The Old Modern: Victorian Beekeeping

Honeybees are synonymous with wooden hives, yet once this was not so. In England, honeybees were mostly kept in straw skeps, until over a period of fifty years they were replaced by the removal-frame box hive.

Modern beekeeping was the term used in the 1870’s to describe the new practice of keeping bees in wooden boxes with removable-frames.

The frames contained beeswax sheets with hexagonal cells pressed onto the surface, and the bees would build comb on them.

A piece of equipment was invented for keeping the queenbee in the bottom box to lay her brood, courtesy of a queen-excluder, and additional boxes could be stacked above for the collection of honey.

This method increased honey yields that honeybees were evicted from their thatched cottage and placed in a skyscraper.

What was modern is now old, although the word ‘modern’ has stuck with this form of beekeeping. This collection of magic lantern slides show what was once cutting-edge technology in the world of beekeeping.

The Old Modern: Victorian Beekeeping

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