The Buzz on Beehives: An Overview

Skep

A Straw Beehive, or Skep. Utah State Archives, 1980.

In nature, bee colonies build hives to live in, raise young, and store food reserves. Known as honey, humans have long collected this stored food primarily for its sweet taste.

However, collecting honey from the wild was both difficult and unreliable. Human-made beehives allow beekeepers to capture and keep bees for easier access to honey. There are many types of beehives across time and place, such as the sundried-clay tubes of Ancient Egypt and the baked jars of Malta.

In Europe, the most common beehive was the skep. A skep, meaning “basket or bushel” in the Old Norse language, is a dome-shaped basket that captured bees build their hive inside of. This is what the shape of the “Utah beehive” is.

The Buzz on Beehives