep by it as a demonstration of how things have changed.
By the way, I posted a link recently to pre-orders from Mann Lake for package bees if you are interested for next season. Their packages are superbly gentle and healthy bees.
Thanks for the info. Wasnt sure if that law was just for commercial apiaries? Yes was also thinking about an observatory for the children. Saw your post about the pre orders. Hopefully will be able to do a split of my own in the spring. But will keep that in mind. Thanks
No, it is for any apiary or hive.
I think it stems from an FDA requirement to be able to inspect for (and control) disease in any hive, commercial or hobby, it doesn’t matter. You can’t have one rule for hobbyists and a different one for commercial, as diseases readily cross from one to the other in both directions. In a skep, you can’t inspect properly without destroying the hive.
Oh dang, I got excited about your idea for a sec Beth - forgot skeps aren’t legal. Guessing you reenact pioneer times?
Yes 1770s is our time period absolutely love teaching the children what life was like back then. We do about 5 events a year and volunteer wherever we re needed. Thanks Dawn for all your knowledge. Im loving that I can just ask on here and get an answer. Google doesnt know everything! I am still going to do maybe an observatory hive. Just gatta figure out how to transport the bees without alot of stress on them and hubby! Hahaha
That’s very cool Beth, I love it too! My cousin and her husband are living history volunteers at Washington’s Crossing here in PA - he’s a blacksmith & she demonstrates weaving and clothing.
Yes this forum blows google away
I’ve only ever transported nucs and then I just closed the entrance and put a large towel over them, worked fine. A few escaped but stayed on the windows for the most part.
They would also be very hard to fit flow frames in.
Yes my husband is a leather worker and I demonstrate weaving baskets, porcupine quill embroidery, and whatever else I find interesting lol. Next years events will be even better as we incorporate our bees into it. I have looked up plans for the observatory hive it doesnt seam too complicated…so we will see!
I discovered this bloke’s youtube channel a few years ago. I’m pretty sure from memory he lives in California. He keeps bees in all sorts of hives that would probably be illegal. This is one example & you can check out his channel to see other videos of different hives he keeps bees in.
Thanks for that video Jeff, it brought back memories of the woven bee hive in Papua New Guinea that are common up there. It is very basic bee keeping that they practice, well, not really what we call “bee keeping” but one step short of raiding wild colonies.
Thanks Pete, I just watched another one of his videos. It must be good because the 10 minutes was over in no time. Everyone take note of the wall thickness, the bottom entrance & you see how the bees have propolized to reduce the entrance in preparation for winter.
PS in this video it becomes apparent that he likes 40 litres of volume for the bees. At the end the video I wondered how he got the lid back on without killing bees.
Slow & steady, I guess.
Beth, check out this great thread - maybe you’d want to post some pics on it of the work you and your husband do!
Whats does the law say about feral bees, swarms in roofs etc?
Let me start by saying I am not an attorney/solicitor/legal eagle etc. However, all of the regulations I have read (I have read quite a few, as we have nervous neighbors) only refer directly to “managed” colonies, i.e. bees which are deliberately kept by a beekeeper. It is interesting how similar regulations are in different cities and states in the US. I suppose it is because it is easier to save time by copying existing regulations from elsewhere.
In the US, most cities reserve the right to destroy (without permission) feral colonies which are proving to be a nuisance to the general human population.
For the answer to that, you’d have to consult with a legal Bee-gal as bees have their own laws
There is no federal law concerning inspectablilty. At one time every state had a law, but some have repealed their Apiary laws completely (Arizona comes to mind) or they have limited things a lot in order to save money by not having a full time inspector (Nebraska comes to mind). Some states do require inspectablilty though. Basically, though, most only look at inspectability and not the general form of the hive. if you hollow a tree with a slightly larger diameter at the top than the bottom (just a little taper) so you can get the combs out you can make top bars out of 1 1/4" wide 3/8" deep strips (lath works well ripped to 1 1/4) and put a triangular piece of wood that will fit inside the opening for a comb guide and you could have the equivalent of a Greek basket hive. Beekeepers in the colonies often used hollow trees (usually gum trees) for hives with boards on the top for a roof and boards on the bottom. This would be almost identical to what they would have done except it would be inspectable. "Bee gums " were much more common than skeps in the colonies though both existed. We had a lot more hollow trees than they had in Europe and they made good bee hives with minimal work.
OK, I accept that - I was relying on something I was told in my local bee club. Now I have spent some extra time researching it, I see that the federal regulations mainly cover importing bees or bee semen. In fact some of the text implies that bee diseases within the US are to be managed paying attention to State rules (page 119 of http://scientificbeekeeping.com/scibeeimages/USDA-1967-Beekeeping-in-the-United-States.pdf)
However, Ohio specifically is very clear that any managed hive must have removable frames and comb (emphasis is mine, but the details are in Section 909.12). Violation of this code is considered a misdemeanor of the fourth degree on the first occasion (Section 909.99) and of the third degree on subsequent violations. You might not get caught, but I wouldn’t risk it myself.
Although not skep related I saw @JeffH‘s link above regarding log hives and @Dawn_SD‘s comments on removable frames and it reminded me of something I saw on another forum I frequent.
Combining art and bees check this out, pretty cool.
And if you go through some of his other stuff you’ll find things like this.
Yeah I know not pretty cool, Very cool.