Skeppist Versus Hivist

(I) Pliny records cloomed hives

the best made
   of bark

next of fennel stalk
   & the osier third

(II) Mortimer, Advice to the Farmer

the best hives are made
of wicker, in privet or osier,
harl daub’d with cow manure,
tempered with dust, ashes or sand,
hives may also be made
   from straw

in winter cover
your hives with veils
of black Italian crape
such as are seen
at funerals

(III) Dadant, lists skeps made of

mud & straw
hollow logs
stitched concave bark
sections of cork
coconut logs
hollow gum tree logs
root end of a fir tree
woven fennel sticks
woven wicker, cloomed in mud or cow shit
woven withies
woven wicker & vines

(IV) Fraser, History of British Beekeeping: The Commonwealth

beekeeping entered a decline
with the Reformation

as a result of the altar candle
falling out of fashion

(V) Dadant’s Precedent

by nature the combs
are built in dark recesses

in hollow trees, caves
   & cavities

(VI) Cheshire, the Schoolmaster

those who prefer
straw skeps
over wooden hives

forget how wild bees
got on very well
in hollow trees

(VII) Foster adds a twist

iti s
thet wist
inth estraw
that givesskeps
theirsinn ertrength

(VIII) Kerr, or ‘Bee Robin’

Kerr wrote no Scottish treatise
but his Stewarton hive was
designed for ‘the busy man’

it featured a wooden octagon
of honey-boxes with bars
& 2 windows for observation

(IX) Wheeler’s Record of The Greek Method

at one of the monasteries
on Mt. Hymettus
Wheeler saw hives
made of osiers

like dust-baskets
with conical roofs & bars
to which the bees
attached fresh combs

Mt. Hymettus, known locally as Trell√≥s, ‘Crazy Mountain’

(X) Kritsky: Some Victorian hives

Nutt Collateral
Improved Cottage
Ladies Observation
Mansion of Industry
College of St. Bees
Royal Alfred



(painted on Warder's hives)

H. Malcolm Fraser, Beekeeping in Antiquity
H. Malcolm Fraser, History of Beekeeping in Britain
Karl Von Frisch, The Dancing Bees
A. M. Foster, Bee Boles and Bee Houses
Roy A. Grout (ed.), The Hive and the Honey-bee
Gene Kritsky, The Quest for the Perfect Hive