Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Beekeepers, do you want to make a skep?

Bank holidays are never long enough are they?! Ho hum.

The pole pile sort out continues but we also have some other new materials to add to our ever growing arsenal, we have "D" profile centre cane wrapping and copious quantities of "B" grade 6mm wide lapping. The "D" profile is perfect for conservatory repairs, so flexible and it will take a colour. The 6mm glossy lapping is also good for conservatory repairs, but most of the time we supply it to beekeepers for making skeps.

A skep is the traditional housing for bees and the shape of them as a symbol is still used on millions of honey pots. Skeps are hand made from straw tightly coiled round and round then stitched together into a bell shape. There was a time when they could be seen everywhere until the angular wooden hives all but replaced them as favourites with the beekeepers. There is something quaint about the image, but in truth, skeps are liked by bees and if they're looked after well, can go on being used for decades. Being so lighweight and therefore easy to carry they're also perfect for catching swarms. I found this terrific 1970's film of a bee farm in Germany who were still using skeps for their bees, (complete with clear diction from a VERY English narrator!);

Sorry it's 14 minutes long but honestly it's fascinating stuff, stick with it! If after watching this you fancy trying your hand at making a skep give us a call. The 6mm glossy cane is perfect for stitching the coils and 1/2 kilo hanks are half price while stocks last - only £8, or if you've got millions of bees, you could make hundreds of skeps with a kilo of 6mm lapping for only £15. Just add straw!

1 comment:

Weavin' Wicker Woman said...

Thanks for posting the interesting video about bees and skip making. I've been doing several decorative ones over here in the US and teaching classes. I gathered oat and barley straw and use the cane weavers.

Since using skeps are outlawed here in most of our states, these are just for show in the gardens or are made as primitive decorations in the home.

The Wicker Woman--Cathryn Peters