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  1. #21

    Default Re: Skep beekeeping in Germany

    Mites kill bees in skeps like in any other hive. But as sugar got cheap and highly available, skeppists used sugar for feeding the bees.

    In the old times, honey comb and bee bread were stomped and pounded into huge drums. The stuff fermented, I reckon it was a lactic acid fermentation. This was the stuff the beekeepers fed their bees in Spring for the buildup.

    Nowadays the wheel is re-invented: see SymBeeotic.

    http://www.lunduniversity.lu.se/o.o....=6093&id=24890



    I think a good portion of the bees' health stems from that food, the continious renewal of the comb (lots of building) and swarming. One has to know, that the microbiom of the Bien consolidates each time the bees form a cluster. As in a winter cluster or swarm cluster. After clustering there are less microbe species within the Bien, but those that come through are beneficial to the bees and stabilized.

    There is no silver bullet to the mite problem, but I think, there is a lot we can learn from the old days.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Crystal Water, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    900

    Default Re: Skep beekeeping in Germany

    Quote Originally Posted by BernhardHeuvel View Post
    Actually that family kept 3,000 skeps during summer.

    Right where Georg Klindworth has had his skep apiary with up to 3,000 skep hives in summer (nowadays the young Klindworth doesn't run any hives anymore), I visited a friend in the Luneburg heathland who runs skeps in the heath.

    I took some pictures of him demonstrating skep beekeeping.

    First row of pictures: the applying of cow dung to create a nice and snug cover for the skep.


    Provide a convenient height of the work bench.


    Thinned or worn out patches get refilled with straw, chapped seams get re-sewn or stapled with a wooden staple (sort of).


    The most important ingredient is cow dung. Cow dung. It should be

    absolutely fresh - because if there a small dandruffs of dried patches it'll disturb the applying of the dung onto the skep.
    Best is fresh cow dung in Spring, because no hard fibres means a smooth skep cover that doesn't come off (cracking) when dried.
    Only dung from cows off the yard, no shed. Needs to be grass fed, no soy, no silage.

    The cow dung preserves the skep from moisture and keeps it nice and warm. Also there might be some lactic acid bacteria in the

    dung being beneficial to the bees' health?! Maybe.


    First skep is turned upside down and the bottom ring gets covered. With long strokes.


    The inside of the skep gets a cow dung cover up to the height of one or two rings.


    Work thoroughly, dear "heatherman"!


    The skep is turned back into original position and first the "eye" of the skep, the flight entrace, gets closed with dung.


    Apply the dung onto the cap next.


    It has to be nice and smooth.
    You have to wash your hands a few times after....been there!

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Crystal Water, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    900

    Default Re: Skep beekeeping in Germany

    Quote Originally Posted by TooFarGone View Post
    Bernhard, what excellent pictures you have made! They really complement the 8 part Youtube videos on skep beekeeping. I really like the detail on the queen cages as this was not clear to me in the videos. The Kanetz skep is interesting too.

    What are they using as floats in the feeding bowls? I have many drowned bees in my frame feeder, even with the wire "ladders" installed. Seems like the little floats that the skep beekeeper is using would work in a frame feeder too!

    Thanks,
    Tim
    Yes, fantastic. So many skills

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    5,937

    Default Re: Skep beekeeping in Germany

    Quote Originally Posted by BernhardHeuvel View Post
    Mites kill bees in skeps like in any other hive.
    do the beekeepers treat their hives then? Oxalic acid would come to mind
    Last edited by Ian; 10-21-2013 at 07:05 AM.

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Notodden, Telemark, Norway
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Skep beekeeping in Germany

    Fantastic post........

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,199

    Default Re: Skep beekeeping in Germany

    Ian, at last a use for all that Canadian beef cow dung?

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    5,937

    Default Re: Skep beekeeping in Germany

    Yikes!
    I wonder how the public would react to beekeepers covering their hives with cow dung.

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,199

    Default Re: Skep beekeeping in Germany

    They would be fine if it was organic.

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
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    5,937

    Default Re: Skep beekeeping in Germany

    I'm sure you have your toung in your cheek

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Talbot Co., MD
    Posts
    85

    Default Re: Skep beekeeping in Germany

    Bernhard, thank you, this was a great series of posts! Where is this apiary located? I lived in the Hunsruck for a couple of years.

  11. #31

    Default Re: Skep beekeeping in Germany

    Luneburg!

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Glendale, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    60

    Default Re: Skep beekeeping in Germany

    Great post! Thank you for sharing. I'm actually in Europe now and noticed some old skeps lying around so I was able to share this post as a way to explain alot more than I new about this method.

  13. #33

    Default Re: Skep beekeeping in Germany

    I visited a dark bee beekeeper and breeder in the far North of Germany. Kai-Michael Engfer (www.nordbiene.de).

    Dark bees working a hedgerow of privet (Ligustrum).










    Kai and me share a passion: planting trees. This tree was planted by Kai 20 years ago.


    Dark bees in front of a five frame hive. Notice the roundish butt, which is a characteristic attribute of pure dark bees.


    Bees in front of a skep.


    Poking my nose into the entrance.




    The apiary is near to the Northern coast of Germany.

  14. #34
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Sudbury, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    105

    Default Re: Skep beekeeping in Germany

    [QUOTE=BernhardHeuvel;1012050]Actually that family kept 3,000 skeps during summer.

    (nowadays the young Klindworth doesn't run any hives anymore)

    Just curious, any ideas why he no longer keeps bees? I took particular interest & watched all the youtube films... It seemed to be their way of life?

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