The Queen Latifah

Jan 01, 2022

The Queen Latifah is inspired by a hive described on page 122 of the book by C. Locqueville, ‘Ruches Refuges’. The hive is called ‘ruche en Roseaux’ which was used in Spain for centuries.

The diameter of the basket is 35 cm at the base and at the top, it is slightly constricted at the waist.  The brood chamber is 75 cm tall. 10 vertical branches ensure the structure to weave around. As it was my first skep,  I realized that 10 vertical branches did not allow a continuous weaving alternatively in the front and in the back at each round. The count of vertical branches has to be an odd number and not an even number. A sketch of the section of the hive was drawn on a thick layer of styrofoam through which the branches were fixed. The weaving was very easy and took less time than the preparation of the twigs.

The waist constriction is made by tightening the weaving using fine twigs. The hips and shoulders are woven with thicker twigs and do not allow to tighten as much as with the thin twigs.

The basket his primed with pure clay (kaolinite dug on the property), which fills the interstices in between the twigs. The inner wall is a blend of twigs and clay, which is a great support to entice the bees to coat it with propolis. The prime is then covered with yarn to support the second layer.

5 layers of a mix of clay/straw and horse poop are added to complete the external wall of the hive.

The inner roof of the hive is made of a cypress board open in its center by a 6 cm diameter circle, to which Warre bars are fixed. The bees build down from the bars and can access through the opening into an upper octogonal chamber, which can contain frames to the depth of shallow super frames. The opening can also be used to feed the bees in case of dearth with honey preferably to sugar water.

A swarm moved into the queen Latifah end of March 2021.