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B-Keeping Glossary - Bee-keeping terms
Category: Agriculture and Industry > Bee-keeping
Date & country: 23/03/2011, uk
Words: 273

Segmented posterior, or third region, of an insect; in the honey bee it contains the heart, honey stomach, intestines, reproductive organs and sting.

The act of a colony of bees that leave the hive in entirety due to undesirable causes such as heat, pest infestation or other reasons.

Acarapis woodi (Rennie)
Scientific name of parasitic acarine mite, which infests tracheae of bees (entering through thoratic spiracle) during its complete life cycle. Mite interferes with oxygen intake and feeds on blood of host; can not be seen with naked eye. Honey bees suffering from tracheal mite infestation are usually treated with extender patties or menthol. Sometimes referenced to "Isle of Wight Disease". Devel...

Africanized honey bee (AHB)
Descendants of bees introduced to Brazil from the African strain, Apis mellifera adansonii, escaped a testing facility in 1956 and have migrated through South America, Mexico and have been found in southwestern areas of the United States. Africanized honey bees are more aggressive than domestic honey bees, requiring less disturbance to initiate defensive stinging, sting in greater numbers and trav...

Swarms that leave the parent hive after a primary swarm has already left. Strong colonies have been known to swarm several times, usually in spring, as queens emerge from their queen cells.

Alarm odor
The pheromone substance, iso-pentyl acetate, released by worker bees that alert other bees of danger.

American foulbrood (AFB)
Contagious disease of bee larvae caused by Bacillus larvae. American foulbrood identified by off-color sunken (or punctured) brood caps; brood remains usually laying straight in cell and stretching with a "rope-like" appearance when a small stick or wooden match is inserted and withdrawn, and foul odor resembling rotting fruit. Hives verified to contain American foulbrood disease should be exter...

Slender jointed feelers, which bear certain sensory organs, located on the head of insects.

Part of plant flower that develops and contains pollen.


Group of bee colonies in one location (bee yard).

The science and art of studying and raising honey bees.

Genus to which honey bees belong.

Apis mellifera
Scientific name of the common domestic honey bee.

Apistan(TM), or Apistan(TM) strips, are plastic strips that have been impregnated with fluvalinate, and are hung between frames in the brood nest area. As Varroa mites in some areas are beginning to show resistance to fluvalinate, it is imperative that beekeepers follow instructions for the proper use of Apistan(TM) strips. (Reference Varroa jacobsoni).

The practice of using bee venom in the treatment of arthritis, rheumatism or other medical conditions for relief from some or all of the effects of those conditions. Apitherapy practices are still being researched.

Artificial Insemination
The mechanical introduction of selected drone spermatozoa into the genital organs of a virgin queen using special instruments. The queen is anesthetized with CO2 to prevent delay in initial laying.

Attendant bees
Worker bees that have been added to a queen cage to care for and feed the queen during shipment, and until release. Usually 6-8 attendant bees accompany queen in cage.

Bacillus larvae
Bacterial organism causing American foulbrood.

Bait hive
A box, often the size of a deep (9 1/8 inch) super and made of compressed fiber or pulp, used to capture swarms of feral (wild) honey bees.

The clustering around an unacceptable queen by worker bees to form a tight ball, pulling at her legs and wings. Usually the queen is injured or killed when balled.

Bee blower
A motorized device, similar to leaf blowers, using forced air to blow bees from supers when harvesting honey. Often used by commercial beekeepers.

Bee bread
Stored pollen in comb.

Bee brush
A soft, long-bristled brush with nylon bristles set in a flat brush approximately 14 inches long (handle included); used to brush bees from face of comb. Often used when transferring frames of brood from one colony to another, or harvesting honeycomb. (Reference Shake).

Bee dance
The movement of a worker bee on comb as a means of communication. Usually, the same movement is repeated over and over, and is used to direct other bees to sources of nectar, available hive location (while swarm is clustered), etc. More common dances that have been named are Round Dance, Crescent Dance and Wag-tail Dance.

Bee escape
Device to let bees pass in only one direction; usually inserted between supers of honey and brood nest when harvesting honey to clear supers of bees, or remove bees from buildings. Common types are the Porter and Conical Board bee escapes.

Bee forage
(See Bee pasture).

Bee glue
(See Propolis).

Bee gum
(See Gum hive).

Bee lining
The practice of following bees back to their hive; used in the past to locate and capture feral colonies of bees. Honey bees were captured in the field, placed in a box with a source of watered-down honey, allowed to fill their honey stomach and released. The bee "liner" would wait for bees to return to the honey source and plot a course in the direction of the departing bees based on the time i...

Bee louse
A relatively harmless insect that gets on honey bees, but larvae can damage honeycomb. Scientific name is Braula coeca Nitzch.

Bee pasture
Wild and cultivated plants, bushes and trees that supply forage for bees with nectar and/or pollen.

Bee space
Amount of space acceptable to bee, neither too narrow (under about 3/16-1/4 inch) or too wide (over 3/8 inch), found between combs and discovered by Rev. L.L. Langstroth.

Bee suit
Usually a pair of white or light-colored overalls, and worn when working around bee hives; often constructed with attached zipper for securing bee veils to suit.

Bee tree
A hollow tree occupied by a feral colony of bees.

Bee veil
A wire or cloth netting used by beekeepers to cover the head and neck, preventing bees from stinging those areas.

Bee venom
Poison of proteins and other complex chemicals injected by bee sting.

Bee venom allergy
Term usually applied to severe allergic reactions to bee stings, which can result in excessive swelling, impaired breathing, dizziness and may include anaphylactic shock. On average, two out of 10,000 people suffer from severe allergic reactions to bee stings.

Bee venom therapy
(See Apitherapy).

Bee yard
(See Apiary).

A term used to describe a person that "has" bees, but does not "keep" them responsibly. Unlike a beekeeper, a "bee-haver" neglects the proper care and management of their bees, often leading to careless occurrences of damage, nuisance or spread of honey bee diseases and pests.

(See hive).

A person that keeps bees, and properly cares for their well-being through timely and correct management procedures.

Beekeeper's year
A beekeeper's year starts in the fall, usually August, with the checking of colonies to ensure they are headed by a good queen, and have adequate stores (feeding if necessary) to take them through the winter. As the quality of the colony is vital for successful wintering, most beekeepers consider fall the "beginning" of the season; strong colonies coming out of winter usually provide for maximu...

Wax secreted from four pairs of glands on the underside of a worker bee's abdomen. Bees mold secreted wax flakes to form honeycomb. The melting point of beeswax is approximately 148

Boardman (entrance) feeder
A wooden or plastic receptacle that holds an upside-down jar with small holes punched in the lid, allowing bees to enter receptacle and feed on syrup from lid of jar; usually placed at the hive entrance.

Bottom board
Floor or base of beehive; usually has rails on three sides of 3/8 or 3/4 inches in height. Supers are placed on top of bottom board. Non-railed side acts as entrance to hive.

Bottom supering
The practice of placing empty honey supers below other honey supers already on the hive. Beekeepers managing colonies for comb honey production often utilize bottom supering to minimize "travel stain" on cappings. A queen excluder is used to prevent the queen from laying eggs in the super as its placement is usually right above the brood nest. (Also reference Top supering).

Brace comb
Section of comb built between and attached to other combs, walls or tops of hives.

Braula coeca Nitzch
(See Bee louse).

Breathing pores
(See Spiracles).

Immature or developing stages of bees; includes eggs, larvae (unsealed brood) and pupae (sealed brood).

Brood chamber
Section of hive where the brood is reared; usually the lowermost hive bodies; and food may be stored.

Brood nest
Area of hive where bees are densely clustered and brood is reared.

Brood rearing
Raising of bees from egg stage.

Buckfast bee
Strain of bee originally bred and developed by Br. Adam at Buckfast Abbey, and known for its resistance to Acarapis woodi (tracheal mite).

Burr comb
Comb built out from wood frame or comb, but usually unattached on one end.

Covering of comb cell used to seal brood or honey.

Capped brood
Brood in pupa stage with cells sealed with beeswax cover.

Capped honey
Honey stored in sealed cells.

Thin beeswax covering over sealed cells of honey that have been removed prior to extracting. May also refer to cell coverings over brood.

Cappings scratcher
A handled tool with multiple long teeth used to "scratch" or open cappings on honeycomb, allowing for removal of honey; usually used in conjunction with decapping knife or machine to reach missed or low areas on comb surface.

Carniolan bee
Gentle grayish-black bee originally from Carniolan Mountains in or near Austria. Scientific name is Apis mellifera carnica.

Caucasian bee
Gentle black bee originally from Caucasus area of Russia; noted for its heavy propolizing characteristics. Scientific name is Apis mellifera caucasica.

Single unit of space in comb in which honey or pollen is stored, or bee can be raised; worker cells are about 25 cells per square inch of comb, drone cells are about 18 per square inch.

Cell cup
Queen cell base and part of sides.

A disease in which the causative fungus, Ascosphaera apis, attacks and kills bees in larval stage. Deceased brood, referred to as "mummies", are sponge-like and at first white in appearance, turning black upon the fungus reaching its reproductive stage. Chalkbrood is usually treated by relocating hive to a warmer, dryer location (development of fungus favors cold, damp areas) and/or requeening. ...

Chilled brood
Immature stages in life of bee that have been exposed to cold temperatures too long.

Chunk comb honey
Packed honey in which piece of honeycomb is placed in container of liquid honey.

Cleansing flight
Flight bees take after days of confinement, during which they void their feces. Healthy bees avoid defecating in the hive, wastes collect in their intestines until they are able to take cleansing flights; especially after winter weather.

Clipped queen
Queen whose wing (or wings) have been clipped to prevent flying. Also for identification purposes (right wings usually clipped in even years, left wings in odd). (Also reference Marked queen).

Collection of bees in colony gathered into limited area; especially during cold temperatures or after swarming.

Social community or unit of worker bees in a hive or other shelter, usually containing queen with or without drones.

A back-to-back structure of beeswax created by bees, and composed of horizontal, hexagonal cells joined by a median midrib; used to store honey, pollen or used to raise brood.

Comb foundation
Thin sheet of beeswax embossed or stamped by a press to form a base of cell patterns on each side. Some foundation is also made of plastic with beeswax coating.

Comb super
A super, usually 4 1/2 or 4 3/4 inches in depth; used for the production of comb honey. Short frames to accommodate basswood sections or round plastic rings are utilized in comb supers.

Commercial beekeeper
One who operates a sufficiently large number of colonies for honey production or crop pollination as a business for profit.

Compound eye(s)
The large lateral eye of the honey bee comprised of multiple visual elements named ommatidia.

The appearance of bees that are unable to fly; often found crawling on landing board or hive entrance. If noted repeatedly, possible causes are mite infestation (Acarapis woodi or Varroa jacobsoni) or poisoning.

Creamed honey
(See Spun honey).

Transfer of pollen from anther of one plant's flower to a stigma of another plant's flower or clone of same species.

(See Granulated honey and Spun honey).

Cut-comb honey
Comb honey cut into appropriate sizes and packed in plastic boxes.

Deep super
A super used to hold standard, full-depth frames; usually 9 5/8 inches.

Method of swarm control, by which queen is separated from most of brood; devised by man of that name.

Remove queen from colony.

(See Glucose).

Division board
Flat board of the same inside vertical and horizontal dimensions of a super used to separate a hive body into two parts or reduce the size of the chamber.

Division board feeder
A wooden or plastic trough feeder placed inside a super to hold syrup; usually the size of a frame in the hive.

To shape and build, as to draw comb from a sheet of foundation.

Drawn comb
Foundation drawn by bees into to completed comb.

Tendency of bees to drift from their own hive to adjacent ones; especially if hives are placed close together and face same direction. Some races of bees are known to drift more than others.

Male bee. Drones die after mating with a queen. Drones are also expelled from the hive by worker bees (females) in late fall before wintering, or in dearth of available nectar flows. Drone egg to adult development period is 24 days.

Drone brood
Area of brood in hive consisting of drone larvae or pupae.

Drone cell
Comb cells cells measuring about four to the linear inch, and in which drones are reared.

Drone congregating area
An area usually about 15-30 feet (to over 100 feet) in the air in which drones congregate awaiting the appearance of queens taking their mating flights.

Drone egg
Unfertilized egg.

Drone layer
Queen that lays only infertile eggs.

The act of rhythmically thumping on the side of a hive to drive the bees upward; usually at the rate of 40-60 beats per minute. Used to move bees from box or gum hives into standard removable-frame hives. Once drummed, a queen excluder can be placed over old hive to prevent queen from returning, yet allowing bees to care for brood contained in lower hive body until emerged.

Dry swarm
Swarm that due to inclement weather or other reasons, has depleted its food supply. Bees in dry swarms are often aggressive until a hive is found (or given) and the bees are able to feed.