Beekeeping videos from the 1930s

The links to three great black and white beekeeping videos from the 1930s were sent to me by a reader. They are from a reel of film that belonged to the North of Scotland College of Agriculture Beekeeping unit. As you will see, except for those hats, not much has changed around the bee yard in all those years.

Please take a few minutes to enjoy the show! Special thanks to Dianne for a great find.






  • Where to start? Have been waiting for comments to follow, so far to no avail. Wonderful films. Have watched and re-watched them.

    Those hives would be expensive to build but look at what they have to offer! Lap sided external design to shed water, peaked roof with overhang to shed water, top vent, moisture quilt(s) and on and on.

    Might prefer a more rot resistant base.

    Most amazing is the dual wall construction which provides exceptional insulation. Wonderful hive design! I for one have never seen this design. I want some. Not least of which is the very inviting covered porch. The ladies may well lounge on the porch while laughing at the rain on a warm day.

    Seriously, it seems an overhang over the entrance may well help keep water away.

    Love the way he casually dumps bees on a ramp to the hive and they march obediently up the ramp and into their new home. Beautiful.

    Do we forget everything we know every 40 years and then have to reinvent it all again over and over?

    Also like the way they secured the hive bodies together for transport as well as the hive moving tools.

    Thank you for the films.

    • I agree with everything you say. I do think it is human nature to “re-invent the wheel” every generation or so. It is easy to think we need new and modern ways since our predecessors didn’t know what they were doing. My husband and I were talking about that this morning in regards to pasteurizing honey. For some reason modern consumers feel the need to “do something” to it, even though nothing was done to it (or because nothing was done to it) in the preceding thousands of years.

      As for comments, I don’t know. The films received lots of traffic and a lot of Twitter comments, but didn’t raise much discussion here on the site. I appreciate your input and I’m going to go back and study those items you mentioned. Maybe I’ll build one. That sounds like fun.

    • You know what really gets me about these films? It’s the last scene of the third film. Something about beekeeping wearing a skirt just doesn’t appeal to me.

  • An author I greatly respect (Daniel Quinn) once said that civilization has “cultural amnesia”. In other words, the world, or at least the one that *really matters*, started just this very generation. Last generation, well — bless their hearts they did try. But what they did wasn’t significant or important or useful, because they didn’t know anything. Or so we think.

    Compare that to “uncivilized” societies around the world that preserve wisdom that is literally hundreds of thousands of years old, and find it incredibly useful. Just because they were doing it in 1930 doesn’t mean it doesn’t work just as well now 🙂 Thanks for the great videos.

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