Extract from "The Handy Book Of Bees" A.Pettigrew 1870
Beekeeping before our time
Below is a paragraph I came across written, presumably, when straw was still considered 'best'. (Thomas Hardy writing in 1891 in his story "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" describes how Tess has to drive a cart of bee skeps to market overnight because her father is drunk.) Could it be that dysentry was less of a problem when bee were over wintered in straw?
"Amongst the few distempers of bees, dysentry may be named. It is of very rare occurence; (Editor's italics) but doubtless it is caused by unwholesome food, or a cold damp dwelling house in winter. Damp hives are very destructive of the lives of bees in weak hives during the winter months. Today (January 17th) some of our hives were examined. All were found quite dry save a few that were eked with riddle-rims. Even the hives of these were perfectly dry; but the insides of the wooden ekes were as wet as water could make them. How strange it is that some men will recommend wooden domiciles fro bees!