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Thread: Medieval Bees

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Lemont, IL USA
    Posts
    17

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    I notices that a couple members of this forum have medieval beekeeping as their interests. How does modern-medieval beekeeping differ from 'Bees for Dummies' and other modern-by-the-book methods? Are you going 'natural' and letting the bees build whatever comb they want? Are you using skeps, are they living in your walls (house and garden walls, either/or)?

    Enquiring minds want to know!

    Nancy

  2. #2

    Smile

    Hi Nancy,
    You might want to read a book called, "Archeology of Beekeeping" by Eva Crane - it covers the medieval period very well. Since the invention of moveable frames (cc. 1850's), it has become increasing "illegal" in the United States to keep managed honeybee colonies in skeps or other 'non-moveable frame' equipment (to the point, where I'd dare say, it's virtually 100% against all state apiary regulations). Some states (like my home state, Texas) may have a provision for annual "licensing" to keep a colony in non-moveable frame equipment for very special events or circumstances. The concern in all this, is of course, the inability to readily inspect for disease. Naturally, these laws only apply to "managed colonies" - the honeybees living down the road in an old oak tree haven't read the laws!
    So the general answer to your question is, that it's probably not very common practice to literally keep bees the way they did in 12th century Europe. Additionally, the common practice back then was to sulfur smoke kill the skep (so you could collect the honeycomb) and today, we beekeepers strive to NOT kill the hive when collecting the honey (however, I've seen some bee stewards put way too much Be-go on their fume boards!). <g>

  3. #3
    Probably should have mentioned, the use of a "top bar-style" hive may be a fairly good compromise between 'bee gums' of the medieval world and the modern "requirement" of movable frames for inspection. And while we tend to trace (and give credit) to TBH styles being "invented" in Africa (from the African log hives), there is some evidence in the Archeological record that crude versions of that concept, existed as far back as ancient Greek pottery hives. So while the idea of removable top bars may not have been very common in western Europe in medieval times, the idea apparently did exist in the world. (And I bet, with a little imagination, one could create your own TBH that would look very "medieval"!).
    [TBHs are discussed in detail in a separate forum, here at BeeSource].

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Somerset UK
    Posts
    13

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    There is some information from a medievalist here:
    http://www.comp.glam.ac.uk/pages/staff/mreddy/skepFAQ/

    I was particularly interested to read that wax was as or more important a crop as honey, so no point having a moveable frame really.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,827

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    > notices that a couple members of this forum have medieval beekeeping as their interests.

    How do you see the profiles of the members? I don't have any idea how to do that.

    I have kept bees in gums and boxes to see what they do, but it is a lot of mess and work. Not as bad as you might think, but not nearly as nice as a movable comb hive.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Cardington, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    65

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    MB click on the little guy with the question mark next to the post date and time.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,827

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    Do you know a way to get a list?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
    Posts
    5,159

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    >How do you see the profiles of the members? I don't have any idea how to do that.

    I find that incredible! You are not joking, are you?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Mineral, Virginia
    Posts
    188

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    As a moderator Mike I would think you could get it from whomever is maintaining the database for the board.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,827

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    Every once in a while someone makes a comment about how many people meet some criteria, (like medival beekeeping)it seems like. I don't know how to get that. I do know how to see one person's profile, but usually the important info is where they live, so I don't bother. Although it might be nice to have how many years they've been keeping bees.

    Mostly I just read posts and make posts.

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