Earlier this year, on March 24, I posted a story about 74-year-old Dutch beekeeper Evert Jan van Tongeren. In that story, Evert Jan shared the history of the Lorsch Bee Blessing, invoked to make swarms return home. He also included some photos of his bee house and the ban mask that wards off evil spirits.
I hadn’t thought much about the post until last week when I received a surprising email from Montana beekeeper Michael Skeels. He wrote:
You know how beekeeping requires a lot of stuff. I had it scattered between two sheds, already full, and my deck. I was thinking about building something specifically for the bees. When I saw the picture of Evert Jan’s house I immediately started planning my own just like it. It took me a little over 6 months but it is finally ready. I will move my 3 hives onto the porch late December.
Old oak vs new pine
Unlike Evert Jan’s bee house, which is built from 200-year-old oak timbers salvaged from an old castle, Michael’s bee house is more modern in origin. “Mine was made with only 1 year old (or less) rough sawn pine from a local mill and lots of recycled products,” he says.
In an interesting twist, I learned that Michael was raised in the north end of Seattle, and he attended The Evergreen State College, near Olympia, for a couple years back when the school first opened. He still vacations here in western Washington, where he enjoys salmon fishing and whale watching. Small world.
The first photo below shows Evert Jan van Tongeren’s original bee house back in the Netherlands. The second photo shows Michael Skeels’ bee house in Montana, which is based on the first photo. Michael is pleased with the outcome and says, “It’s so nice to have everything organized.”
I’m impressed. Pretty good job, don’t you think? I’m ready to put in my order.
Honey Bee Suite