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Bees, Beekeeping and Honey

A History of and Introduction to Bees and Beekeeping

Louis Hodges

on 21 October 2015

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Transcript of Bees, Beekeeping and Honey

Bees, Beekeeping and Honey
by Louis Hodges
Egyptian temple paintings depict
bees and honey harvesting.
In the lower portion, pots of honey
have been set out as an offering to
the gods and as food for the bees.
Primitive methods of robbing a hive—cutting down and splitting open the tree.—usually resulted in the destruction of the colony.

The development of the hive, however, led to domestication of the bee.

Honey was important in the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece and Rome because it was the primary sweetener available and could be used as a preservative.

Bees are depicted on Greek coinage and in Roman mosaics.
Coin of Ephesus c. 350 BC
A protective bee suit, hat and veil, gloves, and boots provide essential protection to the beekeeper.
Bee Suits
These are NOT bee suits...
... nor are these...
...these suits are not recommended for beginners...
A variety of suits, hats, veils and gloves are available, both for children and adults...
With imagination, you can also protect your dog
and your donkey.
You will probably also want to have a wax cap remover, smoker, hive tool, and brush.
Books & Sources of Information
History of Bees & Beekeeping
Early & Medieval Beekeeping
Medieval bee hives protected under a garden shelter.
Village beekeeping--various hive designs and catching a swarm
Hollow log bee hives.
Medieval bee suits.
Beekeeping between 1700-1899
Catching a swarm--a family activity.
Extracting honey in the 1800's
Bee trees with bear excluders.
The bear would swat at the spiked ball and it would come back to hit him. The more he swatted, the more aggravating it was.
Log Hives
Logs are an ancient/traditional form of bee hive. Some beekeepers prefer them because they resemble the "natural" homes for bees and provide insulation for colder areas.

They are difficult to harvest from unless you cut a door into the side to give you access to the honeycomb.
This is a Holtzer log hive being crafted.
The finished hive with a window for observing the bees.
Straw Hives
Traditional, but difficult to use--you will need to invert them to check the hive or rob the honey.
Skeps, or straw hives, are still manufactured by hand.
Modern variations of straw hives.
Note the bee landing above.
Beekeeping books are readily available at bookstores, your local library, and at businesses such as Amazon.
Other Sources
Check with your state land grant university, especially with the Extension Service, or with you State Apiary Inspection Service
According to Egyptian mythology, bees came from the tears of the Sun god Ra when they hit the desert sands.
Suspended from limbs or on a ladder, beekeepers rob hives and drop honeycomb to assistants on the ground who place it in buckets.
Beekeeping videos on Youtube.com can be a source of information.
Also, check with local beekeepers and bee clubs as well as beekeeping suppliers.
The Langstroth hive, patented in 1860 is a world-wide standard.
Parts of a Hive
Its design can be modified and it can be painted or decorated.
It can be placed on a rooftop...
...or in an apiary.
Note the extra insulation on this hive.
They are less expensive and easy to build.
Mason bees (solitary bees) do not make honey but they are great polinators. They like to live in hollow tubes.
Beekeeping in 1820
An 8000 year old cave painting from Spain depicts a honey-gatherer
with a bucket suspended by a rope to rob a hive.
Top-Bar hives are becomming more popular
Flow Hives
Attracting considerable attention through a crowd-funding campaign, the concept dates to 1939.
This hive promises honey on tap.
A Lithuanian bee goddess holding a skep or straw hive.
A Lithuanian bee god.
Note the bee on his robe.
The invention of the hive marked the start of the domstication of the bee.
French Trunk Hives
Like those used in medieval apiaries.
According to Greek mythology, Cupid dipped his arrows in honey.
Bees appeared in the Cretaceous Period--nearly 100 million years ago.
Fossil bees
photo taken about 50 years ago
Bees in Art and Literature
Bee Jewelry
Bees in Art
Bees as Artists
Body Bees
Comb Art
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