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Glossary Of Beekeeping Terms

Here is a list of terms likely to be used during beekeeping classes.

Abscond – when the entire colony abandons the hive
Alarm Pheremone – a scent produced by honeybees that alerts other bees that there is danger
American Foul Brood (AFB) – a bacterial infection that is the most serious bee disease for Australian beekeepers
Anaphylaxis – an acute and life threatening reaction to an allergen (e.g. a bee sting)
 – a place where bees are kept
Apiarist – or beekeeper – someone who keeps bees
Apis cerana – latin name used in taxonomy referring to the Asian Honeybee
Apis mellifera – latin term used in taxonomy referring to the European Honeybee
Asian Honeybee (taxanomical name – Apis cerana) – honeybee that occurs in Southern Asia
Bearding – bees clustering on a hive usually near the entrance often in hot weather
Beebread – fermented pollen stored in the hive used to feed brood and the mother bee
Beehive – a container used to house a colony of bees
Beek – commonly used slang abbreviation for beekeeper
Beekeeper – or Apiarist – someone who keeps bees
Bee Milk – liquid food produced by glands of young adult bees fed to larvae and other bees
Bee Space – space in the hive that allows bees on parallel surfaces to pass each other back to back
Bee Tree – a tree inhabited by bees
Bee Vac (aka Bee Vacuum) – a vacuum used to suck up bees usually adapted from a standard vacuum cleaner
Bottom Board – the floor of a beehive
Brace Comb – comb built by bees in between other objects in the hive to fasten them together
Break In Brood Cycle – a period of time when the queen ceases laying eggs
Brood – baby bees – immature bees not yet emerged from their cells – eggs, larvae, or pupae
Brood Ball (aka Brood Nest) – the parts of the comb the bees are using to raise their young
Brood Chamber – the part of the hive that houses the Brood Nest
Brood Cycle – the time it takes for a worker egg to mature into an adult bee, about three weeks
Brood Food – a mixture of Bee Milk and regurgitated nectar fed to worker and drone larvae by young adult bees
Brood Nest (aka Brood Ball) – the parts of the comb the bees are using to raise their young
Burr Comb – comb built by bees outside of where the beekeeper wants it to be built
Capped Brood – immature bees who’s cells are sealed
Capping – a wax cover applied by the bees to encase either brood or honey
Caste – the tree types of bees that populate a honeybee colony; workers, drones and mothers (queens)
Cell – the individual hexagonal shaped compartments that make up comb
Centrifugal Spinner – (aka Honey Extractor) mechanical device used in the extraction of honey from honeycomb
Chalkbrood – the most common bee disease in Australia, a fungal infection that kills and mummifies bee larvae
Cluster – a group of bees hanging together often seen during swarming
Colony – the entire aggregate of bees, comb and contents of the comb usually housed inside a hive or other dwelling
Comb – the wax portion of a colony made up of hexagonal cells
Complex Adaptive System (CAS) – interrelated variables that influence and respond to one another
Crop (aka Honey Stomach/Sac) – bladder inside the bee used to carry liquids such as nectar and water
Cross Comb – comb built by bees that crosses in between frames
Crush And Strain – a method used to separate honey from comb, an alternative to using a centrifugal spinner
Cut Comb – honey that is cut directly from the comb and eaten without extraction
Cut Out – a colony of bees removed from where they originally built their home or the act of removing them
Dearth – a period of time when no food is available to bees often due to weather conditions
Diploid – containing two complete sets of chromosomes, one from each parent
Division Board – a board used to divide a hive into two or more colonies
Drawn Comb – fully built honeycomb (as opposed to foundation)
Drifting – when bees enter hives other than the one they were raised in
Drone – male stingless honeybee
Drone Comb – comb made of noticeably larger cells than worker brood where drones are reared and honey stored
Drone Brood – dome shaped brood, larger than worker brood, from which drones emerge
Drone Congregation Area (aka DCA) – a mating area where drones congregate to wait for a mother bee
Emergency Queen Cell – a queen cell adapted from a worker cell
Epipen – a brand name for epinephrine auto injector device used to manage anaphylactic reactions to allergens
European Honey Bee (aka Western Honey Bee) – originating in Europe most common honeybee species
Exoskeleton – a hard shell or skeleton outside the body
Feral Bees – unmanaged honeybees living in the wild
Festooning – bees hanging on to each other often in a single row perhaps to secrete beeswax
Field Bees (aka Forager Bees) – bees that collect substances outside of the hive to bring back to the colony
Forage – natural food sources for bees (nectar and pollen), or the act of gathering that food
Foragers (aka Field Bees) – bees that collect substances outside of the hive to bring back to the colony
Foundation – sheets of wax or plastic stamped with the imprint of a cell pattern
Foundationless – the technique that allows bees to build natural comb without using foundation
Frame – a structure often made of four pieces of wood, designed to hold honeycomb within the hive
Hapoloid Clone – bee containing half the genetic material from the bee that laid the egg (e.g. a drone or male bee)
Hive – the structure used to house a colony of honeybees
Hive Body – an individual box that makes up a modular hive housing honeybees
Hive Tool – a flat metal device used by beekeepers often to pry apart hive bodies, separate frames and scrape frames
Honey – a sweet substance produced by honeybees from the nectar of flowers
Honey Bound – a condition where the brood nest is being filled with honey
Honey Crop (aka Honey Stomach/Sac) – bladder inside bee’s body used to carry liquids such as nectar and water
Honey Extractor (aka Centrifugal Spinner) a mechanical device used in the extraction of honey from honeycomb
Honeyflow (aka Nectarflow) – when enough nectar bearing plants are in bloom for bees to store honey surplus
Honey Supers (from the Latin “above”) – boxes above the brood nest used for honey production
Honey Stomach (aka Honey Crop/Sac) – bladder inside the bee used to carry liquids such as nectar and water
Horizontal Hive (aka Long Hive) – a hive laid out horizontally instead of stacking vertically
House Bees – bees that work inside the hive
Hypopharyngeal Gland – gland located in the head of a worker bee which produces a food fed to other bees
Inner Cover – a wooden panel used under the external lid of a bee hive
Kenyan Horizontal Top Bar Hive – a hive with sloped sides laid out horizontally using top bars instead of frames
Lang – commonly used slang abbreviation for Langstroth
Langstroth, Rev L.L. – US minister and inventor of the Langstroth hive
Langstroth Hive (commonly just called Langstroth) most commonly used hive in commercial beekeeping
Large Cell – standard size for impring used on foundation 5.4mm
Larvae – the second development stage of a bee starting when the egg hatches on day 4 until it is capped
Lemon Grass Oil (aka LGO) – an essential oil very similar to Nasonov Pheromone used to lure swarms
Long Hive (aka Horizontal Hive) – a hive laid out horizontally instead of stacking vertically
Migratory Beekeeping – moving colonies of bees from one location to another during a single season
Migratory Cover – a beehive lid commonly used by commercial migratory beekeepers and Australian hobbyists
Migratory Honey Cropping – moving bees to a location to take advantage of plants on bloom
Migratory Pollination – moving bees to a location in order to pollinate a plant
Mother Bee (aka Queen Bee) – a more apt and accurately descriptive name for the egg laying bee
Nadir (from the french word ‘below’) – adding boxes below the brood nest common in Warre style beekeeping
Nasonov Gland – a gland under the tip of the worker bee’s abdomen that produces Nasonov Pheromone
Nasonov Pheromone – a pheromone produced by the Nasonov gland, primarily an orientation pheromone
Nasonoving – bees who have their abdomen extended and are fanning Nasonov pheromone. Smells like lemons.
Natural Cell – cells bees have built on their own without being guided by the cell pattern of foundation
Natural Comb – comb that bees have built on their own without foundation
Nectar – the raw material manufactured by nectary glands on plants that bees use to produce honey
Nosema – an infection that causes dysentery in adult bees
Nuc – commonly used abbrevation for Nucleus Colony
Nucleus Colony – a small but complete colony of bees used to start a full colony
Nurse Bees – usually young bees which feed and take care of developing brood
Observation Hive – a hive usually made largely of glass so that the inner workings of a beehive can be observed
People’s Hive (aka Warre hive) – easily home made vertical modular hive using Top Bars instead of Frames
Piping – pitched sounds often by the Mother (queen) bee before emerging from her cell for the first time
Pollen – the dust-like male reproductive cells of flowers collected as a source of protein-rich food for bees
Pollen Basket – anatomical structure on the honeybee’s hind legs used to carry pollen and resins used for propolis
Pollen Pellets (aka Pollen Cakes) – the pollen packed in the pollen baskets mixed with nectar to make a pellet
Pollen Trap – used to collect pollen pellets from the hind legs of bees as they squeeze through a restricted space
Prime Swarm – the first and largest swarm to leave a parent colony usually including the original Mother (queen)
Propolis (aka Bee Glue) – substance with antimicrobial produced by bees using plant resins
Propolise – to fill or coat with propolis
Pupa – the third stage of development of the bee during which it is inactive and sealed in a cocoon
Queen (aka Mother Bee) – the egg laying bee in a honeybee colony
Queen Cage – a container used to hold a Mother (queen) bee
Queen Cell – elongated vertically hanging cell resembling a peanut shell in which the Mother (queen) bee is reared
Queen Cup – the structure on which a Queen Cell is built not yet containing an egg
Queen Excluder – a device often used to confine the Mother (queen) bee to a specific part of the hive
Queenright – a colony that includes a Mother (queen) capable of laying fertile eggs
Regression – the process of allowing bees to return to their natural size
Requeen – the process of replacing an existing Mother (queen) bee and introducing a new one
Robbing – the act of bees taking nectar/honey from other colonies also used to describe harvesting honey
Rolling – used to describe what happens when a frame is removed and bees are pushed against the adjacent frame
Royal Jelly – a highly nutritious milky white bee glandular secretion used to fee the Mother (bee) and young larvae
Scout Bees – worker bees searching for something, often a new home for a swarm of bees
Skep – a traditional beehive with no frames often made from twisted straw in the form of a basket
Slumgum – the refuse left behind from melted combs after wax has been rendered
Small Cell – cells size of 4.9mm or smaller often used as a control for varroa mites
Small Hive Beetle – a recently imported beetle that is a scavenger in honeybee colonies
Split – separating out part of a colony in order to create a new colony
Super – a box placed intended for honey storage placed above the brood nest in a modular vertically stacking hive
Supering – the act of placing boxes above the brood nest usually in expectation of a honey flow
Supercedure – the act of replacing one Mother bee with another
Supercedure Cell – queen cells usually found on the side of combs before the Mother bee (queen) is superceded
Swarm – a collection of bees that have split apart from the mother colony to establish a new colony
Swarm Cell – queen cells usually found towards the bottom of combs before swarming
Swarm Season – the time of year, usually late spring to early summer when bees are likely to swarm
Swarm Trap (aka Swarm Catch Box, Bait Hive) – a hive placed to attract swarms
Swarming – the natural reproductive mechanism of a honeybee colony
Tanzanian Horizontal Hive – similar to a Kenyan hive but straight sides and frames instead of top bars
Telescopic Cover – a lid that extends out past the edges of the hive usually used with an inner cover
Thelytoky – the ability to raise workers and Mother (queen) bees from the eggs of workers
Top Bar – the top part of a frame, or in a Top Bar Hive, the piece of wood from which the comb hangs
Top Bar Hive – hive that uses Top Bars instead of frames (Warre and Kenyan hives are the most popular versions)
Travel Stains – darkened comb caused either by bees walking over it’s surface or by being propolised
Uniting – combining two or more colonies to form a larger colony often done with a sheet of newspaper
Varroa – a debillitating mite parasite of the honeybee of which there is more than one species
Varroa Destructor – a species of mite parasite which commonly lives on the European honeybee
Varroa Jacobsoni – a species of mite parasite which commonly lives on the Asian honeybee
Warre – Abbe Emile Ware (1867-1951) inventor of The People’s Hive (commonly called The Warre Hive)
Warre Hive – the common name for a vertical modular hive invented by Abbe Emile Warre
Washboarding – an activity where the bees, often on hot days, move up and down in unison on the front of the hive
Wax Dipping – dipping wood usually in hot paraffin and microcrystalline wax as a method of protection
Western Honeybee – another term used to describe Apis mellifera (European honeybee)
Worker – the female caste of honeybee which makes up the majorty of the colony’s population
Worker Brood – cells that make up the majority of the brood nest from which worker bees emerge