Glossary of Beekeeping Terms
Beekeeping Glossary – beesource.com
Abdomen: Segmented posterior part of bee containing heart, honey, stomach, intestines, reproductive organs, and sting.Acid board (Fume board): A rimmed hive cover containing a pad of absorbent material into which benzadehyde or butyric anhydride (bee repellents) is poured. Used to remove bees from honey supers.
AHB: Africanized honeybee.
Alighting board: Extended entrance of beehive on which incoming bees land.
American foul brood (AFB): Contagious disease of bee larvae caused by Bacillus larvae.
Antennae: Slender jointed feelers, which bear certain sense organs, on head of insects.
Apiary: Group of bee colonies kept in one location (bee yard).
Apiculture: The science and art of studying and using honey bees for man’s benefit.
Apis: The genus to which the honey bee belongs.
Apis mellifera: Scientific name of the Western honey bee.
Balling a queen: Clustering around unacceptable queen by worker bees to form a tight ball; usually queen dies or is killed in this way.
Bee bread: Pollen stored in cells of the comb and used by bees for food.
Bee dance: Anthropomorphic term for one of several physical maneuvers conducted within a bee colony; ithas very inaccurate correlations relative to a forager’s flight experience in the field (distance and direction of the site visited), but odor on the dancer’s body appears to be the means of communication that recruits use to find the same nectar or pollen source.
Bee escape: Device to let bees pass in only one direction; usually inserted between honey supers and brood chambers, for removal of bees from honey supers.
Beehive: Domicile prepared for colony of honey bees.
Bee space: A space (1/4- to 5/16-inch) big enough to permit free passage for a bee but too small to encourage comb building. Leaving bee space between parallel beeswax combs and between the outer comb and the hive walls is the basic principle of hive construction.
Beeswax: Wax secreted from glands on the underside of bee abdomen; molded by bees to form honeycomb.Bee venom: Poison injected by bee sting.
Bottom board: Floor of beehive.
Boardman feeder: A small, wooden feeder placed at the hive entrance and holding an inverted pint or quart glass jar of sugar syrup. Not recommended.
Brood: Immature or developing stages of bees; includes eggs, larvae (unsealed brood), and pupae (sealed brood).
Brood chamber: The area of the hive where the brood is reared; usually the lowermost hive bodies.
Brood comb: Wax comb from brood chamber of hive containing brood.
Brood nest: Area of hive where bees are densely clustered and brood is reared.
Burr comb: Comb built out of place, between movable frames or between the hive bodies.
Capped brood: Brood (either last larval stage or pupal stage) that has been capped over in its cell.
Capped honey: Cells full of honey, closed or capped with beeswax.
Cappings: Beeswax covering of cells of honey which are removed before extracting.
Castes: The three types of individual bees (workers, drones, and queen) that comprise the adult population of a bee colony.
Carniolan bees: A race of honey bees which originated in the southern part of the Austrian Alps and northern Yugoslavia.
Caucasian bees: A race of honey bees native to the high valleys of the Central Caucasus.
Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD): a phenomenon in which worker bees from a beehive or European honey bee colony abruptly disappear. While such disappearances have occurred throughout the history of apiculture, the term colony collapse disorder was first applied to a drastic rise in the number of disappearances of Western honey bee colonies in North America in late 2006. The cause or causes of the syndrome are not yet fully understood.
Cell: The six-sided compartment of a honeycomb, used to raise brood or to store honey and pollen. Worker cells approximate five to the linear inch, drone cells are larger averaging about four to the linear inch.
Cell cup: Initially constructed base of queen cell; also made artificially for queen rearing.
Checkerboarding: A technique used in the honey super to encourage quicker build-out of comb/honey. Should not be done in a brood nest unless done to prevent swarming – stops queen productivity momentarilyChilled brood: Brood that has died because of chilling. It can be a result of mistreatment of the bees by the beekeeper. It also can be caused by a pesticide hit that primarily kills off the adult population, or by a sudden drop in temperature during rapid spring buildup. The brood must be kept warm at all times; nurse bees will cluster over the brood to keep it at the right temperature. When a beekeeper opens the hive (to inspect, remove honey, check the queen, or just to look) and prevents the nurse bees from clustering on the frame for too long, the brood can become chilled, deforming or even killing some of the bees.
Cleansing flight: Flight bees take after days of confinement, during which they void their feces.
Clipped queen: Queen whose wing (or wings) has been clipped for identification purposes.
Cluster: Loosely, any group of bees that forms a relatively compact aggregation. A winter cluster is composed of all the bees in the colony huddled as closely together as necessary to maintain the required temperature. As the ambient temperature increases, the cluster expands until it loses its identity but it will reappear if the temperature drops.
Colony: Social community of several thousand worker bees, usually containing one queen, with or without drones. (See social insects.)
Comb foundation: Thin sheet of beeswax impressed by mill to form bases of cells; some foundation also is made of plastic and metal.
Comb honey: Honey marketed and eaten in the comb.
Crystallized honey: Honey hardened by formation of dextrose-hydrate crystals. Can be reliquefied by gentle heat.
Dearth: Severe to total lack of availability, usually in reference to nectar and/or pollen.
Division board: Flat board used to separate two colonies or colony into two parts.
Division board feeder: A wooden or plastic trough which is placed in the hive in a frame space to feed the colony honey or sugar syrup.
Drawn comb: Comb having the cells built out (drawn) by honey bees from a sheet of foundation. Cells are about 1/2-inch deep.
Drift: Movement of bees from their original hive into a neighboring hive frequent with drones and surprisingly common with workers.
Drone comb: Comb with about four cells to the inch and in which drones are reared.
Drone congregation area (DCA): an area where many drones from surrounding colonies gather to mate with queens during their nuptial flights.
Drone layer: A queen which lays only unfertilized eggs which always develop into drones. Results from improperly or non-mated queen or an older queen who has run out of sperm.
Dwindling: Rapid or unusual depletion of hive population, usually in the spring.
Dysentery: The discharge of fecal matter by adult bees within the hive. Commonly contributing conditions are nosema disease, excess moisture in the hive, starvation conditions, and low quality food. Tan, brown, or black fecal smears on combs or outside of hive indicate such a problem.
Escape board: Board with one or more bee escapes on it to permit bees to pass one way. Used to empty one or more supers of bees.
Extracted honey: Honey removed from the comb by centrifugal motion (in a special machine called an extractor) and marketed in the liquid form.
Extractor: Machine that rotates honeycombs at sufficient speed to remove honey from them.
Fanning: Worker bees fan the hive by directing airflow into the hive or out of the hive depending on need,sometimes cooling it with evaporated water brought by water carrier bees.
Festoon: A unique cluster of bees that link themselves together by their tarsi (feet) in a loose network between combs in a hive. Normally, these are aggregates of wax-producing bees.
Field bees: Those bees in the hive who are mature enough to fly from the hive on foraging missions; also termed forager bees.
Follower Board: A board anywhere from 3/4′′ to 1/4′′ thick, plywood or other material, cut to the size of yourframes (deep, med or shallow). A simple divider that acts like a movable hive side, allowing you to create any interior size needed.
Food chamber: Hive body containing honey provided particularly for overwintering bees.
Foundation: (See Comb foundation).
Frame: Rectangular, wooden honeycomb supports, suspended by top bars within hive bodies.
Fumagillin: Antibiotic given bees to control nosema disease.
Grafting: The transfer of young larvae from worker cells to queen cups.
Hive: Man-constructed home for bees.
Hive stand: A device that elevates the bottom board up off the ground.
Hive tool: Metal tool for prying supers or frames apart.
Honey: Sweet, viscous fluid elaborated by bees from nectar obtained from plant nectaries, chiefly floral.
Honey bee: Genus Apis, family Apidae, order Hymenoptera.
Honey bound: When the brood nest is bounded or restricted by cells/comb filled with honey.
Honeycomb: Comb built by honey bees with hexagonal back-to-back cells on median midrib.
Honey flow: Period when bees are collecting nectar from plants in plentiful amounts.
Honey house: Building in which honey is extracted and handled.
Honey stomach: (Honey sac) An enlargement of the posterior end of the oesophagus in the bee abdomen. It is the sac in which the bee carries nectar from flower to hive.
Inner cover: A cover used under the standard telescoping cover on a bee hive.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM): is a pest control strategy that uses a variety of complementary strategies including: mechanical devices, physical devices, genetic, biological, cultural management, and chemical management. These methods are done in three stages: prevention, observation, and intervention. It is an ecological approach with a main goal of significantly reducing or eliminating the use of pesticides while at the same time managing pest populations at an acceptable level.
Introducing cage: Small wood and wire cage used to ship queens and also sometimes to release them into the colony.
Italian bees: A race or variety of honey bee which originated in Italy and has become widely dispersed and cross-bred with other races.
Langstroth: A minister from Pennsylvania who patented the first hive incorporating bee space thus providing for removable frames. The modern hive frequently is termed the Langstroth hive and is a simplified version of similar dimensions as patented by Langstroth.
Langstroth frame: 9-1/8- by 17-5/8-inch standard U.S. frame.
Larva: Stage in life of bee between egg and pupa; “grub” stage.
Laying worker: Worker bees which lay non-fertilized eggs producing only drones. They occur in hopelessly queenless colonies. Laying workers will lay multiple eggs per cell, have a spotty brood pattern, eggs laid on the sides of the cell or off center, and drone brood in worker sized cells.
Mandibles: Jaws of insects.
Mating flight: The flight of a virgin queen during which time she mates with one or more drones high in the air away from the apiary. Queens usually mate with 6 to 10 drones on two or more mating flights.
Mead: A wine made with honey. If spices or herbs are added, the wine usually is termed metheglin.
Migratory beekeeping: Movement of apiaries from one area to another to take advantage of honey flows from different crops.
Nectar: A sweet secretion of flowers of various plants, some of which secrete enough to provide excess for the bees to store as honey.
Nosema disease: Disease of bees caused by protozoan spore-forming parasite, Nosema apis.
Nucleus (Nuke, Nuc): A small colony of bees resulting from a colony division. Also, a queen-mating hive used by queen breeders.
Nurse bees: Three-to 10-day-old adult bees that feed the larvae and perform other tasks in the hive.Observation hive: Hive with glass sides so bees can be observed.
Orientation flights: Short orienting flights taken by young bees, usually by large numbers at one time and during warm part of day.
Package bees: A quantity of bees (2 to 5 lb) with or without a queen shipped in a wire and wood cage to start or boost colonies..
Pheromones: Chemicals secreted by animals to convey information or to affect behavior of other animals of the same species. (See queen substance.)
Pollen: Male reproductive cells of flowers collected and used by bees as food for rearing their young. It is the protein part of the diet. Frequently called bee bread when stored in cells in the colony.
Pollen basket: Area on hind leg of bee adapted for carrying pellets of pollen.
Pollen substitute: Mixture of water, sugar, and other material, such as soy flour, brewer’s yeast, etc., used forbee feed.
Pollen supplement: Pollen substitute added to natural pollen in a pollen cake.
Pollen trap: Device which forces bees entering hive to walk through a 5-mesh screen, removing pollen pellets from their legs into a collecting tray.
Pollination: The transfer of pollen from the anthers of a flower to the stigma of that or another flower.Pollinator: The agent which transfers pollen; e.g., a bee.
Proboscis: Mouth parts of bee for sucking up nectar, honey, or water.
Propolis: A glue or resin collected from trees or other plants by bees; used to close holes and cover surfaces in the hive. Also called bee glue.
Pupa: Stage in life of developing bee after larva and before maturity.
Queen: Sexually developed female bee. The mother of all bees in the colony.
Queen cage candy: A special fondant made from Nulomoline, drivert, and glycerine; used to feed queen and attendant bees in queen cages.
Queen cell: Cell in which queen develops.
Queen cup: The beginnings of a queen cell in which the queen may lay a fertile egg to start the rearing ofanother queen.
Queen excluder: Device usually made of wood and wire, with opening 0.163 inch, to permit worker bees to pass through but excludes queens and drones. Used to restrict the queen to certain parts of the hive.
Queenright: A colony of bees with a properly functioning queen.
Queen substance: Pheromone material secreted from glands in the queen bee and transmitted throughout the colony by workers. It makes the workers aware of the presence of a queen.
Race: Populations of bees, originally geographically isolated and somewhat adapted to specific regional conditions.
Ripening: Process whereby bees evaporate moisture from nectar and convert its sucrose to dextrose (glucose) and levulose (fructose), thus changing nectar into honey.
Rendering wax: Melting old combs and wax cappings and removing refuse to partially refine the beeswax. May be put through a wax press as part of the process.
Requeen: To replace a queen in a hive. Usually to replace an old queen with a young one.
Robbing: Bees steal honey from other hives. A common problem when nectar is not available in the field.
Royal jelly: Glandular secretion of young worker bees used to feed the queen and young brood.
Sac brood: A fairly common virus disease of larvae, usually nonfatal to the colony.
Scout bees: Worker bees searching for nectar or other needs including suitable location for a swarm to nest.
Sealed brood: Brood in pupae stage with cells sealed.
SHB: Small Hive Beetle (Aethina tumida). The small hive beetle can be a destructive pest of honey bee colonies, causing damage to comb, stored honey and pollen. If a beetle infestation is sufficiently heavy, they may cause bees to abandon their hive. The beetles can also be a pest of stored combs, and honey (in the
comb) awaiting extraction. Beetle larvae may tunnel through combs of honey, feeding and defecating, causing discoloration and fermentation of the honey.
Smoker: Device used to blow smoke on bees to reduce stinging.
Solar wax melter: Glass-covered box in which wax combs are melted by sun’s rays and wax is recovered incake form.
Sting: Modified ovipositor of female Hymenoptera developed into organ of defense.
Super: A wooden box with frames containing foundation or drawn comb in which honey is to be produced. Named for its position above the brood nest. The same type of box is referred to as a hive body when it is situated below the honey supers and is intended to be used for brood rearing and pollen storage.Supersedure: The replacement of a weak or old queen in a colony by a daughter queen – a natural occurrence.
Surplus honey: A term generally used to indicate an excess amount of honey above that amount needed by the bees to survive the winter. This surplus is usually removed by the beekeeper.
Swarm: Natural division of colony of bees.
Thorax: Middle part of bee.
Tracheae: Breathing tubes of insects.
Uncapping knife: Knife used to remove honey cell caps so honey can be extracted.
Unsealed brood: Brood in egg and larval stages only.
Varroa destructor: An external parasitic mite that attacks honey bees Apis cerana and Apis mellifera.
Veil: Fine mesh material that fastens to a hat and is secured to the upper torso of a beekeeper, protecting the head and neck area from bees.
Virgin queen: Unmated queen.
VSH (Varroa Sensitive Hygiene): USDA ARS scientists Dr. John Harbo and Dr. Jeffrey Harris at the Honey Bee Breeding Laboratory in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, have defined and tested a trait of the honeybee whichappeared to suppress mite reproduction (SMR). Recently it has been better defined as “varroa sensitive hygiene (VSH).” This is a form of behavior where adult bees remove pupae that have reproductive mites but do not disturb pupae that have mites that produce no progeny.
Walk-away split: Frames with eggs and worker bees are removed from a queenright hive and installed into an empty brood chamber or nuc. The bees should create a queen cell out of a suitable egg. Once the queen hatches, successfully mates and returns to the hive, the hive will be queenright. Another option is to remove one complete brood chamber from a hive that has newly laid eggs in it, including bees, and move to a new location for the start of a new hive.
Washboarding: Worker honey bees exhibit a “group” activity known as rocking or washboarding on theinternal and external surfaces of the hive. This behavior is believed to be associated with general cleaning activities but virtually nothing is known as to the age of worker engaged in the behavior, under what circumstances workers washboard and the function of the behavior. Washboarding behavior appears to be age dependant with bees most likely to washboard between 15-25 days of age. Washboarding increases during the day and peaks through the afternoon. Workers may respond to rough texture and washboard more on those surfaces. The function of this behavior remains to be elucidated.
Wax glands: Glands on underside of bee abdomen from which wax is secreted after bee has been gorged with food.
Wax moth: Lepidopterous insect whose larvae destroy wax combs.
Winter cluster: Closely packed colony of bees in winter.
Wired foundation: Foundation with strengthening wires embedded in it.Wired frames: Frames with wires holding sheets of foundation in place.Worker bee: Sexually undeveloped female bee.
Worker comb: Honeycomb with about 25 cells per square inch.Worker egg: Fertilized bee egg.