Author Topic: Skeps ~ considering making one  (Read 1426 times)

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Offline Jen

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Skeps ~ considering making one
« on: January 23, 2018, 09:18:10 pm »
Has anyone on this forum made their own skep? Would there be a skep kit available?
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Offline tedh

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Re: Skeps ~ considering making one
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2018, 08:12:49 am »
I think it would be illegal to keep bees in a skep as there would be no way to inspect it.  Managed hives need to have removable frames.  That said, it would be neat to have one for decorative purposes.  Ted
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Offline apisbees

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Re: Skeps ~ considering making one
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2018, 12:52:07 pm »
Skep beekeeping is just a managed type of swarm beekeeping. Just like the Warre hive that has no frames. Warre hives with frames are manageable but then you basically have a longstroth hive. We need to manage our bees for mites, swarming, disease, queen health, and to do so they need to be in equipment that is manageable.
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Offline Barbarian

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Re: Skeps ~ considering making one
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2018, 04:50:52 pm »
Jen

What do want the skep for ?
Making a skep is not a straightforward job.
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Online Wandering Man

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Re: Skeps ~ considering making one
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2018, 06:58:22 pm »
I think it would be illegal to keep bees in a skep as there would be no way to inspect it.  Managed hives need to have removable frames.  That said, it would be neat to have one for decorative purposes.  Ted

They are illegal for Beekeeping in Texas. But she lives in California which may have different rules.
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Offline tedh

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Re: Skeps ~ considering making one
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2018, 08:57:01 pm »
I stand corrected, thank you!  Ted
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Offline Jen

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Re: Skeps ~ considering making one
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2018, 12:54:08 am »
Barb, well, I dunno.... seems intriguing to me. I'm just now learning about it.

I would still fog it with OA like the rest of my hives, so there won't be any varroa or treach mites.

What would be the difficulities?
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Offline apisbees

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Re: Skeps ~ considering making one
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2018, 02:50:49 pm »
Sanitation To seal them they smear them with Cow dung.
You don't need to be corrected Ted most states require bees to be kept in inspectable equipment.
Here is a link to the California bee code and I posted the 2 sections on removable frames.
So a warre hive could be used it the brood nest was set up to use removable frames. But that would defeat some of the management advantages in that it is a bottom supering system to keep the queen laying in fresh new comb with the older comb that previously had brood in it filled with honey and those supers removed the honey pressed and the wax rendered out. This manipulation would not eliminate brood disease but would help in reducing it reappearance as any infected comb would be removed yearly.
All this being said, you could put a skep over a queen excluder and let the bees fill it with comb and honey. As long as the brood was kept in a inspectable hive. But why, if you want to get all sticky and messed up with honey, find a cut out to do.

http://www.easylawlookup.com/California-Law/Food-and-Agriculture-Code/par-7552/_easylookup.blp?GO=Prepare&site=easy&print=&data=food&p_start=288&p_end=303&p_para=7552&p_epara=7949&par=7552&displayer=YES
Quote
29179. All beekeepers shall provide movable frames in the brood area of all hives which they use to contain bees, and shall make provisions so the bees in the hives shall construct combs in the frames in such a way that the combs may be removed from the hives for inspection without damaging other combs in the hives. (7702)

29180. The inspector shall order the owner or person in charge of any bees which are kept in a box or other unmovable or stationary comb hive to transfer the bees to a movable frame hive within a reasonable time, to be specified in the order. In default of transfer by the owner or person in charge of the bees, the inspector may destroy in a summary manner the hive and its contents. (7703)
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Offline tedh

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Re: Skeps ~ considering making one
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2018, 07:25:22 pm »
Thanks apis!  I thought that all hives, nationwide, needed to have removable frames.  Its interesting, the misconceptions I have gone through life with, things I've taken forgranted as true.  Thank you for posting the clarification, Jen for the topic and Wandering man for the self doubt that caused me to dig a little deeper!  Ted
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Offline neillsayers

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Re: Skeps ~ considering making one
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2018, 09:25:36 pm »
 I believe the main issue that led to moveable frame legislation is control of the foulbrood diseases. Inspecting a skep for this is near impossible without destroying the hive.
 Top bar warres can be inspected by cutting the comb loose from the sides of the box with a specially made tool. This is how I do it. That said, it is time consuming and inefficient at any kind of scale. This winter I am converting all of my warre hives to use frames.
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Offline apisbees

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Re: Skeps ~ considering making one
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2018, 11:37:52 pm »
Neil did you bottom super your warre hives and did you just use top bars? Like you said with a top bar attached they can be cut loose to be removed. but if a beekeepers is not bottom supering and harvesting the used comb as the honey filled supers are cut of the top of the stack, you are missing out on the benifits of using the warre hive. The other thing that can happen when bottom supering is the bees only fill the comb down as the brood hatches out, and the bees build out more comb in the bottom supers for the queen to lay in. This could drastically reduce the amount of honey the bees can store during the season. Warre hives are an interesting concept but by the time you have the brood in removable frames, you are basically have a Langstroth hive. Just a little smaller in area.
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Offline neillsayers

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Re: Skeps ~ considering making one
« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2018, 12:27:22 am »
Apis,

 I did use bottom supering and it worked well as long as there was a strong flow on. I did have one colony that no matter what, they could not be encouraged to draw out comb in the bottom box. I had to always super additions to get them to fill them. Told my wife i was going to photocopy Warre's book and pin it to the hive so they would wise up. :)
 Abbe Warre's idea was that foulbrood resulted from using broodcomb over and over and by rotating it out the small operator, (his target reader), would avoid the disease. He also didn't have to deal with mites.
 I'm convinced now that they work just fine for a few hives but inspections and manipulations are tedious and frames solve that issue. Without frames the boxes are roughly equivalent to 8-frame mediums in volume. To make up for the space lost to side bars and side beespace i will make my boxes 1-1/8" deeper.
 Another advantage to frames is extraction. Top bar combs can be extracted but a specially built wire cage is required to minimize comb damage.
 I do like the square shape of the hive boxes. They are more ergonomic for lifting and (I think) a better shape for wintering.
Neill Sayers
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Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: Skeps ~ considering making one
« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2018, 05:47:15 am »
How retro!  An old fashioned skep might be fun to have as a conversation piece or a teaching device.  Maybe you should try one and report to us about how it worked.  Personally, I think you would have swarming issues in no time in addition to the other maladies described by previous posters.  Prior to Langstroth, I think swarming was a matter of course for many beekeepers. 

Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: Skeps ~ considering making one
« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2018, 05:58:18 am »

Offline CBT

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Re: Skeps ~ considering making one
« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2018, 08:21:15 am »
Told my wife i was going to photocopy Warre's book and pin it to the hive so they would wise up. :)

Neil, Just wave the manual over the hive to show them you are in control.  :laugh: :laugh: ;D

Offline Some Day

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Re: Skeps ~ considering making one
« Reply #15 on: January 26, 2018, 11:07:15 am »
I thought about having a skep type hive, but I am not going to.  Mainly because I am a skeptical person and a bad speller.

Offline Jen

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Re: Skeps ~ considering making one
« Reply #16 on: January 26, 2018, 01:56:51 pm »
CBT  :D

Some Day  :D  I didn't used to be a good speller until I married a walking dictionary, or is the dictionery. I've learned my P's and Q's, or is that Q's and P's...  ;) 8)
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Offline apisbees

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Re: Skeps ~ considering making one
« Reply #17 on: January 26, 2018, 05:21:31 pm »
How retro!  An old fashioned skep might be fun to have as a conversation piece or a teaching device.  Maybe you should try one and report to us about how it worked.  Personally, I think you would have swarming issues in no time in addition to the other maladies described by previous posters.  Prior to Langstroth, I think swarming was a matter of course for many beekeepers.
You are right Swarming was how bee hive splits were made. but the beekeepers would patiently watch his hives and wait for them to swarm and catch it when it was exiting the hives. these swarms would be used to collect honey with the bees being killed so the honey and wax could be extracted.
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Offline Jen

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Re: Skeps ~ considering making one
« Reply #18 on: January 26, 2018, 06:17:42 pm »
Apis, they would catch the swarm as it was exiting the hive?? Wouldn't that make swarm catching soo much easier?.... or it could be a disaster as well...

Thinking of a large flexible tube, say 6 or more inches across opening... somehow taped to the entrance... or, just stand and hold the hose in place while swarming bees exit... and the other end of the hose would be taped to a hive box, hive box sealed off with netting...

It would be the same as a trap out, except you would have your colony, plus queen, in the hive box in about 15 minutes  C:-) C:-) C:-)
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Offline Barbarian

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Re: Skeps ~ considering making one
« Reply #19 on: January 26, 2018, 06:37:42 pm »
Keeping bees in skeps is not allowed in the UK. It has to be possible for the bees and brood to be examined.

Several years ago, I attended a local club training session about making skeps. You cannot use modern straw to make a skep. The stems are too short. Our tutor had specially grown an older strain of cereal which grew to about 5 foot or so. The plants were harvested at full height and dried. Before a work session the stems are soaked for several days. The stems need to be moist and flexible when making a skep.

I remember using two special tools. I doubt you will have access to a small length of cow horn. This is used to feed a bundle of stems together to make a tight rope. You can get the same result by using the tapering top of a plastic drinks bottle. The other thing was a large darning needle. This is used for the string/raffia to sew the coils of stems together.

I share my apiary with another keep. In 2017(?), she attended a similar training session. If needed, I can ask Nicky about any query you may have.

Neither I nor Nicky completed a skep build.
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Offline apisbees

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Re: Skeps ~ considering making one
« Reply #20 on: January 26, 2018, 08:58:38 pm »
Watch sections 3 and 4 and it explains the swarm increase process used in skep beekeeping.
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Offline Hachi

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Re: Skeps ~ considering making one
« Reply #21 on: June 27, 2018, 02:05:27 pm »
Keeping bees in skeps is not allowed in the UK. It has to be possible for the bees and brood to be examined.

Skeps are legal in the UK