Sunday, 6 June 2010

Ayrshire, late 1800s.

Mr. J.J.Walker standing by a Stewarton hive at
Kilmaurs, Ayrshire, late 1800s.

The Stewarton hive is one of the most significant 

advances in beekeeping contributed by Scottish
beekeepers. The octagonal storifying boxes, called
'supers', separated the queen bees from the honey 
boxes and produced clean combs of honey within
the hive. This meant it was no longer necessary to 
kill colonies of bees to get to the honey. In the 1920s,
the Isle of Wight bee disease saw many Stewarton
hives destroyed in an effort to check the disease. 
The hives proved expensive to reconstruct and 
thus declined in popularity from this date onwards.

The inventor of the Stewarton Hive was Robert

Kerr, later known as 'Bee Robin', a cabinet maker 
from Stewarton in Ayrshire. After a series of 
experimental hives, Kerr standardised his hive in
1819. Mr.J.J.Walker's father, and then himself
later improved the design, making it the first fully 
effective queen bee excluding hive.

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