I would greatly appreciate anyone who has a whole sale source for buying bee skeps. I've attached a photo below of the bee skep style I am looking to purchase. In the photo, I prefer the skep on the right but may also be interested in the small skep as well??? The dimensions of the skep on the right are approximately 14 - 16" high X 14" wide at the bottom. I live in Atlanta and have found one source, but don't like the look of the skep. The style that I have found is more dome shaped at the top with a large sea grass loop at the top. To me it looks like a decorative skep and the photo I attached is more authentic of those used by bee keepers. I am looking for quantities of 100+ but will consider smaller quantities if available. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org if you care to contact me direct.
ByndweedBeth; would / could you expound on your declaration that 'they are now illegal'? What 'authority' has declared their illegality, and what geographical area(s) does this illegality cover? I don't wish to sound confrontational, I'm just curious... Sam
Skeps are illegal because all beekeepers in the U.S. are require to keep bees in a hive with frames that can be removed for inspection. This is a law set up by The USDA in order to control the mite infestation. For more info check with you state's Department of Aquaculture about your state's integrated pest management laws.
Skeps themselves aren't illegal. It isn't legal, however to keep bees in any equipment that does not have movable frames, to allow for inspection. Movable frames don't fit in skeps, so you can't use them for bees.
Have you thought about top bar hives? They are especially useful for gardeners and small farmers who want to ensure thorough pollination of fruits and vegetables with the added bonus of absolutely pure honey from your plants. There are many other advantages over the standard hive as well. There are several top bar hives (also known as garden hives) for sale on the internet.
In England a few colonies are still kept in skeps but the main use of skeps is for catching swarms. Most beekeepers haveone. A skep is light and can be used like an upturned bucket to get the swarm to drop into. A large cloth is placed on the ground and the skep Is then put on the cloth with one edged slightly propped up to allow the rest of the swarm to find the colony. The skep is visited later in the day and the cloth wrapped up over the skep and the whole colony taken to an apiary.
Bee skeps may seem to be romantic but they are not acceptable because of the risk of disease. All hives have to have removable frames to insure that the bee inspector as well as the bee keeper can get into the hive and freely inspect what is happening and the health of the bees. Too, frame hives makes it easier to get the honey out without the destruction of bees or the comb.
These new top bar hives are not up my alley. We owe a great debt to Pastor Langstroth for the development of the hive we use. I for one will continue to use it so I can extract liquid honey without destroying the comb.
As for the use of skeps, yes, you destroyed the bees by taking their foodstores away from them. However, in taking away the combs from the skep or a hollow log bee gum, you didn't necessarily destroy the bees. If these bees are not killed, they then escape and can start a colony elsewhere's and spread their disease, that's why the Dept. of Agriculture does not allow for the maintenance of colonies that are not in a hive with removable frames. It is also why we have state bee inspectors who come around and inspect hive health.
I just watched a 7 video program on you tube - a skep apiary in northern Germany in the 1980s.
I keep reading that the hive is destroyed. Watching this videos it is clear the skep hives are over 100 years old.
They do not kill the hive but capture the swarms, plural, an then take the honey and move the bees to other prepared skeps.