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Skep making - traditional bee hives


Anyone here ever use Skeps?

I’m going on a Skep making course this month.

Anyone in the UK wants to go to Stoneleigh on 24th October I can send you details £22 for Straw, binder and a tool to make the skep .

Here is a web site showing how but I will try to do piccies on the day


Are you going to make the kind with an eke and use the Flow frames for the eke? :smile:


@Michael_Bush I get strange looks because I have Flow Hives Perhaps I should take the Full Flow Hive and Fames with me and weave the Flow into the skep structure and see what they think - Novel :wink: :bee: :bee: :bee: :bee: :bee: :bee: :bee:


I use one on my farmers’ market stall and it provokes much discussion. Wouldn’t ever keep bees in it.
Valli, take a look at this, there is a series…fascinating stuff


@dangerous I was only joking. I would not Buy one for the sake of it only as you say to promote sales - but I’m all for learning traditional crafts and you never know you may come across a usable idea.

Some Beeks in our region use Skeps to create interest at Market and Fair stalls but one or 2 use them to collect Swarms in - I think that would be unwieldy.

It would catch the interest of kids and crafty people and the fact bee keeping is a craft the two go hand in glove


I made mine :smile:
Apart from keeping bees in I tell people it’s an old fashioned way of collecting swarms. Unhygienic though and I would recommend using a new cardboard box every time, transfer to a new hive then quarantine away from your apiary till you can ascertain its disease status. Last year there was an outbreak of EFB within the range of getting an SBI visit, I dread to think what might have happened had a swarm come from that area and got hived straight into my own apiary. I have access to an out apiary for that very reason.


Fun to try making them, but they sorta suck for the bees.

Trying to think of some clever repurposing of a skep to make learning how to make one be worth it ; -)

I bet you come up with something creative, Val!


@sara TBH I could probably make one anyway’s - I have done a lot of sewing, knitting designing etc but being given the tools equipment and time to sit and get to know some fellow beeks is a fun day out - we are all bringing a plate tea, coffee and squash laid on.

Sounds like a nice day out - OK I’m strange :wink:


TBH I kinda figured that!

Not that you are strange, but that you coulda figured it out!


That’s a fascinating video. What was the beekeeper doing at the 11.30 mark? & what was the tool he was using?


@JeffH - he called it a drone knife - they must cut out drone comb predominantly with it


Thanks @Valli, I thought that’s what he said.


Actually one of the most interesting things in this video is the non-varietal specific orchards. That is something that is just not being done anymore…


We have Apple orchards here - one I can think of - belongs to a cider firm - even thought there is a mix of trees they do know the varieties mainly because certain trees - Kingston Black - only flower every 2 years and some of the pears. the orchard is mixed planting though


Skep Making tomorrow!!


Had Great fun today making Skep’s .Mine is 1/3 finished and have straw, Binding and tool to complete


How cool Valli.

I am surprised that they have solid bottoms. The (few) skeps I have see had open bottoms, so you could access thhe comb.

Any conversation about why a bottom?


Think of it as an Up-side-down Bowl. You can do and opening in the middle or top if you want


The one I made has no bottom and a small entrance hole about three inches from the base


I’ll try to finish it tomorrow