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Bee Skep

Curated Submission
Delta, British Columbia
DIMENSIONS in centimetres
34 x 18
Materials & techniques
Reeds; Bundled, sewn
Delta Museum and Archives Society DE1996.7.12
The use of the traditional bee skep has a long history in Northern Europe, dating to about 800 CE. At one point skep was a common gift given to Dutch newlyweds, who would parade it through town as a celebration of the new union.
This skep was made using straw woven in a coiled bundle and then sewn using cane. The skep offered an environment for attracting and capturing bees; after the growing season, the entire skep was squeezed to draw off the honey, thus destroying it in the process of harvesting. Early settlers who came from Europe brought the tradition of skep building with them to the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. This tradition continued for many years until a change in agricultural laws, requiring access for inspection and increased sanitation of the end product. Modern hives are designed for ease of access to the comb, and the comb produced is placed in an extractor to retrieve the honey. 
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