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bees-msg – 7/9/17


Period beekeeping. Notes on beekeeping now.


NOTE: See also the files: bees-Markham-art, Beekeeping-AS-art, honey-msg, Pest-Control-art, basketweaving-msg, candles-msg, mead-msg, meadery-list-msg.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I  have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done  a limited amount  of  editing. Messages having to do  with separate topics  were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the  message IDs  were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make  no claims  as  to the accuracy  of  the information  given  by the individual authors.


Please respect the time  and  efforts of  those who have written  these messages. The copyright status  of these messages  is  unclear  at this time. If information  is  published  from  these  messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

   Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                         Stefan at florilegium.org



From: trifid at agora.rain.com (Roadster Racewerks)

Date: 9 May 91 00:14:49 GMT

Organization: Open Communications Forum


How old is the traditional STRAW beehive? You know, the round "beehive shaped"

domed one? I have seen the real thimng, even though you usually only see them in

pictures, and it's made by tightly bundling straw in long bundles about 1.5 inch

thick, and coiling it around, sewing it together, until it makes a sort of tiny

straw igloo for bees. I am of the impression this is quite old, but haven't

looked it up yet.


Elaine NicMaoilan



From: whheydt at PacBell.COM (Wilson Heydt)

Date: 9 May 91 15:36:13 GMT

Organization: Pacific * Bell, San Ramon, CA

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca


dmb at inls1.ucsd.edu (Doug Brownell) writes:

>Greetings unto the Rialto from Thomas Brownwell,

>Milord Olafr Thordarson asks:

>>I don't think modern beehives were invented until quite late.

>The show didn't describe previous attempts to keep

>bees stationary, but the implication was that it was hard if

>not impossible to domesticate them without providing them

>with suitable living conditions.  I can certainly envision an

>industrious and brave person getting a hive started but it

>wasn't common.


A good beginning book on beekeeping will have a historical section

showing the tradional artificial hives.  Probably the best known is

the straw skep.  That's the "beehive" shaped sort of basket-ish

looking thing.  If you go through your copy of _Tres Riches Heures_,

(or similar works) you'll see examples.  (At least I *think* I recall

seeing a skep in the background of one or more plates . . .)


Another technique is a section of hollowed out log.


What the modern hive provides is the means to get the honey out

without having to destroy the physical structure--and thus keeping the

same group of bees for an extended period.


It is trivially easy to get bees into a suitable home.  Just put the

empty hive near a swarm of bees, and the odds are good taht they'll

move right in.  Later, the hive can be moved to where you want it.

What's truly amazing is to see (literally) swarms of bees *walking*

into a hive.


Just an FYI item for all of you aout there . . .  A swarm of bees is

particularly safe to be around (as compared to an occupied hive).  The

bees are full (the "tank up", as it were, before swarming) and they

don't yet have a home to defend.  It is quite easy to work with a

swarm without any protective gear, though a veil is still a good idea.

On a pratical level, one can work a hive with bare hands--but the

first time you do so takes a bit of nerve and it always takes



       --Hal, who used to keep bees.


       Hal Ravn, Province of the Mists, West Kingdom

       Wilson H. Heydt, Jr.,  Albany, CA 94706,  415/524-8321 (home)


Hal Heydt                    |    Practice Safe Government

Analyst, Pacific*Bell        |           Use Kingdoms

415-823-5447                 |     (seen on a bumper sticker)

whheydt at pbhya.PacBell.COM    |



From: STEVE.BOYLAN at office.wang.COM (Steve Boylan)

Date: 9 May 91 17:52:41 GMT

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca


Greetings once again from Stephen of the Summer Country.


I've kept quiet about the subject only from lack of success in my

research, but the topic keeps coming back and nobody else seems to

be having any luck digging up information, either!


Here's my dilemma - I KNOW that the domed straw beehive is centuries

old, but I can't find a reference that will tell me when that form of

hive became widespread or where it was used or what other types of hives

were common.  Beekeeping extends far back into prehistory, and the basic

knowledge of the role of bees in pollination was understood far back in the

past, but I can't seem to find a good discussion of the history of the

art - only books on the modern hive, hive management, and keeping the

bees healty and productive.


Any academics out there have access to a good agricultural reference library?

Lord Taran - how about the Tufts veterinary library?  Or anybody at Cornell?



(Heavens - if I could find enough information, I'd be able to have an

authentic hive or two in my [projected for the somewhat distant future]

medieval garden!).


              In hope of some assistance,

                                - - Stephen

                                    Visitor to Carolingia

                                    Kingdom of the East

                                    Steve.Boylan at office.wang.com



From: DEGROFF at intellicorp.COM (Leslie DeGroff)

Date: 9 May 91 18:58:03 GMT

Organization: The Internet

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca


   To change topics,  On bee's and bee keeping, someplace lost in

my memory I seem to remember something about ceramic pots for

hives, like the interesting post about straw hives it would

be a technology with in common and widespread technical reach.



From: vnend at phoenix.Princeton.EDU (D. W. James)

Date: 9 May 91 21:11:50 GMT

Organization: Princeton University

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca


STEVE.BOYLAN at office.wang.COM (Steve Boylan) writes:

)Here's my dilemma - I KNOW that the domed straw beehive is centuries

)old, but I can't find a reference that will tell me when that form of

)hive became widespread or where it was used or what other types of hives

)were common.


       I seem to recall a medieval coat of arms that was three bee hives,

so they are certainly period.

)(Heavens - if I could find enough information, I'd be able to have an

)authentic hive or two in my [projected for the somewhat distant future]

)medieval garden!).

)                                     Steve.Boylan at office.wang.com


       I mentioned this topic to Seonaid a Lochbuie last night.  She

recalls from her beekeeping class in college that this type of hive is

now illegal in the US, since it does not provide for examination for

disease in the hive.  She also reports that they were made of rope as

well as the wound straw.  You'll have to come up with something that

looks like the original but allows inspection, or use modern hives.





From: DRS at UNCVX1.BITNET ("Dennis R. Sherman")

Date: 10 May 91 17:40:00 GMT

Organization: The Internet


Search request: F TW BEEKEEPING

Search result:  210 records at all libraries


1. ADAM, Brother, O.B.E.

     Bee-keeping at Buckfast Abbey : with a section on meadmaking. 1975

5. ADJARE, Stephen.

     The golden insect : a handbook on beekeeping for beginners. 1984

22. BENTON, Ralph.

   Practical beekeeping designed for the use of the beginner and small

         apiarist;. 1907

24. BROWN, R. H.

   One thousand years of Devon beekeeping. 1975

33. CHESHIRE, Frank Richard,...

   Bees & bee-keeping; scientific and practical. A complete treatise on the

         anatomy,... 1886

34. CHESHIRE, Frank Richard,...

   Practical bee-keeping: being plain instructions to the amateur for the

         successful... 1879

35. CLARK, Ed. H.

   Constructive beekeeping,. 1918

40. CRANE, Eva.

   The archaeology of beekeeping. 1983

41. CRANE, Eva.

   Bees and beekeeping : science, practice, and world resources. 1990

45. CUMMING, John, 1807-1881.

   Bee-keeping. 1864

47. DADANT, C. P. 1851-1938.

   Dadant system of beekeeping,by c. P. Dadant. 1920

53. DIGGES, J G.

   The practical bee guide; a manual of modern beekeeping,. 1918

57. Domestic animals: a pocket manual of cattle, horse, and sheep husbandry

   ... with a chapter on bee-keeping. 1858

69. FRASER, Henry Malcolm.

   Beekeeping in antiquity. 1951

70. FRASER, Henry Malcolm.

   History of beekeeping in Britain. 1958

73. GALTON, Dorothy.

   Survey of a thousand years of beekeeping in Russia. 1971

95. HUNTER, John, Hon....

   A manual of bee-keeping. 1875

119. MELLOR, James Eric Moulsdale.

   Bee-keeping in Palestine and Egypt compared. June, 1927. 1929

121. MILLER, Charles C., 1831-1920.

   A thousand answers to beekeeping questions,. 1917


   Beekeeping in Asia. 1986

154. QUINBY, Moses, 1810-1875.

   Mysteries of bee-keeping explained : containing the result of 35 years'

         experience, and... 1865

170. SMITH, Richard, of Quenington.

   The cottagers' bee-book: containing remarks on the conservative

         bee-keeping, the... 1839

192. WEBSTER, W. B.

   The book of bee-keeping. A practical and complete manual on the proper

         management of... 1908

204. WELLS, Samuel R. 1820-1875.

   Domestic animals; a pocket manual of cattle, horse and sheep husbandry;

         or, How to... 1858


   Robyyan Torr d'Elandris                Dennis R. Sherman

   Kapellenberg, Windmaster's Hill        Chapel Hill, NC

   Atlantia                               drs at uncvx1.bitnet



From: vnend at phoenix.Princeton.EDU (D. W. James)

Date: 13 May 91 00:19:18 GMT

Organization: Princeton University


Exerpts from "The Hive and the Honey Bee", edited by Dadant and Sons, 1984,

Lib. of Congress CC# 63-15838 (No ISBN listed, sorry)


Chapter 1


The World's Beekeeping -- past and present, by Eva Crane


                       Beekeeping up to 1500


[Notes evidence of hives dating back to the stone age.  Notes that

beekeeping in the Middle East, and use of pottery vessels made

for bees back in the Neolithic (5000BC) and that this type of clay

pots are still in use today (Picture of clay pots of the type used

in Lebanon and Israel today.)  Egypt and adjoining regions used



Notes use of basket techniques to make hives, and notes that the

coiled straw hive also dates back to the Neolithic.  Notes that

wicker hives were used in parts of Europe.]


"Primative hives were usually small, because the beekeeper wanted to

encourage swarmdhs to populate his empty hives.  Primitive beekeeping

consisted of little more than providing the hives, and killing the

bees (for instance by plunging the hive into boiling water) to get the

honey and wax.  In ancient Egypt, smoke was used to drive the bees from

their hive, and by ancient Roman times bees were fed.  At some time in

the Middle Ages, beekeepers devised a form of protection to wear when

handling their hives (Fig. 6)."


[Figure six shows a figure in a long skirt, wearing an apron, long

sleeves, bloused gloves, and a hood that covered the shoulders and

opened before the face with a circular mesh.  Part of it looks rather

rigid. The illustration is stated to be from Sebastian Mu:ster's

"Cosmographia", 1545.  It includes two wicker hives about half the height

of the figure in the picture, and about as wide as they are tall, dome



"Until the 16th century -- a significant one for the honey bee -- the

beekeeper's calender remained virtually unchanged; in early summer he

caught and hived the swarms which issued; in late summer he killed the

bees in most of his hives, cut out the combs and strained the honey from

the wax; in the fall, if necessary, he provided food in the remaining hives,

which he overwintered.  Burning sulfur was commonly used for killing the



"Little was understood as to what went on inside the hive, for the events

there could not be seen.  It was not realized that the large "king" bee

was in fact a female, the mother of the other bees in the hive, noe were

the sexes of the workers and drones understood, let alone the facts of mating

between the queen and drone.  It was not known that the bees themselves

secreted the wax with which they built comb, nor that their visits to

flowers had anything to do with the formation of seeds and fruits."


                       Beekeeping--1500 to 1851


"Three separate streams of events, each of great significance in the history

of bees and beekeeping, were set in motion in the 16th century, and led on

to Langstroth's advance in 1851.  First, scientific and technical developements

enabled beekeepers to understand the fundamental facts of the life cycle

and biology of their bees; second, and coupled with the first, there were

developments in beekeeping methods which gave beekeepers slightly more

control over their bees; as well as greater opportunities for observing

the bees inside the hive; and third, the honey bees themselves spread over

two new continents, from one of which was to come the greatest single advance

in the science and craft of beekeeping.


"*Discovery of the Fundimental Facts about Bees.* [emphasis orginal] The

first description of the queen bee as a female, which laid eggs, was published

in Spain in 1586, by Luis Me'ndez de Torres.  Then in England Charles Butler

showed, in his _Feminine Monarchie_ (1609), that the drones were male bees,

and Richard Remnant, in his _Discourse of Historie of Bees_ (1637), that

the worker bees were females; Remnant had observed that they posessed "a

neat place for the receipt of generationa ...


"The fact that bees could raise a queen from eggs or very young larvae was

published in Germany in 1568 by Nickel Jacob, but the primary facts about

the mating of the queen with the drone were not available until 1771..."


"*Developments in Beekeeping Techniques.*" [Notes the use of one hive

to keep several swarms over the winter, and a couple of tech. for "driving"

the bees.  Also, various methods of removing the honey with the least

disturbance of the bees.  This discussion is without dates, and that which

follows it is all out of period.  It is later noted that, in Greece, for

an unknown period of time that might well extend back into period, the

hives were upside down from the way we see them portrayed.  This caused

the bees to attatch the comb to the slats that covered the top, rather

than the sloping sides, which made for easier removal.  News of this tech.

reached England in 1682.  It is noted that "Aristotle's account of the

life of the bee makes it seem possible that he used one of these hives when

writing his _Natural History_."]


[Langstroth's discovery was the removable frame hive, the development

that makes modern beekeeping tech. possible.]





From: PORTERG at ruby.vcu.EDU (Greg Porter)

Date: 14 May 91 13:28:00 GMT

Organization: The Internet


       Greetings to the Rialto:


       Bee folklore:  I seem to remember reading that it was considered a

good idea to tell one's bees all the important family news (e.g. births,

deaths, etc.).  Otherwise, the hive might not prosper, and the bees would

leave. Interesting idea.  It would certainly encourage the beekeeper to

spend time with his/her hive(s), thus noting potential problems early, and

making for a healthier hive.


       Fare well,


       Morgan Wolfsinger (Catherine DeMott) by my lord's net access

       Barony of Caer Mear, Atlantia



From: atterlep at vela.acs.oakland.edu (Somebody Else)

Date: 14 May 91 14:16:51 GMT

Organization: Oakland University, Rochester MI.


(Doug Brownell) writes:

> I can certainly envision an

> industrious and brave person getting a hive started but it

> wasn't common.


This is minimal information, but in the "Tres Riches Heures" (a French Book

of Hours done for the Duc de Berry) there is a picture of a family of peasants,

with nothing more than a few sheep, an open barn in need of patching, a small

house, and some beehives.  If beehives were kept even by peasants then they

couldn't have been all that uncommon.

Does anyone have more information?


                       Lord Alan Fairfax Aluricson

                       Canton of the Riding of Hawkland Moor

                       Barony of Northwoods, Midrealm

                       atterlep at vela.acs.oakland.edu



From: CONS.ELF at aida.csd.uu.se ("]ke Eldberg")

Date: 15 May 91 16:21:04 GMT

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca



Archbishop Olaus Magnus: "History of the Nordic Peoples"

Printed in Rome A.D. 1555.


"As the Nordic countries are rich in many things...they have also...

been blessed with an abundance of honey, and the people labor much

to protect and help the bees. When the honey has been taken from the

hives, the people have a custom to leave just enough thereof for the

young bees to last them over the winter, that is to say two thirds..."


[Olaus goes on to mention that in Italy people feed the bees with

shredded figs, dried grapes etcetera, but in Scandinavia these are

foreign and expensive things, so the people prefer to leave some of

the honey.]


"In emergencies, instead of giving them honey, the people feed the

bees with crushed beans or peas, cookies made of poppy-seed, wheat

flour moistened with mead, or with meat of freshly-slaughtered chickens,

shredded. But Aristotle, in his book about the animals (book VIII,

chapter 14 and 17) writes that the ant, rat, mole and other insects

and small animals hide in their lairs all through winter; further that

the bees hide in their hives as long as the strong cold lasts, and do

not eat of the food prepared for them, and that if they are ever seen

to crawl out they look starved, with empty and transparent bellies."


Olaus goes on to tell about bee keeping, most of which seems to have

been done in the same way as today (surprise! :-)). He seems to regard

the swarming as an attempt by the bees to "escape" and tells of many

weird ways to locate the swarm and get it back, including (this sounds

strangest to me) glueing a thin thread on the back of a bee with some

pitch and watching where it wants to fly, since the lonely bee is a

"scout" that wants to return to the main swarm.


He mentions that it is the law, that if a swarm of bees settles in a

church or belfry, it becomes the property of the church, to be used

for making candle wax. If the swarm settles on a cradle or on the

face of a sleeping child (!), it becomes the property of the child,

and this is seen as a good omen for the child who will become a fine

person. This is said to have happened to Saint Ambrosius.


Further, he mentions that in Brabant and Flanders people move the hives

to the pasture lands in the summer because bees get more nourishment

there. Severe punishments are in effect for anyone who plunders beehives.


Two chapters tell of animals that eat bees and how to protect the bees

from these. He notices that irritated bees may attack both humans and

animals. Especially, they are given to attack drunken people with

stinking breath!


Olaus gives advice on how to buy bees, how to recognize those that

are the most productive. For example, "older bees make sweeter honey

than young ones, because of the longer experience they have, but

they also sting worse". Bees who have broken the commands of the Bee

King are said to commit suicide by stinging themselves!


These were just a few details from Olaus' book which has some ten

pages about bee keeping.


William de Corbie



From: jab2 at stl.stc.co.uk (Jennifer Ann Bray)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Period brewing and herbs...

Date: 25 Nov 93 13:14:42

Organization: STC Technology Ltd., London Road, Harlow, UK.


Alecost was used for brewing, I've got some growing in my back garden,

but sadly I haven't any recipes. So if anyone knows what part it did

play let me know. I suspect it was used like hops are now.


The fruit of the service tree was used to make beer in england, and

pubs serving ale made from service fruit were called chequer pubs

because of the trees chequered bark. You can still find old pubs

called chequers which probably started out serving ale from the

service tree.

I have no idea if it had any medicinal properties, but I would

guess its an old beverage because service trees won't seed in our

currently cold climate, so the custom might date to when the country

was warmer a millenium ago? Nowadays the tree will grow from seed in

France but is infertile here where, though it can extend by suckers

from the root system.


When the queen got into the supers of my beehives she layed brood all

over the honey and the result was a bitter tasting honey. In medieval

beekeeping where the queen was not restricted in her movements about

the colony honey flavoured with bitter brood food would be common. We

used the honey to brew a spicy metheglin and it tasted quite good,

perhaps some of the metheglin recipes which use herbs or spices in

mead were a result of brewers making best use of their worst honey?

I suppose spices were quite expensive whereas herbs could be home

grown, so disguising a bad taste might be a more likely use for herbs

than spices?



Vanaheim vikings



From: J.A. Bray at bnr.co.uk

Date: 12/8/93

Subject: beekeeping

To: Mark Harris


>What does this mean in non-beekeeper language? It sounds like the queen

>is kept isolated from the honey areas in a modern hive and that the

>queen laid eggs and food? among the honey in your hive. Am I close?

>How do you keep the queen seperated in a modern hive?


Apologies for speaking jargon, I shall try again in English.


In a modern hive the quenn bee (who lays all the eggs) roams free in the

bottom part of the hive. There the young bees or brood are raised. For

this reason the box containing the bottom combs of the hive is called a

brood box.


The queen is larger than the worker bees, so by putting a slotted mesh

between the bottom and top of the hive beekeepers can let worker bees

into the top of the hive whilst confining the queen to the bottom.


The boxes containing the combs at the top of the hive are called supers.

Only the workers have access to supers. Honey and some pollen are

stored in the supers.


The reason for all this is that honey tastes sweet and brood tastes bitter.

so modern beekeepers prefer to keep the brood part of the hive seperate

from the honey storage area. Some african honey has a strong taste left

by brood, because it comes from wild colonys or colonys being kept using

primitive methods that don't allow the seperation of brood and honey.


(brood food is a white milky looking substance provided by the worker

bees for the deloping brood. brood food also tastes bitter. It is the

same as royal jelly except that royal jelly has more pantothenic acid.

Most royal jelly sold in health food shops is actually brood food, because

a colony of bees produces very little royal jelly, but they produce lots

of brood food, and the shops can't tell the difference!)


Once a queen has laid brood in a comb it is permanently tainted because the

emerging adult bee leaves its larval skin behind coating the walls of the

cell in which it developed. This skin will leach a bitter taste into any

honey stored in that cell. If a queen gets loose in the supers eec law

(eec = european economic community in case you're not familiar with the

term)says honey from comb that has held brood may not be sold for human

consuption, Me I just turn it into metheglin = herbed or spiced mead





[Submitted by: Donna Hrynkiw <donna at Kwantlen.BC.CA>]

Date: 4 Apr 1996 07:06:58 GMT

From: Dorothy J Heydt <djheydt at uclink.berkeley.edu>

To: sca at mc.lcs.mit.edu

Subject: "Killer" Bees (was Fire Ants)


Glenn S. Lyford <glyford at us1.channel1.com> wrote:

>I heard (and you may supoort or debunk if you know more) that the bees

>that the europeans brought over with them were so tame that they were

>on the verge of extinction for lack of feistiness, and that the lines

>of the "fierce" colonial bees were added to strengthen them.


Having kept bees, and done a certain amount of research, ...


My information is that there were no colonial, hive-building,

honeybees in the Western Hemisphere before the Europeans brought

them in.  Some Native American language, I'm told, renders "bee"

as "white man's fly."


Now, it can generally be stated about honeybees that the more

aggressive they are, the more honey they'll produce.  This holds

up whether you're talking about European vs. African bees, or one

strain versus another, or even just one colony compared to another:

a really belligerent hive of bees is a pain, because they'll be

likelier to attack you just on general principle, but they'll

also be productive and you have to decide whether it's worth it.


The African strain of _Apis mellifera_ is much more belligerent

than the European one.  If you merely walk by, umpteen yards from

their hive, they will send out several hundred workers to sting

you first and ask questions later.


This is why they're called "killers."  Any given Africanized bee

is no more venomous than any given, say, Italian worker.  But an

Italian colony won't try to sting you to death unless you give

them reasonable cause.


Now, a while back an apiarist in Brazil imported some African

bees and started breeding them into his stock, knowing full well

how aggressive they were: that was the idea; he wanted a more

productive strain.  The hybridized bees liked South America just

fine; they started spreading outwards through South America and

northwards into Central America, and because they were so

aggressive they could take the turf away from the more reasonable

European bees.  They're now making their way into the southern US.


Now, there's one joker in the deck.  When it gets cold--like in a

European winter--the bee colony has to keep warm or perish.  The

European bees have a technique whereby they all get together in

the center of the hive, huddle together and shiver to keep warm

till spring.  The Africanized bees don't have this strategy.  If

a colony of Africanized bees gets hit by a cold snap, they'll die.

So if you live in a place where it snows in the winter, you

have very little to worry about.  Even here in the Bay Area,

noted for the mildness of its climate, I'm not seriously worried

about Africanized bees getting more than a toehold, because at

least every few winters we'll get a cold snap that will reliably

kill them.


The problem is that the southeastern US, where it's warm enough

that they can settle in, is where most commercial bee breeders

are located--because it's warm and they can maintain colonies

more easily there.  Commercial apiarists generally re-queen every

spring, to keep their strains standard (and their colonies

healthy). Even if you live in Minnesota, if you order in queens

from Georgia (e.g.) and some Africanized genes have crept into

your breeder's stock, you'll have very aggressive bees this

summer--*and* then they'll die over the winter and you'll have to

start fresh in the spring.  I don't know what the breeders are

doing to try to keep their strains pure--don't forget that

honeybees mate in mid-air, and I don't believe they've developed

artificial insemination techniques for them--but they'd better

think of something.


Dorothea of Caer-Myrddin                Dorothy J. Heydt

Mists/Mists/West                        UC Berkeley

Argent, a cross forme'e sable           djheydt at uclink.berkeley.edu




[Submitted by: Donna Hrynkiw <donna at Kwantlen.BC.CA>]

Date: Thu, 27 Mar 1997 23:24:03 -0800 (PST)

From: Thomas Snelson <ruadhan at rocketmail.com>

To: steps at antir.sca.org

Subject: FWD Period Beekeeping (long)


After requesting info on period beekeeping I received this wonderful

response and was asked to post it to the Steppes.


I look forward to corresponding with other bee loving individuals in

the future.


Greetings Ruadhan O'Duinn from Bronwen Elgars


I have been asked to respond to your request for information about

period beekeeping.  I do not have a huge amount to relay to you, but

some good places to start at least.


First, there are two pieces in Tournaments Illuminated, (one is mine,

and is more about honey than anything else) check the bibliographies included

in these pieces.


They are:

Fall 1993 - "The Use of Bees and the Practice of Beekeeping in Medieval

Times" by Ross Eddington (Elliot Ashenstaff)


Summer 1996 - "Treatise on the History of Honey in Medieval Eurasia" by

Terri A. Morrison (Bronwen Elgars)


Next, I would send you looking on the Web for IBRA - International Bee

Research Association.  They have *everything* there is that's available for

reading. A lot of it is more proof that beekeeping was being practiced

than actual methods.


Of special note are:

"Survey of A Thousand Years of Beekeeping in Russia" by Dorothy Galton -

Huge efforts in the Northern Forest areas in Tree beekeeping noticable in

about 6th thru 12th century and the movement of the WAX trade(my

personas time and place)


"John Evelyn's Manuscript on Bees" from Elysium Britannicum edited by D.A.

Smith Bee Research Association 1966 - John Evelyn lived from 1620 to

1706 and was an English Diarist interested in gardening.


"The Archaeology of Beekeeping" by Dr. Eva Crane - Dr. Crane's work is

extensive, she being the president of the Bee Research Association for

many years.  She has produced many, many books on the history of bees and

honey. I think that this book is the most comprehensive piece of work.


There are so many other books available (check the bibliographies in the

books listed above).  You can order most thru your library. I bought the

three books listed above from IBRA, using a credit card as they come from

England and have to be charged at the current currency transfer rate of

pounds to dollars (or whatever their money system is).  The books came in

about 3 weeks after ordering.  IBRA's catalog of books and their order

form is on their Web Site.


Another piece, of major interest to me (but I expect of little interest to

you) is "Mad Honey - Bees and the Baneful Rhododendron" by Adrienne Mayor in

the Nov/Dec 1995 edition of Archaeology Magazine - fascinating piece on

toxic honey. It's what really got me interested in the subject.


One more thing - I have corresponded with a gentleman on the other side of

the continent who is a Keeper - here are some of the notes


Date: Wed, 8 May 96 14:43:10 UT

From: "James Rossé II" <JRosse at msn.com>

To: "Terri A. Morrison" <norseman at televar.com>

Subject: beekeeping


From:   Terri A. Morrison

Sent:   Monday, May 06, 1996 11:31 PM

To:     James Rossé II

Subject:        (no subject)


Hi, my name is Bronwen and I live in The Shire of Ambergard in the Kingdom of

AnTir. I read in Ethereal Rolls that you have an interest in

beekeeping. I am in the midst of researching the history of honey.

Got any advise or interesting discussion concerning the subject?


advice 1- don't wear bug repellent or use perfume around them.

         i watched my mother get bit up pretty good when i was

         working the bees because she was wearing bug repellent.  i only wash

         with ivory soap for a while before working the bees, and i don't use

         shampoo, because you don't want to smell different than the smoke you



advice 2- don't try to use a skep to keep bees in.  you can't keep the queen

         separate, and you are more likely to get a fungal problem.  I want to

         build a skep someday, or buy one, when i have time, and use it to

         teach SCAdians about medieval honey, but i would never use one.


advice 3- read the book by Aebis.  i don't have it handy right now, i have

         a copy, and it's worth it.  shows you how to get some serious honey

         production without a lot of work.


advice 4- never use a shopvac to empty your hive.


I have more, but i'll let you work on these.





Date: Fri, 10 May 96 06:26:52 UT

From: "James Rossé II" <JRosse at msn.com>

To: "morrison" <norseman at televar.com>

Subject: RE: beekeeping


From:   morrison

Sent:   Friday, May 10, 1996 12:03 AM

To:     James Rossé II

Subject: Re: beekeeping


>>advice 1-      don't wear bug repellent or use perfume around them.

>>i only wash with ivory soap for a while


>How long is awhile?


awhile depends on how much i'm going to work with the bees.  i tend to use

unscented stuff anyway, because i prefer it.  the bug repellent thing i'm

serious about, because the only time my mother was ever bitten was when she

was working in the garden wearing bug-repellent, and they came after her.  i

recommend at least a week, because insect noses are still better than



>> before working the bees, and i don't use shampoo, because you don't want to

>> smell different than the smoke you use.


>So I guess this means you need to be pretty careful with

>deodorants too?


i use old spice stick deodorants because i work in a suit these days.

however, like i said, i try not to wear anything when i have to work

the bees.


       The book I am most interested in reading right now is Dorothy

Galton's "Survey of a Thousand Years of Beekeeping in Russia", 1971. I have

ordered it thru our library system and am now waiting for it to be



aebis' work is not historical, but it tells you how to live with bees. please

think about this.  "how to live with bees".  not "bees for fun and profit",

not "how to make money off bees", not "how to make a living from beekeeping".

"how to live with bees".  he talks about how to make your hive[s] successful.

which means a high bee survival rate, and high production.  i started off with

one hive, a tiny thing of bees sent via rail, and we had to go pick it up from

the train station.  there were bees on the outside of the carrier, and we had

to drive the van wearing veils in case of problems.  when the last winter hit

and killed them [no spring thaw, nothing we could do about it], we had only

seven hives, because we are very careful not to let them split.  we didn't

cultivate them like we could have, and each of our hives was producing

over 20 gallons of honey, and we left a lot for the bees.


My husband Ed and I are trying to develop persona's from 9th or 10th

century, norse, iceland, russia, byzantine who are involved in forest

beekeeping, and the trade of honey and beeswax.  My husband took classes on

beekeeping in high school, but I really do not know how much he remembers.  We

have a few friends and co-workers who are modern beekeepers, and we have been

talking about how it might be for us to manage "one" swarm of our own. Alot

of learning needs to be done before we attempt something like that. But the

book study of it, really is fascinating and has made me more aware of what is

going on in the bees world and I'm really beginning to become fond of them.  I

think we will be getting involved in honey harvest at the end of the summer

with two or three of the professional keepers that we know.


       Do you wear protective garments when working with the bees. Are

these garments period?  Do you know what they used to wear?


the garments i wear are probably not period.  i have seen illustrations of bee

veils, but i have not looked into the issue much, because i have no intention

of using period equipment because of my fear of equipment failure, and

having a face full of bees at the wrong time.


Strong personal body odor cause the bees to be angry?  How do you

think our ancestors ridded themselves of their body odors?


For starters, they probably smelled a lot more like smoke than we do, all the

time. another thing is that when they raided, i don't think that they

cared about bee survival as much.


Do you not use shampoo, or do you wash your hair with ivory soap too. Does it

help to be around smoke for a couple of days to really get the smell

(of the smoke) into your hair?


i just worry about the smoke smell when i am doing the work.  i even sing to

the bees...dumb song...."i'm a little puff of smoke" and i "think smoke

thoughts", just to be on the safe side.


       Have you ever thought about writing for Compleat Anachronist?

I think a beekeeping issue would be soooooooo cool.


I've thought about it, but work has me very busy right now, and i'm not

prepared to write a good coverage of it.  i've been thinking about it,

but I don't know how in-depth i'll need to be.


       Why shouldn't you use a vac to clean out your hive?


Because it kills *all* the bees in your hive.  Professionals do it because

buying new hives is the cost of doing business.  I won't abide by it.







I hope that you can get some sense out of that.  I would encourage you to

correspond with Hawk and myself.  There are not many of us out there that

are interested in this profession.  I still think that a beekeeping issue of

The Compleat Anachronist is needed and perhaps as we all three get further

into research, we could collaborate our different interests and write



I am not on the Cathedral Steps and feel bad that our correspondence can not

go thru that route.  If you can get it back there for others to read,

that would be really great.


Good luck on this fascinating search for information and your

re-creation of period craft.


I am yours in Service

Bronwen Elgars



From: Baaastard at aol.com

Date: Thu, 22 May 1997 00:14:23 -0400 (EDT)

Subject: Re: SC - honey vs. sugar




I am not very informed about the sugar question, so I'll leave that to

someone else.


However, as far as honey is concerned, the bees can live in any of the

regions you mentioned.  As far as it goes, honey bees are differentiated to a

large degree(from the perspective of the beekeeper, not scientists) based

upon temperament.  Bees from the northern regions tend to be nicer, less

irritable. Italian bees are the standard bee kept in this country and to a

large extent, around the world.  They have the gentlest temperament.

Caucasian bees, originating in Eastern block countries are also relatively

friendly to the beekeeper.  German bees are not so nice.  


On the other hand, southern bees(Africa, Middleast) are downright mean.  Some

breeds will start stinging you if you walk within 40 yards of the hive.  They

are very difficult to raise; they require a beekeeper who is highly resistant

to pain.  I don't have sources for this, but I know that bees were kept in

the Middleast in hives that were essentially clay pots turned sideways.

African bees have not been domesticated.  If you want the honey you chop off

pieces of the hive and pay the price for it.


This may be erroneous, but my guess would be, bees were kept much more

extensively in the north because it was a less harmful profession in those

areas. One person could deal with more hives.


I hope this helped.

Michael Farrell



From: Stephen Bloch <sbloch at adl15.adelphi.edu>

Date: Fri, 23 May 1997 21:15:38 -0400 (EDT)

Subject: Re: SC - honey vs. sugar


Michael Farrell wrote:

> ... southern bees(Africa, Middleast) are downright mean.  Some

> breeds will start stinging you if you walk within 40 yards of the hive.  They

> are very difficult to raise; they require a beekeeper who is highly resistant

> to pain.  I don't have sources for this, but I know that bees were kept in

> the Middleast in hives that were essentially clay pots turned sideways.

> African bees have not been domesticated.  If you want the honey you chop off

> pieces of the hive and pay the price for it.


Some time in the last year, _Aramco World_ published a fascinating

(cover, I think) article on beekeeping in the Arabian peninsula.

Apparently there are varieties of honey that they refuse to sell for

export, and domestically they go for hundreds of dollars a pound.

Anyway, there's also some discussion of hives, swarming, and practical

stuff like that.

                                      mar-Joshua ibn-Eleazar ha-Shalib

                                                Stephen Bloch

                                          sbloch at panther.adelphi.edu


                                       Math/CS Dept, Adelphi University



From: Baaastard at aol.com

Date: Mon, 26 May 1997 16:12:23 -0400 (EDT)

Subject: Re: SC - Honey


Pollen is the bees resource for protein.  Honey is their sugar.  The muture

bees utilize very little protein.  The only time in their lifecycle that they

need it in significant quantities is when they are larval.  The mature bees

consume honey primarily, they are very active and need lots of energy.


Michael Farrell



From: "Ellen Anglin" <anglin at mi.verio.com>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: "Period" Honey available for brewing or cooking

Date: Thu, 9 Sep 1999 14:01:25 -0700


    I am a hobbyist beekeeper, and this year I finally produced some honey

using period methods. (No modern hive, no centrifugal extraction)

I have 40 pounds of mixed wildflower honey that was produced by bees living

in a natural cavity hive. (A Top bar hive- Skeps, tho period, are not legal

due to impossibility of inspecting for disease.)


    The naturally built combs were harvested by hand, and the honey was

separated from the wax by crushing and straining, just as it was done in



    What is not period about this honey-

        1. The bees were not sulfured and killed to harvest the honey.

The hive is alive and well and ready for winter.

        2. The honey is free from bits of brood (Baby bees)  In period,

honey was scooped out of the skep, and as it was harvested some of the brood

was often collected also.  (The presence of this protein is necessary for

the production of some beverages.)  This is clean honey.

    3. The mix of wildflowers is American (Michigan), not European.


Other than this, this honey was produced much the same way as period honey


    Anyone out there looking to make some totally authentic A&S entries?

Drop me a line if you would be interested in buying some, or would like more



Mistress Elen Greenhand

Riding of Hawkland Moor

Barony of the Northwoods



From: quester at sjm.infi.net (Harold Groot)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: "Period" Honey available for brewing or cooking

Date: Fri, 10 Sep 1999 01:38:05 GMT


On Thu, 9 Sep 1999 14:01:25 -0700, "Ellen Anglin" <anglin at mi.verio.com> wrote:


>    What is not period about this honey-

>        1. The bees were not sulfured and killed to harvest the honey.

>The hive is alive and well and ready for winter.

>        2. The honey is free from bits of brood (Baby bees)  In period,

>honey was scooped out of the skep, and as it was harvested some of the brood

>was often collected also.  (The presence of this protein is necessary for

>the production of some beverages.)  This is clean honey.

>    3. The mix of wildflowers is American (Michigan), not European.

>Other than this, this honey was produced much the same way as period honey



I seem to recall from a documentary that the common honeybees we now

have were the result of extensive and deliberate crossbreeding between

bees from northern Europe (Great Britain?) and several bee strains

from the Middle East and northern Africa.


Of course, I am not an expert on this and have no documentation handy,

but this is another area to look at for just how period the final

product is.  


Still, since the selection in crossbreeding was to both increase

quantities and have bees that did not get excited too easily, the

honey itself may well be very close.



From: lordxbrew2 at aol.com (LordXBrew2)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: "Period" Honey available for brewing or cooking

Date: 12 Sep 1999 04:50:59 GMT


Respond to Xaviar_the_eccentric at yahoo.com


I think we are getting a bit carried away with periodness.  None of these

factors (except the flowers) will affect the taste of the honey or the final

product, Well I forget the presence of bee parts But dont forget that you

always boil and strain the honey..  If you start with any raw honey, that is

unprocessed, I think you will get the very same end product.


I have still yet to see a period recipe for meads.  Digby though very useful is

out of our period...that is Pre 17th cent.   And Cindy Renfrow who's research

is wonderful, will only release non period recipes and then say  buy her book.

Sorry dont have the spare cash at the moment. And please dont bring up the the

1650 arguement again it is tiresome.


Xaviar   who has brewed many batches from raw honey cooked in cast iron over

open flames brewed in wood starting the batch with the yeast from an already

brewing batch of beer and found the final mead to be unpalatable for almost a

year while it aged.  Pass on period, will stick to the ways I konw that laurel

brewers use....

nuff said...




From: "Rev. Mike Martin" <mmartin139 at home.com>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: beekeeping

Date: Fri, 21 Dec 2001 18:11:07 GMT


Cynthia Virtue wrote:

> > If your neighbors object, will you still install the hive?

> If I were considering it, I probably would.


> Firstly, the various bee diseases have pretty much wiped out non-farmed

> (wild) bees, so the choice we have is local bees vs. no bees to

> pollinate trees, flowers, and crops.


> Secondly, although the bees come and go, it's not like the effect of a

> swamp full of mosquitos -- aside from the area immediately around the

> hive, I think most people wouldn't notice an increase in the local bee

> population.


> cv


Several things will make this a more pleasent operation for neighbors.


Make SURE your bees have water close at hand BEFORE you install them.

If they get to collecting water from the neighbors birdbath they will

keep doing so even when water you put out is closer.


If you have a high privacy fence or shrubbery or something that makes

the bees fly higher to get out of your "yard" then they will mostly fly

above your neighbors and they won't ever even see them, much less get

stung by them.


It's always a better option to feel the neighbors out and see if they

would object BEFORE you put the bees in, smoothing ruffled feathers

after the fact won't do you any good but a little education before hand

and some honey might make it a way more pleasent operation.





From: "Rev. Mike Martin" <ld_hrothgar at yahoo.com>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: beekeeping

Date: Sat, 22 Dec 2001 02:36:54 GMT


RoxyGreenstreet wrote:


>      I want something called an English Garden beehive.  It is a smaller hive,

> developed for, well, uh, an English Garden....you know, long and narrow behind

> a 'town house' type unit, usually located in a suburban area.  The VDAC  rep

> recommended this unit to me because I want to run a small bee yard and I

> greatly desire a low profile unit.



Those commercial "English Gardner" hives you see in some catalogs are a

huge ripoff IMHO. I think you'd be better off looking into Top Bar

Hives. They are legal in the USA (Movable frames so you can inspect for

disease) and "low profile" in that they don't look like the traditional

Langstroth hives and most people think of two things when you talk

"beehive", either a Skep (illegal because you can't inspect em for

disease) or the Langstroth boxes...


In addition, you get more wax out of a TBH over a Langstroth hive and

you can work with FAR less tools (No need for uncappers and extractors

and big ticket items like that). ;) It's also a period concept if not

exact design.


>      I am interested in reading your experiences as a beekeeper over the last

> year, Hrothgar.  Are you in a suburban area? Do you have your hive(s) fenced

> in?  Are you seeing Varrosea Mites or other sorts of infestation?


I'm in a rural area that has become more and more suburban over the

last decade (don't get me started on how much this annoys me) and I DID

have two hives here for a while but my neighbor (who is married to a

relative) got pissy. Since she doesn't own the property (she rents it

from another relative), I probably could have kept them here but it

wasn't worth the strife it would have caused with her so I moved them.


Currently I have two outyards, both 40 miles away (one east and one

west, don't do this to yourself! I'm moving mine come spring) and two of

them (the west yard) died out due to varroa last winter. The other two

are on property I don't have access to at the moment but I'm almost sure

those have died out.


I'll be re-starting come spring with the two hives in the west yard at

least and maybe two more besides that... depends on how much expendable

cash I have when it's time to buy splits. ;)


> May your threads never tangle,

> Roxanne Greenstreet


How funny... did you know I spin and weave also? ;) It's an addiction.



(Oh BTW, the reason I think those fancy hives are a ripoff is they run

over $100 bucks for a brood chamber, their hard to expand with supers,

and you can MAKE a TBH so much easier for almost nothing with basic

carpentry skills...)


Rev. Mike Martin    Lord Hrothgar the Smith



From: "Rev. Mike Martin" <ld_hrothgar at yahoo.com>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: beekeeping

Date: Thu, 27 Dec 2001 15:42:06 GMT


Ghelena661 wrote:

>      I am very interested in getting instructions for the top bar hive.  I had

> intended to build a hive instead of ordering one.


There are several good places to find info online about them

(oftentimes however, your local Beekeepers are a great source as well).


Check out part of my website(sadly in need of an overhaul but I think

most of these links still work) at



>      I cannot install a stocade fence due to a number of reasons.  Many trees

> would have to come down.  I have a metal fence.  I will be building a cage

> around the garden section to prevent small children and animals from being

> able to actually approach the hive and touch it.


Sounds like that will be fine.

>  My only concern (I discussed with VDAC) is that children might tamper with

> the hive.  As in "I double dog dare you to kick the beehive"  He answered that

> they will only do it once......VDAC advised me that while I am liable for what


*GRIN* Yeah.. half a dozen stings will make you not want to ever do

that again. You might consider putting a sign nearby (a small one) that

says something like "Kicking this box could be bad..." ;)



> keepers (one of which is the Norfolk Zoo) and my bees will not be large in

> number as I do not intend to run a large bee yard.  VDAC is of the opinion



You should consider keeping two hives, in case your Queen dies or

something you have another hive to "rob" brood from and keep the first

hive alive until you can get a replacement.


>      Hrothgar, did you attempt to treat your bees for mites or did the

> affliction come on too suddenly?


I treated on a standard schedule (Medication for beehives is something

of a full time deal... you don't wait for the problem and then treat or

it's too late already) but I wasn't able to take as good care of them as

I would have liked as they were so far away. I believe the first hive

died out because they were running out of room (I needed to add supers

but got there late...) and the population dropped enough that the mite

load killed them. The second hive robbed the first hive of all their

honey as soon as the first hive died down enough to not be able to keep

them out, and picked up a heavy mite load from that box... but I'm not

sure exactly.




Rev. Mike Martin    Lord Hrothgar the Smith



From: Maraha Tsigane <UrcheonBleu at copper.net>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: beekeeping

Date: Sun, 30 Dec 2001 17:02:35 -0500


Ghelena661 wrote:

>      Due to the nature of some of the neighborhood children, I am going to

> stake my hive into the ground so that it cannot be simply flipped over, nor

> will it blow over in hurricane season.  Due also to the various 4 year old

> children who play without adult supervision in this neighborhood I will

> construct a cage only a tall person with pliers can access.  I may also

> install a small lock on the hive roof.

Although their honey production is not high, you can obtain stingless

and low aggression bee strains, if you want to maximize safety.

However, even common strains are relatively benign. As children, my sibs

and I put water on our fingers for incoming bees to drink.  While it

worried Mom, we were never stung.  Of course, we did this primarily in

hot summer afternoons, when the hive was busiest (and thirstiest).  At

such times, the cloud of bees is impressive, but not dangerous if you

avoid significantly blocking their way.


Most of the danger to the hive will be during rainy weather or night,

when the hive is mostly dormant.  This coincides with times teenagers

(and other destructive animals) are out.


My father finally moved his 2-3 hives to the roof of our (detached)

garage after vandals destroyed one.  The site is partially shaded and

gave the bees a clear path over adjacent yards (at the time, we lived

just east of Columbus, OH).


Unfortunately, it is very difficult to secure a hive without making it

difficult for both you and the bees to work with. I believe you can get

a locking rod which would pass through exterior brackets in the hive

sections, locking them together without impeding ventilation or passage.



Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2005 14:50:55 -0500

From: Johnna Holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Bees and Honey

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


There were some recent discussions here on bees and honey in America.

It turns out that there are two new works being published on the topic

of bees and honey.


Sweetness and Light. The Mysterious History of the Honeybee by

Hattie Ellis. Harmony. ISBN: 1-4000-5405-2  $23.


Bees in America. How the Honey Bee Shaped a Nation by Tammy Horn.

University of Kentucky Press,  ISBN:  0-8131-2350-X    $27.50


Both are due in March 2005.





Date: Sun, 10 Aug 2008 23:05:51 -0400

From: Johnna Holloway <johnnae at mac.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] weird question - honey fast???

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


<<< Please enlighten me I cannot not figure how anyone one can fathom

honey as a meat product.

Suey >>>


Ok I hit Google Books this evening and came across a couple of unusual

documents buried in that vast archive of stuff.


From Senate Documents, Otherwise Publ. as Public Documents and Executive

Documents: 14th Congress, 1st Session-48th Congress, 2nd Session and

Special Session

By United States Congress. Senate

Published by , 1856

Original from Oxford University

Digitized Dec 7, 2006







The rearing of bees is extensively carried on in the several parts

of European Russia, particularly in the central and southern governments,

as well as in the Polish and in the trans-Caucasian provinces.

This insect acclimatises up to a very high latitude, even in Siberia.

It was long thought that the climate of the latter country

was utterly unsuitable for the rearing of bees ; but experiments made

at the commencement of the present century in the governments of

Tomsk, Omsk, and Jenisseisk have proved the contrary. It has

greatly suffered, however, in some provinces, from the destruction of

the forests; for the bee prefers well wooded districts, where it is


from the wind. The honey procured from the linden tree (

Tilia eurapced) is only obtained at the little town of Kowno, on the

river Niemen, in Lithuania, which is surrounded by an extensive forest

of these trees, and where the rearing occupies the principal attention

of the inhabitants. The Jews of Poland furnish a close imitation

of this honey, by bleaching the common kinds in the open air

during frosty weather.

The ceremonies of the Greek church, requiring a large consumption

of wax candles, greatly favor this branch of rural economy in

Russia, and preserve it from the decline to which it is exposed in

other countries, from the increasing use of stearine, oil, gas, and other

fluids for illuminating purposes. The peasants produce wax so

cheaply that, notwithstanding the consumption of this article has

greatly diminished abroad, it still continues to form an important

item of the commerce of the country ; but the exportation of honey

has considerably increased in consequence of the extended use of potato

syrup, which has also injured the honey trade in the interior.

The rearing of bees is now almost exclusively dependent on the

manufacture of candles for religious ceremonies, and on the consumption

of honey during Lent, it being then used instead of sugar, by the

strict observers of the fasts. The government encourages this branch

of rural industry, as affording to the peasant an extra source of income,

and has adopted various measures for the accomplishment of

this end. With the view of diffusing the requisite knowledge among

the people of the public domains, bee-hives, and a course of practical

instruction upon the subject of bee-culture, have been established at

several of the crown farms, and pupils are sent every year, at the expense

of the government, to the special school in Tschernigow,

founded for the purpose, in 1828.


See also

Commentaries on the Productive Forces of Russia

By Ludwik Te;goborski

Published by Longman, Brown, Green and Longmans, 1855

Original from the University of Michigan

Digitized Aug 4, 2006


So here we have honey being used instead of sugar during Lent in the

19th century; perhaps this is just the Eastern Orthodox Church. An Egg At Easter mentions that prior to the Revolution, the Russians ate only vegetables, honey, fruit, and bread during Lent.

The Domostroi also indicates that they ate honey during Lent.





Date: Mon, 11 Aug 2008 21:30:09 -0500

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] weird question - honey fast???

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


<<< addressing the fact that bees _are_  animals, a point which has been

mentioned repeatedly by several people  here. The reader must conclude you

are either unaware of this fact  (which seems unlikely) or are positing

that medieval Europeans were  unaware of it (which is more likely, but

still not definite


Adamantius >>>


Aristotle, Pliny and Dioscorides refer to bees as animals, IIRC.  Their

works contain a number of very solid observations and a number of errors of

interpretation. The probability that Medieval Europeans did not consider

bees animals is rather low in my opinion.





Date: Mon, 11 Aug 2008 19:36:05 -0700

From: "Laura C. Minnick" <lcm at jeffnet.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] weird question - honey fast???

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


Terry Decker wrote:

<<< Aristotle, Pliny and Dioscorides refer to bees as animals, IIRC.  

Their works contain a number of very solid observations and a number

of errors of interpretation.  The probability that Medieval Europeans

did not consider bees animals is rather low in my opinion.


Bear >>>


I found that in most of the bestiaries, bees are grouped with birds. The

bestiaries are not known for accuracy, however. ;-)





From: Hroller McKnutt <hroller at GMAIL.COM>

Date: January 27, 2010 4:05:32 PM CST

To: CALONTIR at listserv.unl.edu

Subject: [CALONTIR] Sweet!


Beehives ;)





(bottom right corner, click to zoom)


Nullo edactore ligni, consilium cedet. - HRM Calontir



Date: Wed, 12 May 2010 12:42:26 -0600

From: Susan Lin <susanrlin at gmail.com>

To: yaini0625 at yahoo.com, Cooks within the SCA

        <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] History of Honey and Bee Keeping


I don't know what kind of historical information they have but you can try

www.glorybeefoods.com - they sell bee keeping stuff (and lots of other

stuff). It's where we get some of our soap/lotion making supplies.





Date: Wed, 12 May 2010 12:22:59 -0700 (PDT)

From: wheezul at canby.com

To: yaini0625 at yahoo.com, "Cooks within the SCA"

        <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] History of Honey and Bee Keeping


This book has provided me with many recent hours of fascination.  It is a

lengthy farm/husbandry manual with medical information as well.  There are

instructions for bee-keeping starting on page 308 of the downloadable pdf.

Now that I know you are looking for information, I'll keep my eyes open

for beekeeping info in my short-attention-span-theater peregrinations.


Details from the Bavarian State Library:


Crescentiis, Petrus de: Von dem nutz der ding die in ?ckeren gebuwt

werden, Stra?burg, 1518 [VD16 P 1835]



The specific pages:





Also if Eduardo is scanning, vinegar making is on pages 116-117




For others, there are lists of vegetables, fruits, grains and how to

plant, care for them and harvest information.  So far as I have looked

(and that's not very far) there is also a 1512 version with some different






Date: Fri, 2 Jul 2010 14:48:49 -0400

From: Elaine Koogler <kiridono at gmail.com>

To: yaini0625 at yahoo.com, Cooks within the SCA

        <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Malvasia (Malmsey) and Rheinfal


<<< Anyone done one [a Compleat Anachronist] on bees?

Aelina >>>


In the CA on mead, there is a section on bees and honey and their history.

You can find it to purchase a copy at http://www.sca.org/ca/issues.html





To: gleannabhann at yahoogroups.com

Subject: If you are interested in beekeeping...

Posted by: "mlaf" mlaf at sbcglobal.net

Date: Tue May 31, 2011 9:15 pm ((PDT))


then you might want to pick up the latest copy of GRIT.  This months issue is all about bee keeping.  It gives plans for building hives, talks about things you need to know, and gives recipies - including a basic how to make mead....


And if anyone wants to keep bees, but doesn't have a place, let's talk...





To: gleannabhann at yahoogroups.com

Subject: beekeeping...

Posted by: "Barbara Sterling" barbara at unclejohns.com bbaroness

Date: Wed Jun 1, 2011 9:35 am ((PDT))


GRIT Magazine: Celebrating Rural America Since 1882.


On 6/1/2011 8:43:57 AM, Eowyn Cenek (eowyn.cenek at gmail.com) wrote:

For further clarification, what is GRIT?




On Wed, Jun 1, 2011 at 10:04 AM, Margaret Plunk <margaretplunk at gmail. com> wrote:

For clarification, it's not the regular issue, it's the supplementary issue.


Margaret Anne Plunk



To: scanewcomers at yahoogroups.com

Subject: Re: bee keeping

Posted by: "Justinos Tekton called Justin" justin at 4th.com courtney4thcom

Date: Wed Jun 15, 2011 12:45 pm ((PDT))


On Wed, 2011-06-15 at 06:07 -0700, Lori Widener wrote:

<<< Does anyone know someone whose persona includes bee keeping?  I have a

newcomer who is intested in it. I gave her the articles from the Florilegium.

I think she is working on a 13th century English persona.  Thank you for the

assistance. >>>


Hi, I'm Justin from the Middle Kingdom, northeastern Ohio modernly.


Not only am *I* a beekeeper in the SCA, but we have an entire group of

us in our shire. There's also a very active beekeeping community that

meets at Pennsic each year at a "Beekeepers' Soiree'" organized by a

member of my household.


You're welcome to give my email address to your acquaintance so she can

contact me off-list.


She should also check out this Yahoo group:





Maistor Justinos Tekton called Justin (Scott Courtney)



Date: Sun, 9 Mar 2014 22:57:20 -0500

From: "TerryDecker" <t.d.decker at att.net>

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] the Melipone bee, vanilla


Yes, Melipona bees do produce honey.  While there are numerous species

worldwide, most are found in the tropics.  The particular species that

pollinate vanilla are only found in Mexico.


Many bees produce honey, but only the species that form colonies are of use

to humans.  The European honeybee (Apis mellifera) is a prolific producer of

honey and it flourishes in temperate climates, but it is not the only

producer of honey.  Central and South America, Africa and Australia all had

honey before the Europeans arrived, but the evidence suggests it was

gathered from the wild rather than farmed.


To my knowledge, the Meliponini are nor subject to Colony collapse disorder.




-----Original Message-----

Bear commented:

<<< Linnaeus and his attempt to grow vanilla is immaterial to the early dating of vanilla in Sweden as he is 18th Century.   He failed because natural pollination of vanilla is by the Melipone bee which is only found in Mexico. >>>


Did/does this bee produce honey?


I think we've discussed that honeybees were an European import to the New

World, and I classify honey as an Old World food when I run the NW/OW game.


Os this bee also subject to a die-off as other bees currently are?





Date: Mon, 10 Mar 2014 19:18:28 -0700

From: Wanda Pease <wandap at hevanet.com>

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] the Melipone bee, vanilla


According to the series Tudor Monastery Farm they were using the common British or German Black Bee, Apis mellifera mellifera for honey prior to the importation of the Mediterranean golden bee.  


Even now the bee keepers of England and Wales are working on bringing back into prominence these old style bees that were once feared extinct.  They give good honey and require less to see them thru the winter.  Work at cross breeding to keep the hardiness of the old strain continues because the Americas aren't the only places where hive collapse is being noted.  Www.bees.me.uk  




<the end>

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Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org