The importance of beekeeping in colonial times is well documented. Because of the lack of native pollinators, colonists brought "bee skeps" (baskets placed with the open end down) along with apple trees on their journeys to America. Skeps were made from straw, typically with a single entrance at the bottom for the bees.
The straw skeps in the kitchen garden of the Ogden House, the 18th Century farmhouse located at 1520 Bronson Road, represent the importance of beekeeping in the colonies. Bee pollination insured a garden’s productivity — the key to surviving in colonial New England. Apple trees and honeybees (Apis mellifera), used to pollinate the trees, were brought across the Atlantic in the early 1600s so the settlers could make cider. Cider and rum from the West Indies were the colonists’ two sources of drink, as water was considered not potable.