Beekeeping Glossary of Terms

Aside from the sometimes colorful language uttered under one's breath on occasion in the bee yard when a bee's stinger penetrates a leather glove, there are other terms that are unique to those who play with the bees either as a hobby or a living. Acheter Nike chaussures,

Here are a few of the terms I've found myself using that will get you started talking like a beekeeper in no time:

Bee Bread - Pollen and honey mixed together, allowed to ferment and then fed to brood. Sounds delicious doesn't it?

Beekeeping Club - A great place to hangout with others, swap stories and hear 10 different opinions on any 1 given subject.

Brood - Term for baby bees.

Drone - Male honeybee who's sole purpose is to mate with a queen. Did you know the only drone you'll ever see alive is a virgin drone?

Drone Congregation Area (DCA)
- Area where drones from many colonies congregate high in the air looking for a virgin queen to mate with. Think night club scene or "mile high club" for the bees!

Extractor -  Despite the name it's not an instrument of torture, unless you get your fingers caught in the basket while it's spinning. Here's more details, pictures and video.

Forage - Like a teenager rummaging around the kitchen pantry, bees have to scavenge for their food also.

Frame - Wooden (or plastic) rectangular shape device for the bees to draw wax upon. Allows humans to inspect the hive by removing and then replacing the frame of wax without damaging it.

Frame Rest - A device used to hold a frame(s) and give them a rest while the beekeeper inspects other areas of the hive.

Gloves - A (sometimes  feeble) attempt to protect one's hands from stings while messing with the bees.

Hive - An enclosure to house the bees, sometimes referring to the bees themselves.

Hive Tool (tool) - Sometimes the frames are sticky or stuck in place and a small pry bar (tool) is helpful in moving them. A veteran beekeeper can keep a hive tool in their hands while holding other gear and manipulating the bees and frames without setting down the tool.

Inner Cover - a thin board that separates the top of the bee hive from the outer cover. Usually has a hole in the center for bees to escape through.

IPM  - Integrated Pest Management to control the pests and viruses that effect honey bees.

Larva - The egg of a honey bee that has hatched and begins to develop.

Marking The Queen  - Placing a dot of paint on the thorax of a queen bee to identify her easier and to track her age. See this post for video and explanation.

Mites (Varroa) - Varroa mites are recognized as the biggest pest to honeybees worldwide, and are believed to be the single largest contributing factor in the modern-day decline of honeybees.

NeoNecticides (NeoNics or Insecticides) - insecticides with a common mode of action that affects the central nervous system of insects

Outer Cover- Not wanting to let the inner cover steal the entire show, the outer cover provides the majority of protection from the elements.

Out Yard - A piece of property (not usually owned by the beekeepers) where the beekeeper is willing to drive (sometimes long distances) to keep bees. Often a jar or two of honey is provided to the land owner as a "Thank You" for providing space for the bees to live. Sometimes a percentage of total harvest is offered in lieu of a single jar.

Package of Bees - 3 to 5 lbs of bees plus one queen placed into a box with screened sides. Can be shipped via postal service (watch your mail carrier squirm!) or picked up from supplier in person. Bees can then be shaken into a new empty hive.

Pollen - Dust collected from flowers, trees and plants and used as food by the bees.

Pollen Patty - Not as delicious as it sounds. Grease and pollen powder mixed together and fed to bees in the winter when no natural pollen is available.

Propolis (Bee Glue) - This stuff is the bees equivalent to super glue. Collected and made from tree sap, propolis is used to seal air gaps in the hive and hermetically seal out disease.

Queen - The only bee in the hive that lays fertilized eggs.

Queen Excluder - Device used to keep the queen contained to the lower brood boxes and not permit her into the honey supers.

Queen, Ball The - Not even remotely close to anything x rated. When a colony detects an intruder or a newly introduced queen they haven't accepted yet, they surround them with hundreds of bees in the shape of a ball and raise their body temperatures enough to "roast alive" the queen or intruder.

Screened Bottom Board (SBB) - Part of IPM that allows mites to fall from the bees, through the screened bottom and not climb back up into the hive.

- Mostly nostalgic and only found in museums now as modern (new) beekeepers don't use them. Skeps caused inevitable damage to (or killed) the colony to retrieve honey from Skeps.

Smoker - Someone who ignores surgen general warnings and doesn't fear the inevitable bout of cancer. Also a device used in beekeeping to produce copious amounts of cool white smoke to calm the bees. Fuel often includes pine needles, pine chips, cedar chips or similar.
Solid Bottom Board - opposite of the Screened Bottom Board, where the bottom is a solid board.

Sugar Mush - a ration of sugar and water fed to poor bees in the late winter to keep them from starving to death.

Sugar Syrup - a 1:1 or 2:1 sugar/water ratio mix of feed to supply the bees with nutrition until natural nectar flow is available.
Suit - An attempt by a beekeeper to keep bees out of their clothes and from being stung (see Gloves).

Super - Surplus boxes of frames added to the bee hive for the express purpose of having the bees work hard, produce lots of honey and fill them up for the beekeeper to enjoy.

Veil - Quite possibly the most important part of any protective clothing. (See: Suit, Gloves). If you've never had bees get caught in long hair, ask my wife, it's not a pleasant experience!

Wax (None of your Beeswax) - Honeybees produce small white flakes of wax from their abdomen and build honeycomb with it.

Worker Bee - A non-queen honeybee that supports the daily work inside the hive and protects the queen.

Winnie the Pooh is quoted in the book "Friendship Day" as saying:
     "Good friends are sweet as honey."
Pooh may of course simply meant that good friends are nice to have. But for a darker interpretation of this statement, consider the following:


Comments For This Post: (3) | Post Your Comments! Hide The Comment Form
Mark Martin says...
Date:   November 4, 2014, 8:26 am

Very humorous Chris!  =)

What is "Queen, Ball The" that appears above Screened bottom board?

Chris (Show Me The Honey) says...
Date:   November 4, 2014, 11:22 am

I forgot to finish that's fixed now. :)

Here's an interesting video with thermal images of a bunch of bees "balling" an intruder.


Tim says...
Date:   November 7, 2014, 3:07 pm

I found the bee ball very interesting, I don't remember coming across this before, and I have read a few bee books. I hoope my bees don't learn this technique, I don't think my suit would protect me from this defence. I have never looked at piglet in this way before, but I probably always will now.

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