Congratulations on your interest in the hobby of beekeeping. We are certain you will find beekeeping an enjoyable and rewarding hobby that can be shared by young and older alike. Not only will you receive the obvious reward of a naturally sweet honey crop, but also the little known benefits to the backyard garden.
Common garden plants such as melons, cucumbers, squash, pumpkins, blueberries, raspberries and most fruit trees including apple and pear require insect pollination to set fruit. The honeybee is the most efficient insect pollinator. Bees visit these flowers to obtain pollen, the sole source of protein in the honeybee diet. Multiple visits to a flower increase the size of the fruit, the number of seeds, and the consistency in the shape of the fruit. The seeds inside a fruit produce the sugar that makes the fruit sweet; therefore, the greater the number of pollinated seeds, the sweeter the fruit.
Where do you begin? Knowledge is the key to success so get to your easy chair and pick up a good book, on beekeeping of course! For the beginner we recommend the following titles:
These titles and many more can be obtained from Mann Lake by calling 800-880-7694. Mann Lake also offers all the equipment needed for beekeeping including the Deluxe Beekeeping Starter Kit! (Click Here For Details)
For the beginning beekeeper, we suggest taking a class on beekeeping. These can generally be found by contacting the entomology (study of insects) department at your local university, you can also check with your local department of agriculture. These classes will teach you all the basics of beekeeping in your area and help you get familiar with the terms and equipment used in keeping bees. Join a local beekeeping club or organization. Click here for a rather long list of some regional clubs and ways to contact them. If there isn’t a club listed there or in your phone book, give us call and we will do our best to locate that information for you. Generally, these clubs will hold meetings once a month to discuss beekeeping and they are usually very eager to have new members. While you are at the meetings find a mentor, a person who has some experience keeping bees who is willing to help you get started.You will find beekeepers eager to share their knowledge of this great hobby! Subscribe to an industry magazine, we recommend the Bee Culture magazine published by AI Root Co. This magazine is informative and easy to read. Subscription information can be obtained clicking here.
It is best to order your equipment in the fall for use in the following spring.This will give you time to paint the woodenware and familiarize yourself with each piece and it’s purpose. Order your bees early to ensure availability. Generally bees are mailed to you from the supplier in the early spring, call in the fall to put in your reservation. For the names of package bee suppliers click here or call our customer service department at 800-880-7694 or consult your Bee Culture magazine.
Please feel free to call our knowledgeable sales staff at any time with questions regarding bees and equipment.
Good luck and have fun with your new adventure in beekeeping.
ABDOMEN: The posterior or third region of the body of the bee that encloses the honey stomach, stomach, intestines, sting and the reproductive organs.
ACARAPIS WOODI: A mite, called the Tracheal mite, which infests the bees’ breathing or tracheal system; sometimes called Acarine Disease, this refers to bees that are heavily infested with the Tracheal mite.
ACIDITY: The state of being acidic or sour; the acids in honey, called organic acids, including gluconic acid, formed by the enzyme glucose to produce the acid and hydrogen peroxide.
AFTERSWARM: Swarms which leave a colony with a virgin queen, after the first (or prime) swarm has departed in the same season; afterswarms are also referred to as secondary or tertiary swarms.
AFRICANIZED BEE: A term used indiscriminately to describe the African honey bee Apis mellifera scutellata (formerly A.m. adansonii) or its hybrids; an African bee released in Brazil and known for its volatile nature, its aggressive behavior may cause concern to the non-beekeeping public.
ALARM ODOR: A chemical (iso-pentyl acetate) substance released near the worker bee’s sting, which alerts other bees to danger; also called alarm pheromone.
ALLERGIC REACTION: A systemic or general reaction to some compound, such as bee venom, characterized by itching all over (hives), breathing difficulty, sneezing or loss of consciousness.
ANTHER: From the Greek anthros (flower), referring to the pollen-bearing portion on top of the stamen or male part of a flower.
ANTENNA (pl –AE): One of two long segmented sensory filaments located on the head of the bee, which enable bees to smell and taste.
APIARY (pl-IES): The location and total number of hives (and other equipment) at one site; also called bee yard.
BALLING: Refers to the action of worker bees surrounding a queen who is unacceptable, they are trying to kill her by pulling her legs, wings, and by stinging and suffocation; the bees form a small cluster or ball around this queen.
BASKET EXTRACTOR: A honey extractor that spins out one side of the frame at a time.
BEE BLOWER: A gas or electrically driven blower used to blow bees from supers full of honey.
BEE BREAD: Pollen collected by bees and stored in wax cells, preserved with honey.
BEE BRUSH: A soft brush or whisk (or handful of grass) used to remove bees from frames.
BEE CELLAR: An underground room used for storing bee hives during long cold winters; difficult to use as constant temperature and humidity must be maintained to ensure colony survival.
BEE DISEASES: Diseases affecting adult larval honey bees, not all of which are infectious (such as dysentary); common diseases are Nosema Apis and Nosema Cerena, deformed wing virus and American and European foulbrood, which are highly infectious larval diseases.
BEE ESCAPE: A device constructed to permit bees to pass one way, but prevent their return; used to clear bees from supers or other uses.
BEE GO: A chemical, such as benzaldehyde, repellent to bees and used with a fume board to clear bees from honey supers. Honey Robber works better than other product on the market because it is not weather dependent.
BEE SPACE: A space big enough to permit free passage for a bee but too small to encourage comb building, and too large to induce propolizing activities; measures ¼ to 3/8 inch (9.5mm).
BEE SUIT: A pair of coveralls, usually white, made for beekeepers to protect them from stings and keep their clothes clean; some come equipped with zip-on veils.
BEESWAX: A complex mixture of organic compounds secreted by four pairs of glands on the ventral, or underside of a young worker bee’s abdomen, secreted as droplets which harden into scales, they are used to construct honey comb; melting point of beeswax is 143.6-149 degrees F (62-65 degrees C)
BEEWAY SUPER: The shallowest or section super used with wooden section boxes to make comb honey; has a built-in beeway or bee space.
BLACK SCALE: Refers to the appearance of a dried down larva or pupa which died of a foulbrood disease.
BOARDMAN FEEDER: A wooden or plastic device that fits into the entrance of a bee hive and holds a quart jar that can be filled with syrup or water.
BOTTLING TANK: A plastic or stainless steel tank holding 5 or more gallons of honey and equipped with a honey gate to fill honey jars.
BOTTOM BOARD: The floor of a bee hive.
BOTTOM BAR: The bottom part of the frame.
BROOD: Immature stages of bees not yet emerged from their cells; the stages are egg, larvae, pupae.
BROODBOX: Refers to the hive bodies where the queen lays her eggs.
|Type||Egg||Larve||Cell Capped||Pupa||Emergence||Start of Fertility|
|Queen||until day 3||until day 5 1/2||until day 7 1/2||until Day 8||from day 16 on||Approx. 23rd day|
|Worker||until day 3||until day 6||until day 9||until day 12||from day 21 on||N/A|
|Drone||until day 3||until day 6 1/2||until day 10||until day 14 1/2||from day 24 on||Approx. 38th day|
BROOD NEST: The part of the hive interior in which brood is reared; usually the two bottom supers.
BUCKFAST HYBRID: A strain of bees developed by Brother Adam at Buckfast Abbey in England, bred for disease resistance, disinclination to swarm, hardiness, comb building and good temper.
BURR COMB: Small pieces of comb made as connecting links between combs or between a frame and the hive itself; also called brace comb.
CAGE SHIPPING: Also called a package, a screened box filled with 2 to 5 pounds of bees, with or without a queen, and supplied with a feeder can; used to start a new colony, or to boost a weak one.
CANDY PLUG: A fondant type candy placed in one end of a queen cage to delay her release.
CAPPED BROOD: Immature bees whose cells have been sealed over with a brown wax cover by other worker bees; inside, the non-feeding larvae are isolated and can spin cocoons prior to pupating.
CAPPINGS: The thin wax covering over honey; once cut off of extracting frames they are referred to as cappings and are a source of premium beeswax.
CAPPING SCRATCHER: A fork-like device used to remove wax cappings covering honey, so it can be extracted.
CARBOHYDRATE: A food (organic compound) composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen with the hydrogen:oxygen ratio frequently 2:1, as in water.
CARNIOLAN BEES: A grayish race of honey bee Apis mellifera carnica named for Carniola, Austria but originating in the Balkan region; while they are gentle and do not propolize, they tend to swarm more than other races.
CAUCASIAN BEES: A black race of honey bee A. mellifera caucasica, originating in the Caucasus mountains; gentle but tend to propolize excessively.
CELL CUPS: These are used in queen rearing. They can either be push in or base mount.
CELL PROTECTORS: These are used in queen rearing. They can either be push in meaning they can be pushed into place anywhere on drawn comb or base mount meaning they hang between top bars of frames for easy insertion/retrieval.
CHALKBROOD: A disease affecting bee larvae, caused by a fungus Ascosphaera apis, larvae eventually turn into hard, chalky white “mummies”.
CHIMNEY EFFECT: The tendency for bees to fill only the center frames of honey supers; happens when bees are given too much room too fast.
CHROMOSOME: A group of nuclear bodies (from the nucleus) containing genes; responsible for the differentiation and activity of a cell, and undergoing characteristic division stages such as mitosis.
CHUNK HONEY: Honey in the comb, but not in sections, frequently cut and packed into jars then filled with liquid honey.
COCOON: A thin silk covering secreted by larval honey bees in their cells in preparation for pupation.
COLONY COLLAPSE DISORDER (or CCD): Is a phenomenon in which worker bees from a beehive or Western 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. Aside from fundamental concerns about the survival of bee species, colony collapse is significant because many agricultural crops worldwide are pollinated by bees.
COMB: The wax portion of a colony in which eggs are laid, and honey and pollen are stored.
COMB, DRAWN: Wax foundation with the cell walls drawn out by the bees, completing the comb.
COMB HONEY: Honey in the wax combs, usually produced and sold as a separate unit, such as a wooden section 4-1/2” square, or a plastic round ring.
CONICAL ESCAPE: A cone-shaped bee escape, which permits bees, a one-way exit; used in a special escape board to free honey supers of bees.
CROSS-POLLINATION: The transfer of pollen from the anther of one flower to the stigma of another flower of the same species.
CREAMED HONEY: Honey that has been pasteurized and undergone controlled granulation to produce a finely textured candied or crystallized honey which spreads easily at room temperature.
CRYSTALIZE: See Granulate.
DEARTH: A period of time when there is no available forage for bees, due to weather conditions (rain, drought) or time of year.
DEXTROSE: Also known as glucose (grape sugar), it is a simple sugar (or monosaccharide) and is one of the two main sugars found in honey; forms most of the solid phase in granulated honey.
DIATASE: A starch digesting enzyme in honey adversely affected by heat; used in some countries to test quality and heating history of stored honey.
DISEASE RESISTENCE: The ability of an organism to avoid a particular disease; primarily due to genetic immunity or avoidance behavior.
DIVISION: See split.
DOUBLE STORY: Referring to a beehive comprised of two deep supers, one for brood and one for honey.
DRIFTING: The movement of bees that have lost their location and enter other hives; common when hives are placed in long straight rows where returning foragers from the center hives tend to drift to the row ends.
DRONE: The male honeybee which comes from an unfertilized egg (and is therefore haploid) laid by a queen or less commonly, a laying worker.
DRONE BROOD: Brood, which matures into drones, reared in cells larger than worker brood.
DRONE CONGREGATING AREA (DCA): A specific area to which drones fly waiting for virgin queens to pass by; it is not known how or when they are formed, but drones return to the same spots year after year.
DRONE LAYERS: A drone laying queen or laying workers.
DRONE LAYING QUEEN: A queen that can lay only unfertilized eggs, due to age, improper or no mating, disease or injury.
EGGS: The first phase in the bee life cycle, usually laid by the queen, is the cylindrical egg 1/16 in (1.6 mm) long; it is enclosed with a flexible shell or chorion.
ENTRANCE REDUCER: A notched wooden strip used to regulate the size of the bottom entrance.
ESCAPE BOARD: A board having one or more bee escapes in it; used to remove bees from supers.
EYELETS, METAL: A small metal piece fitting into the wire-holes of a frame’s end bar; used to keep the reinforcing wires from cutting into the wood.
EXTRACTED HONEY: Honey removed from combs by means of a centrifugal force; the combs remain intact.
FEEDERS: Various types of appliances for feeding bees artificially.
FERMENTING HONEY: Honey which contains too much water (greater than 20%) in which a chemical breakdown of the sugars takes place producing carbon dioxide and alcohol; caused by naturally-occurring osmophylic yeasts of the genus Saccharomeyces (formerly Zygosaccharomyces).
FERTILIZED: Usually refers to eggs laid by a queen bee, they are fertilized with sperm stored in the queen’s spermatheca, in the process of being laid.
FESTOONING: The activity of young bees, engorged with honey, hanging on to each other and secreting beeswax.
FIELD BEES: Worker bees which are usually 21 or more days old and work outside to collect nectar, pollen, water and propolis; also called foragers.
FLIGHT PATH: Usually refers to the direction bees fly leaving their colony; if obstructed, may cause bees to become aggravated.
FORAGE: Natural food source of bees (nectar and pollen) from wild and cultivated flowers.
FOREIGN MATTER: In honey, unusually high amounts of wax, bee bodies, pollen grains, or other objectionable debris.
FOUNDATION, WAX: Thin sheets of beeswax embossed or stamped with the base of a worker (or rarely drone) cells on which bees will construct a complete comb (called drawn comb); also referred to as comb foundation, it comes wired or unwired.
FOUNDATION, WIRED: Comb foundation which includes evenly-spaced vertical wires for added support; used in brood or extracting frames.
FOULBROOD, AMERICAN: A malignant, contagious bacterial disease affecting bee larvae caused by a spore-forming bacteria Bacillus larvae.
FOULBROOD, EUROPEAN: A serious, infectious larval disease of honeybees caused by Melissoccoccus pluton formerly Streptococcus pluton, a spore-forming bacteria.
FRAME: Four pieces of wood forming a rectangle, designed to hold honey comb, consisting of a top bar, two end bars, and a bottom bar (one or two pieces); usually spaced a bee-space apart in the super.
FRUCTOSE: See Levulose.
FUMEBOARD: A devise used to hold a set amount of a volatile chemical (A bee repellent like Bee Go) to drive bees from supers.
FUMAGILLIN: Bicyclohexyl-ammonium fumagillin, whose trade name is Fumadil-B (Abbot Labs), is a whitish soluble antibiotic powder discovered in 1952; it is mixed with sugar syrup and fed to bees to control Nosema disease.
GLOVES: Leather, cloth or rubber gloves worn while inspecting bees.
GLUCOSE: See Dextrose.
GLUCONIC ACID: See Acidity
GRANULATE: The process by which honey, a super-saturated solution (more solids than liquid) will become solid or crystallize; speed of granulation depends of the kinds of sugars in the honey.
GUARD BEES: Worker bees about three weeks old, which have their maximum amount of alarm pheromone and venom; they challenge all incoming bees and other intruders.
GUM: A hollow log beehive, sometimes called a log-gum (Appalachia), made by cutting out that portion of a tree containing bees and moving it to the apiary; since it contains no moveable frames, it is therefore illegal.
HAY FEVER: An allergic condition that afflicts many people; caused by various plant particles, airborne fungal spores or pollen.
HIVE: A manmade home for bees including a bottom board, hive bodies, frames enclosing honey combs, and covers.
HIVE BODY: A wooden box containing frames.
HIVE TOOL: A flat metal device with a curved scraping surface at one end and a flat blade at the other; used to open hives, pry apart and scrape frames.
HIVE STAND: A structure serving as a base support for a beehive; it helps in extending the life of the bottom board by keeping it off damp ground.
HIVE STAPLES: Large C-shaped metal nails, hammered into the wooden hive parts to secure bottom to supers, and supers to super before moving a colony.
HOFFMAN SELF-SPACING FRAME: Frames that have the end bars wider at the top than the bottom to provide the proper spacing when frames are placed in the hive.
HONEYDEW: An excreted material from insects in the order Homoptera (aphids) which feed on plant sap; since it contains almost 90% sugar, it is collected by bees and stored as honeydew honey.
HONEYBEE: The common name for Apis mellifera (Honey bearer), a highly social insect, Order Hymenoptera (membranous wings); correctly printed as two words.
HONEY COLOR: Measured by a Pfund grader, honey colors are classified between water white to white, to amber to dark amber (7 gradations).
HONEY FLOW: A time when enough nectar-bearing plants are blooming such that bees can store a surplus of honey.
HONEY GATE: A faucet used for removing honey from tanks and other storage receptacles.
HONEY HOUSE: A building used for activities such as honey extraction, packaging and storage.
HONEY SAC: Also called honey stomach, an enlargement at the posterior (back) end of a bees’ esophagus but lying in the front part of the abdomen, capable of expanding when full of liquid such as nectar or water.
HONEY SUPERS: Refers to hive bodies used for honey production.
HONEY PLANTS: Plants whose flower (or other parts) yields enough nectar to produce a surplus of honey; examples are asters, basswood, citrus, eucalyptus, goldenrod and tupelo.
HORNETS and YELLOW JACKETS: Social insects belonging to the family Vespidae. Nest in paper or foliage material, with only an overwintering queen. Fairly aggressive, and carnivorous, but generally beneficial, they can be a nuisance to man. Hornets and Yellow Jackets are often confused with Wasps and HoneyBees. Wasps are related to Hornets and Yellow Jackets, the most common of which are the paper wasps which nest in small exposed paper combs, suspended by a single support. Hornets, Yellow Jackets and Wasps are easy to distinguish by their larger size, shiny hairless body, and aggressiveness. HoneyBees are generally smaller, fuzzy brown or tan, and basically docile in nature.
HYPERSENSITIVE: A condition in which reactions to any environmental stimulus are life-threatening; such as honey bee venom.
IMPERFECT: Not fully formed, such as a worker, considered an imperfect female.
INCREASE: See Split.
INFERTILE: Incapable of producing a fertilized egg, as a laying worker.
INHIBINE: Antibacterial effect of honey caused by an accumulation of hydrogen peroxide, a result of the chemistry of honey.
INJECTIONS, DESENSITIZING: A series of injections given to persons with allergies (such as bee venom) so they might build up an immunity.
INNER COVER: An insulating cover fitting on top of the top super but underneath the outer cover, with an oblong hole in the center.
INSECTICIDE: Any chemical that kills insects.
INSPECTORS, STATE: Persons usually employed by state agriculture departments to inspect colonies of bees for diseases and pests.
INVERTASE: An enzyme in honey, which splits the sucrose molecule (a disaccharide) into its two components dextrose and levulose (monosaccharides).
ISOMERASE: A bacterial enzyme used to convert glucose in corn syrup into fructose, which is a sweeter sugar; called isomerose, is now used as a bee feed.
ITALIAN BEES: A common race of bees, Apis mellifera ligustica, with brown and yellow bands, from Italy; usually gentle and productive, but tend to rob.
LANGSTROTH, L. L.: A Philadelphia native and minister (1810-95), he lived for a time in Ohio where he continued his studies and writing of bees; recognized the importance of the bee space, resulting in the development of the movable-frame hive.
LARVA, CAPPED: The second developmental stage of a bee, ready to pupate or spin its cocoon (about the 10th day from the egg).
LAYING WORKERS: Worker bees which lay eggs in a colony hopelessly queenless; such eggs are infertile, since the workers cannot mate, and therefore become drones.
LEG BASKETS: Also called pollen baskets, a flattened depression surrounded by curved spines located on the outside of the tibiae of the bees’ hind legs and adapted for carrying flower pollen or other dusts.
LEVULOSE: Also called fructose (fruit sugar), a monosaccharide commonly found in honey that is slow to granulate (such as Robinia or locust honey); chemical formula is like glucose, but has it’s carbonyl group in a different place.
MANDIBLES: The jaws of an insect; used by bees to form the honey comb and scrape pollen, in fighting and picking up hive debris.
MATERNAL: From the mother’s side of the family.
MIDNIGHT HYBRID: A combination of the Caucasian and Carniolan races.
MIGRATORY COVER: An outer cover used without an inner cover that does not telescope over the sides of the hive; used by commercial beekeepers who frequently move hives.
MOISTURE CONTENT: In honey, the percentage of water should be no more than 18.6; any percentage higher than that will allow honey to ferment.
MOVABLE FRAMES: A frame constructed in such a way to preserve the bee space, so they can be easily removed; when in place, it remains unattached to its surroundings.
MOVING BOARD: A framed screen that fits over the top as a hive cover; used to move bees in hot weather to provide sufficient ventilation to keep bees from suffocating.
NATURAL HONEY: Unfiltered and unheated honey.
NECTAR: A liquid rich in sugars, manufactured by plants and secreted by nectary glands in or near flowers; the raw material for honey.
NECTARY GLANDS: Special nectar secreting glands usually found in flowers, whose function is to attract pollinating insects, such as honey bees for the purpose of cross pollination, by offering a carbohydrate-rich food.
NEWSPAPER METHOD: A technique to join together two strange colonies by providing a temporary newspaper barrier.
NOSEMA DISEASE: A widespread adult bee disease caused by a one-celled spore-forming organism Nosema apis; it infects the gut lining.
NUC, NUCLEUS: A small colony of bees often used in queen rearing.
ORIENTATION FLIGHTS: Short flights taken in front and in the vicinity of the hive by young bees to aquaint them with hive location; sometimes mistaken for robbing or swarming preparations.
OSMOTIC PRESSURE: The minimum pressure that must be applied to a solution to prevent it from gaining water when it is separated from pure water by a permeable membrane; in honey, its ability to absorb water from the air or other microscopic organisms, about 2000 milliosmols/kg.
OUTER COVER: The last cover that fits over a hive to protect it from rain; the two most common kinds are telescoping and migratory covers.
OUTYARD: Also called out apiary, it is an apiary kept at some distance from the home or main apiary of a beekeeper; usually over a mile away from the home yard.
OVARY: The egg producing part of a plant or animal.
OVULE: An immature female germ cell, which develops into a seed.
OXYTETRACYCLINE: An antibiotic sold under the trade name Terramycin; used to control American and European foulbrood diseases.
PACKAGE: See Shipping Cage.
PARTHENOGENESIS: The development of young from unfertilized eggs laid by virgin females (queen or worker); in bees, such eggs develop into drones.
PDB (PARADICHLOROBENZENE): A white crystalline substance whose vapors are heavier than air and are used to fumigate wax moths in stored hive bodies. Sold under the trade name Para-Moth.
PLAY FLIGHTS: Short flights taken in front and in the vicinity of the hive by young bees to acquaint them with hive location; sometimes mistaken for robbing or swarming preparations.
POISON SAC: Large oval sac containing venom and attached to the anterior (front) part of the sting; stores venom produced by the poison gland, and its primary ingredients are peptide and mellitin.
POLLEN: The dust-like male reproductive cells (gametophytes) of flowers, formed in the anthers, and important as a protein source for bees; pollen is essential for bees to rear brood.
POLLEN BASKET: See Leg Basket.
POLLEN PELLETS: The cakes of pollen packed in the leg baskets of bees and transported back to the colony.
POLLEN SUBSTITUTE: A food material which is used to substitute wholly for pollen in the bees’ diet; usually contains all or part of soy flour, brewers’ yeast, wheast, powdered sugar, or other ingredients.
POLLEN TRAP: A device for collecting the pollen pellets from the hind legs of worker bees; usually forces the bees to squeeze through a screen mesh, which scrapes off the pellets.
POLLEN TUBE: A slender thread-like growth, containing sperm cells, which penetrates the female tissue (stigma) of a flower until it eventually reaches the ovary; there the sperm cells unite with the ovule.
POLLINATION: The transfer of pollen from the anthers to the stigma of flowers.
PORTER BEE ESCAPE: Introduced in 1891, the escape is 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 but may clog since drone bees often get stuck.
PROPOLIS: Plant resins collected and modified by bees; used to fill in small spaces inside the hive.
PROPOLIZE: To fill with propolis, or bee glue; used to strengthen the comb and seal cracks, it also has antimicrobial properties.
PROTEIN: Naturally occurring complex organic substances, such as pollen; composed of amino acids, the building blocks of protein.
PUPA: The third stage in the development of the bee during which it is inactive and sealed in its cocoon; the organs of the 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; recognized by other bees by her special pheromones (odors).
QUEEN CAGE: A special cage in which queens are strongshipped and/or introduced to a colony, usually with 5 or 6 young workers called attendants, and a candy plug.
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 CUP: A cup-shaped cell hanging vertically from the comb, but containing no egg; also made artificially of wax or plastic to raise queens
QUEEN EXCLUDER: A device made of wire, wood or zinc (or any combination thereof) having openings of .163 to .164 inch, which permits workers to pass but excludes queens and drones; used to confine the queen to a specific part of the hive, usually the brood nest.
QUEENRIGHT: A colony that contains a laying queen.
RACES OF BEES: The four most common races of Apis are mellifera, cerana, dorsata and florea; other newly discovered races are currently under investigation.
RADIAL EXTRACTOR: A centrifugal force machine to throw out honey but leave the combs intact; the frames are placed like spokes of a wheel, top bars towards the wall, to take advantage of the upward slope of the cells.
RAW HONEY: See Natural Honey.
REFRACTOMETER: Measures moisture of honey. Optical or digital models available.
REQUEEN: To introduce a new queen to a queenless hive.
REVERSING: The act of exchanging places of different hive bodies of the same colony; usually for the purpose of nest expansion, the super full of brood and the queen is placed below an empty super to allow the queen extra laying space.
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.
ROPY CHARACTERISTIC: A diagnostic test for American foulbrood in which the decayed larvae form an elastic rope when drawn out with a toothpick.
ROUND SECTIONS: Sections of comb honey in plastic round rings instead of square wooden boxes.
ROYAL JELLY: A highly nutritious, milky white glandular secretion of young (nurse) bees; used to feed the queen and young larvae.
SACBROOD: A brood disease of bees caused by a filterable virus which interferes with the molting process; the dead larva resembles a bag of fluid.
SCREENED VENTILATED BOARD: A framed screen used to cover the top of a hive being moved in hot weather.
SECTIONS: Small wooden (or plastic) boxes used to produce comb honey.
SELF-POLLINATION: The act of a single flower, or flower from the same plant, pollinating itself.
SELF-STERILE: The inability of a flower, such as a fruit tree, to be fertilized within its own variety; it is only fertilized by pollen from another variety.
SETTLING TANK: A large capacity container used to settle extracted honey; air bubbles and debris will float to the top, clarifying the honey.
SKEP: A beehive without moveable frames, usually made of twisted straw in the form of a basket; its use is illegal in the U.S.
SLUMGUM: The refuse from melted combs and cappings after the wax has been rendered or removed; usually contains cocoons, pollen, bee bodies and dirt.
SMALL HVE BEETH (or SHB): 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. Its absence can also be a marker in the diagnosis of Colony Collapse Disorder for honey-bees. 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: A metal container with attached bellows which burns organic fuels to generate smoke; used to control aggressive behavior of bees during colony inspections.
SOLAR WAX MELTER OR EXTRACTOR: A glass-covered insulated box used to melt wax from combs and cappings using the heat of the sun.
SPERM CELLS: The male reproductive cells (gametes) which fertilize eggs; also called spermatozoa.
SPERMATHECA: A small sac connected with the oviduct (vagina) of the queen bee in, which is stored, the spermatozoa received in mating with drones.
SPLIT: To divide a colony for the purpose of increasing the number of hives.
An Italian bee hybrid known for vigor and honey production.
STIGMA: Receptive portion of the female part of a flower to which pollen adheres.
STING: An organ belonging exclusively to female insects developed from egg laying mechanisms, used to defend the colony; modified into a piercing shaft through which venom is injected.
STING SAC: See Poison Sac.
STRAINING SCREEN: A metal or plastic screen through which honey is filtered; also serves as a base for other, finer screening material.
SUGAR SYRUP: Feed for bees, containing sucrose or table (cane) sugar and hot water in various ratios.
SUPER: A receptacle in which bees store honey; usually placed over or above the brood nest; so called brood supers contain brood.
SUPERING: The act of placing honey supers on a colony in expectation of a honey flow.
SUPERSEDURE: Rearing a new queen to replace the mother queen in the same hive; shortly after the daughter queen begins to lay eggs, the mother queen disappears.
SURPLUS HONEY: Any extra honey removed by the beekeeper, over and above what the bees require for their own use, such as winter food stores.
SWARM: A collection of bees, containing at least one queen that split apart from the mother colony to establish a new one; a natural method of propagation of honey bees.
SWARMING SEASON: The time of year, usually mid-summer, when swarms usually issue.
TERRAMYCIN: See Oxytetracycline.
THORAX: The central region of an insect to which the wings and legs are attached.
TOP BAR: The top part of a frame.
TOP COVER: This is usually a wooden cover that fits on the top of the hive and telescopes down around the inner cover and an inch or so down over the top super and is called a telescoping cover. Many commercial beekeepers use what is called a migratory cover, which is a solid cover that does not extend beyond the sides of a hive body.
TRACHEAL MITE: The microscopic internal mite clogs the breathing tubes of adult bees, blocking oxygen flow and eventually killing them. Also called acarine disease, it affects the flight efficiency and causes a large number of crawling bees outside the hive that are unable to fly. The inability to fly can contribute to losses of field bees and reduction of food stores in the colony. Another symptom is the abnormal “disjointed” position of the wings of walking bees.
TRAVEL STAINS: The darkened appearance on the surface of honeycomb caused by bees walking over its surface.
UNCAPPING KNIFE: A knife used to shave off the cappings of sealed honey prior to extraction; hot water, steam or electricity can heat the knives.
UNCAPPING TANK: A container over which frames of honey are uncapped; usually strains out the honey which is then collected.
UNFERTILIZED: An ovum or egg, which has not been united with the sperm.
VARROA JACOBSONI: An external mite parasite on honeybees.
VARROA MITE: An external parasitic mite that attacks honey bees by attaching itself to them.
VEIL: A protective netting that covers the face and neck; allows ventilation, easy movement and good vision.
VIRGIN QUEEN: An unmated queen bee.
WARMING CABINET: An insulated box or room heated to liquefy honey.
WASP: A close relative of honey bees, usually in the family Vespidae; they are carnivorous, some species preying on bees (see also, Hornet).
WAX: See Beeswax.
WAX GLANDS: The eight glands located on the last 4 visible, ventral abdominal segments of young worker bees; they secrete beeswax droplets.
WAX MOTHS: Usually refers to the Greater Wax Moth, Galleria mellonella whose larvae bore through and destroy honeycomb as they eat out its impurities.
WAX SCALE: A drop of liquid beeswax that hardens into a scale upon contact with air; in this form it is shaped into comb.
WAX TUBE FASTENER: A metal tube for applying a fine stream of melted wax to secure a sheet of foundation to an un-grooved frame.
WIND POLLINATED: Plants whose flowers manufacture light pollen (and usually no nectar) which is released into the air to fall by chance on a receptive stigma; examples include the grasses (corn, oats) and conifers (pines).
WINDBREAKS: Specially constructed, or naturally occurring barriers to reduce the force of the (winter) winds on a beehive.
WINTER CLUSTER: A tight ball of bees within the hive to generate heat; forms when outside temperature falls below 57 degrees F.
WINTER HARDINESS: The ability of some strains of honeybees to survive long winters by frugal use of stored honey.
WIRE, FRAME: Thin 28# wire used to reinforce foundation destined for the broodnest or honey extractor.
WIRE CONE ESCAPE: A one-way cone formed by window screen mesh used to direct bees from a house or tree into a temporary hive.
WORKER BEES: Infertile female bee whose reproductive organs are only partially developed, responsible for carrying out all the routine of the colony.
Reprinted with permission from The New Starting Right With Bees A Beginner’s Handbook on Beekeeping, 21st Edition. A.I. ROOT CO., Publisher. This book and many others available online. Click here to browse the book section of our online catalog.