Alarm pheromone – Produced by worker bees, this alerts the guard bees to potential threats to the colony.
Abdomen – The third section of a bee’s body. It contains the honey stomach, stomach, intestines, sting and the reproductive organs.
Absconding swarm – When the entire colony of bees desert their hive.
Acarapis woodi – The tracheal mite which lives in the tracheal air tubes and affects a bee’s breathing. Often referred to Acarine Disease.
Alighting board – A small platform at the entrance of the hive from which the bees take off or land.
Anaphylactic shock – Constriction of the muscles surrounding the bronchial tubes of a human, caused by hypersensitivity to venom and resulting in sudden death unless immediate medical attention is received.
Anthers – Part of the stamen of a plant that contains pollen.
Apiary – The location of hives at one site.
Apiculture – The science of keeping honeybees.
Apis mellifera – A now widespread native European bee – kept for its honey and wax.
Bacillus larvae – The bacteria that cause American Foulbrood.
Bee bread – Pollen collected by bees and then mixed with various solutions including honey which is stored within a cell of the comb. A high-protein feed for both the developing larva and bees.
Bee blower – A blower used to blow bees from supers full of honey.
Bee brush – A soft brush used to remove bees from frames.
Bee escape – A one-way device through which the bees can escape but not return.
Beehive – A container used by a beekeeper for the purpose of keeping a colony of bees out of the weather, usually in the form of box or crate. The combs are usually built on removable frames or top bars for ease of access.
Bee Glue – See propolis.
Beekeeper – Someone who keeps bees.
Bee space – A space (6-9mm) big enough to permit free passage for a bee. Spaces and gaps that are smaller than this tend to be filled with propolis, larger gaps are filled with wax comb.
Bee suit – A one- or two-piece suit, worn to protect the beekeeper from being stung – although experience tells us this is not always the case.
Bee venom – The poison secreted by the special glands of a honeybee attached to its stinger and used as a defence mechanism.
Bees wax – Wax that is secreted by special glands on the underside of the bees. Formed into comb by the bees to store honey, food and rear their young.
Bottom board – The floor of a beehive.
Brace comb – Randomly built comb that has been built between parts of the hive to join them together.
Brood – Immature stages of bees that have not yet emerged from their cells; the three stages are egg, larvae, and pupae.
Brood chamber – The part of the hive where the brood is raised and the queen normally lays her eggs.
Brood Food – A very nutritious glandular secretion from the worker bee that is used to feed both brood and the queen.
Build up – The natural seasonal increase of bee population within a colony that coincides with the start of the main nectar flow.
Burr comb – Small sections of comb often called brace comb, made by the bees as connecting links between combs and or frames or even the hive itself.
Capped brood – Immature bees whose cells have been sealed over with a wax cover. Inside, the non-feeding larvae then spin cocoons before pupating and emerging as a bee.
Cappings – A thin high-quality wax covering over honey-filled cells. This is cut off prior to honey extraction.
Castes – The three types of bees that comprise the adult population of a honeybee colony: workers, drones, and queen.
Cell – The hexagonal shaped wax compartment in the comb. Used by bees to store honey, pollen or raise bees.
Chalkbrood – A fungal disease affecting bee larvae in which the larvae, if left untreated turn into hard, chalky white ‘mummies’. Chilled brood – If the brood becomes too cold, immature bees, larvae, and eggs can die.
Cleansing flight – The flight made by a bee to cleanse its digestive track after a long period of confinement.
Cluster – A large group of bees huddled together, one upon another.
Colony – A group of worker bees, drones, queen, and developing brood living together in one unit.
Comb – A group of wax cells in which eggs are laid, or honey and pollen are stored.
Crush and strain – A simple method to extract honey in which combs are gathered in a straining device which allows honey to drain into a container.
Crystallisation – The natural process which occurs when the honey turns from liquid to solid, creating granulate.
Dividing – Separating or splitting a colony to create two or more units.
Drawn combs – Combs with cells built out by honeybees from a sheet of foundation.
Drifting – Bees occasionally loose their location and enter another hive. This can occur if two hives are very close to each other, or of it is windy and they are blown off course.
Drone – The male honeybee which comes from an unfertilised egg laid by a queen or sometimes, a laying worker. A drone’s main role is to fertilise the queen.
Drone brood – Brood, which develop into drones, these are reared in cells that are larger than the normal worker cells.
Dysentery – A condition of mature bees in which the bees have severe diarrhoea, can be caused by starvation, poor-quality food, damp surroundings, or nosema infection.
Eggs – The first stage in the life cycle of a bee.
Entrance reducer – A device used to limit traffic in and out of a hive.
Extractor – A device used to remove honey from the comb – usually by centrifugal force.
Fertile queen – A queen that has mated with a drone, which can lay fertilised eggs.
Field bees – Worker bees, often called foragers, are usually 21 or more days old and work outside. They collect nectar, pollen, water and propolis for the hive.
Flight path – The area and direction the bees fly on leaving their colony. This should be kept as clear as possible to avoid aggravating the bees.
Follower board – This is a thin board used instead of a frame when there are fewer than the normal number of frames in a hive.
Forage – Natural food source of bees (nectar and pollen) from flowers.
Foulbrood – A brood disease of honeybees caused by a spore-forming bacterium, and characterised by a ropy or gummy condition of affected larvae. If left untreated, infection spreads rapidly until the colony population is so weakened it dies.
Foundation – A man-made structure consisting of thin sheets of beeswax or plastic on which the cell bases of worker cells are embossed onto which the bees build-up and draw-out the comb.
Frame – A rectangular frame of either plastic or wood onto which comb drawn-up by the bee. It allows the beekeeper to move the comb around and was invented in 1852 by Langstroth.
Fumidil-B – The trade name for Fumagillin is an antibiotic used in the prevention and suppression of nosema disease.
Guard bee – Worker bees about 21 days old that guard the hive entrance from predators and intruders.
Hive – A man-made home for bees.
Hive tool – An essential flat metal tool used by the beekeeper to open and clean the hive.
Honey – A sweet liquid produced by bees from the nectar of flowers.
Honeybee – The common name for Apis mellifera (honey bearer), a highly social insect.
Honey colour – The colour of honey varies and it colour is classified between water white to white, to amber to dark amber (seven gradations). It is measured by a Pfund grader.
Honey flow – The period when there is enough nectar-bearing plants in flower that bees can store the surplus of honey.
Honey sac – The stomach, located in the abdomen, a bee uses for carrying nectar, honey and water. Honeycomb – Comb which has been filled with lovely honey.
Langstroth, L. L. – A minister who in his studies and writing of bees recognised the importance of the bee space, resulting in the development of the movable-frame hive.
Larva – The second developmental stage of a bee, ready to pupate or spin its cocoon – about the 10th day from the egg.
Laying worker – An unfertilised, non-queen female bee that is capable of laying drone eggs. This is often the result of a hive remaining queen-less for a period of time.
Marked queen – A queen bee that has been marked with a spot of paint or had a disk adhered to her abdomen.
Mating flight – The flight taken by a virgin queen while she mates in the air with several drones.
Mead – A delicious wine made from honey.
Nectar – A sugar-rich liquid secreted by plants which bees collect and turn into honey.
Nosema – A widespread adult bee disease caused by a spore-forming organism Nosema apis which infects the digestive tract.
Nuc, Nuclei, Nucleus – A small colony of bees.
Nurse bee – A young hive-bound bee, three to ten days old, who feed and take care of developing brood.
Observation hive – A hive made largely of glass or clear plastic that allows the colony to be observed.
Pheromone – A chemical scent which triggers a response in other bees.
Pollen – A fine powder produced by the male part of a plant. It fertilises other plants and is an important source of protein for the bees.
Pollen trap – A device for collecting the pollen pellets from the hind legs of worker bees as they enter the hive.
Porter bee escape – A device that allows the bees a one-way exit between two thin and pliable metal bars that yield to the bees’ push – used to free honey supers of bees.
Propolis – A sticky resinous substance that bees collect from trees and plants. It is used to fill in small spaces inside the hive. Often referred to as bee glue.
Pupa – The third and final stage in the development of the bee during which it is inactive and sealed in its cocoon; the organs of the larva are replaced by those which will be used as an adult.
Queen – A fully developed mated female bee responsible for all the egg laying of a colony; recognised by other bees by her special pheromone (scent).
Queen cell – A special elongated cell resembling a peanut shell in which the queen is reared; usually over an inch in length, it hangs vertically from the comb.
Queen clipping – Removing a portion of one or both front wings of a queen to prevent her from flying.
Queen excluder – A metal or plastic grill that is large enough for worker bees to climb through, but which the queen cannot. It is normally used to stop the queen from entering and laying eggs in the comb used for honey.
Queen right – A term used to describe a hive or colony of bees that has an egg-laying queen.
Requeen – The process of introducing a new queen to a queen-less hive.
Rendering wax – The process of melting combs and cappings and removing refuse from the wax.
Robbing – The act of bees stealing honey/nectar from the other colonies; also applied to bees cleaning out wet supers or cappings left uncovered by beekeepers.
Royal Jelly – A highly nutritious, milky-white glandular secretion of young bees; used to feed the queen and young larvae.
Sacbrood – A brood disease which affects the larvae. The dead larva will resemble a bag of fluid.
Scout bee – A worker bee who is responsible for locating for sources of pollen, nectar, water or a new location for a swarm. Sealed brood – see capped brood.
Skep – A beehive usually made of twisted straw in the form of a basket.
Smoker – A metal containor with bellows, in which a wide variety of materials are burnt to product cool thick smoke. It is used to calm the bees aggressive behaviour when inspecting the colony.
Solar wax melter – A glass-covered insulated box using the heat of the sun to melt wax from combs and cappings.
Sting – The defense mechanism of a bee that is capable of releasing venom in to its victim.
Super – The frames in which bees store honey, usually placed above the brood nest.
Supering – The method of placing honey supers on a colony in anticipation of a honey flow.
Supercedure – The natural process of a colony of bees replacing its queen with a new queen. This can also be induced artificially.
Surplus honey – If the honey flow is good the colony produce more honey than it can use for its own stores. This surplus honey is usually stored in the supers and can then be extracted for the beekeeper’s own use.
Swarm – A collection of bees that is currently without a home site and looking for a new one.
Swarm cell – Queen cells usually found on the bottom of the combs before swarming. Swarming – The natural way a honeybee colony propagates.
Thorax – The middle region of an insect to which the wings and legs are attached.
Uncapping knife – A knife used to remove the cappings of sealed honey before extraction. A warm knife makes the procedure easier.
Uniting – Bringing two or more colonies together to create a larger colony.
Veil – A cloth or wire netting for protecting the beekeeper’s head and neck from being stung.
Wax moth – A type of moth which lays it eggs in the brood comb of a colony of bees and whose larvae bore through and destroy honeycomb.
Winter cluster – A tightly packed cluster of bees that forms to maintain warmth during the colder winter months.
Worker bee – Infertile female bees who is unable to lay eggs. They are responsible for feeding, cleaning, and gathering nectar and pollen for the hive.