Skeps and Swarms

I’ve not posted for a while. Part of the reason is that I did a skep making course last weekend, to make it easier to catch bee swarms. Since then I have been catching up with my planting out, and thinking through a new system for growing some of my food, which mixes small scale wheat growing, polycultures, hugelkultur, and possibly bamboo.


Back to the skep making.

I met up with my mate Alex, and we camped for two days, which gave us time to catch up.

The course was fine, just five of us, and I learnt what I needed to, and finished my skep, driving home Sunday evening. The following afternoon I found one of the biggest swarms of the year so far, at the apiary on the farm. When I finally got them all inside, there wasn’t any spare space. They’re now safely installed in a Warre hive, and completely fill the top box. An awesome sight.

It was thinking about growing rye and wheat, using the bon fils method that led me to compare it, with the three sisters guild/polyculture, and there is quite an overlap. I’ll post more details as my test beds mature.

All of the best



4 thoughts on “Skeps and Swarms

  1. annisveggies

    Will you be posting details eventually of your grains / polyculture / hegelkulture / bamboo? It sounds intruiging. I grow perennial veggies in polycultures and am fascinated by similar endeavours.
    Best wishes
    Anni Kelsey

    1. Deano Post author

      Hi Anni
      Yes, the post is half finished, and I just need to get on and finish it.
      Best start now


  2. George Adams

    My wife and I are US Citizens living in Nicaragua because it is so much cheaper than my beloved country. We have a small coffee farm with many fruit trees to help provide shade for coffee (in season there are many million blooms).

    I am getting ready to add beekeeping to my efforts. I have read about swarms and skeps. The photos of the WEAVING of straw skeps I have seen look exactly like the weaving to make large (3 foot diameter) baskets which sell for about $5. I bet I could get my skeps made by the basket weavers for well under $10.

    QUESTIONS (1) approximate diameter and height, (2) size of hole, and (3) do you use lemon grass oil, and (4) I suspect the skep does NOT have a bottom


    1. Deano Post author

      Hi George
      My best advice is to do a search for skep beekeeping on youtube, where there are lots of video clips of bees being managed in skeps. In answer to your questions, (1) volume of at least 40 litres. (2) and (4) easiest way is to stand the skep on a wooden base, and incorporate the entrance in that. (3) lemon grass is one attractant, lemon balm is another. If your question relates to varroa treatment, look at the WVU site. Make sure to follow the links to the original research,and the 2006 update, which are at the bottom of the page.
      I hope that you give it a try, and let us all know how you get on.



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