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Review of two more Skep books

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Ernie Farmboy
Foraging Bee

Joined: 02 Sep 2009
Posts: 141
Location: USA, Olympia, Washington

PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2016 7:25 pm    Post subject: Review of two more Skep books Reply with quote

These two books came earlier then expected, so as promised, my reviews of the two books. From 1850- “The bee-Keepers Manual, Practical Advice” by Henry Taylor and “The Handy Book of Bees; Being a Practical Treatise On Their Profitable Management” by A. Pettigrew. Mr. Pettigrew’s book, published in 1870, is an excellent historical snap shot of beekeeping attitudes during the transition from Skeps to Barred Wooden hives. He does cover Skep keeping to a point, but does opine about the useless wooden hives with bars. A quote from his book- “We do not see one feature in a bar-frame hive which will commend it to an experienced bee-keeper, whose object in honey and profit. We believe it will soon go into disuse.“
Mr Taylor’s book is by far the best of the two. If one is serious about keeping a Skep in an historically accurate and authentic manner- Mr Taylor’s Manual would be the book to have. He does not cover much on how make skeps, but nearly everything else. How to super a skep, split a skep, harvest honey,(he doesn’t use the killing the colony method). Examples of skep floors, stands, pedestals, coverings, syrup feeders. Mr. Taylor was more open to wooden bar hives and shows examples of incorporating skeps and wooden hives. Straw bar-hives, circular wooden hives, and my favorite, a Nadir Hive box. Placing the Skep on top of a queen excluder placed on a framed hive box. The entrance to the Skep above the excluder is open and the Nadir box also has an entrance. This Nadir box management method appears to be an excellent modern way to keep bees in a skep.
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Quality Top Bar Hives by Andrew Vidler

Conserving wild bees

Research suggests that bumble bee boxes have a very low success rate in actually attracting bees into them. We find that if you create an environment where first of all you can attract mice inside, such as a pile of stones, a drystone wall, paving slabs with intentionally made cavities underneath, this will increase the success rate.

Most bumble bee species need a dry space about the size a football, with a narrow entrance tunnel approximately 2cm in diameter and 20 cm long. Most species nest underground along the base of a linear feature such as a hedge or wall. Sites need to be sheltered and out of direct sunlight.

There is a spectacular display of wild bee hotels here

More about bumblebees and solitary bees here

Information about the Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum)

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