Monday, June 13, 2011

Vampire Bees!!!

No, not really. What we've really got here are some pictures of medieval bee boxes and skeps, taken by my cousin Hannah on a recent trip to Transylvania. She reports that she found them "in a fortified Saxon church in a village called Viscri in Transylvania. I'm not sure when the boxes themselves date to but the church was built in the 13th a fortress, so everything important (including bees) was stored inside its walls in case of attack." 

According to my old friend John Howe, boxes of this vintage, as well as skeps from any era, provided only empty space in which bees could build their honeycomb. An apiarist would have had to destroy the hive in order to harvest the honey, killing most of the bees in the process. By contrast, modern Langstroth, moveable frame hives allow a beekeeper to remove frames of honey with no damage to the colony itself. 

Finally, all you Westchester folks, come hear me read The Honeybee Man next Sunday at the Village Bookstore in Pleasantville. I look forward to seeing you there from 11:30-1:00. 

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