Several years ago, I visited Chris Parks apiary in Watchfield with the Vale and Downland Beekeepers Association. Chris has done a lot of research into traditional forms of beekeeping. He is best know for making skeps which are straw baskets for keeping bees in.
A hundred and fifty years ago, using skeps would have been the common method for keeping honeybees in England.
In this photo the skep has a cap; this is the mud coloured thing sitting onto of the straw skep. The cap is the area for collecting honey and in modern day beekeeping parlance it would be called a super. I can’t remember if there was a queen-excluder between this skep and its cap. If I remember correctly, queen excluders weren’t invented until the second half of the nineteenth century.
The use of skeps for beekeeping fell out of fashion decades after the invention of the removable frame box hive. Prior to this visit, I had only seen drawing of skeps in books, so I was glad to see one being actively used for keeping honeybees.