Honey Bee Glossary from Bee Wilde
Honeybee hives have long provided humans with honey and beeswax. Such commercial uses have spawned a large beekeeping industry, though many species still occur in the wild. All honeybees are social and cooperative insects. A hive’s inhabitants are generally divided into three types. Below are many different terms from our honey bee glossary to help you better understand articles about honey bees when words are used that are unknown to you.
Bee Wildes’ honey bee glossary below to help you better understand our bee terminology so you can understand how and where your local raw honey comes from, and how we get it:
Abdomen the third region of the body of a bee enclosing the honey stomach, true stomach, intestine, sting, and reproductive organs.
Absconding swarm an entire colony of bees that abandons the hive because of disease, wax moth, excessive heat or water, lack of resources, or other reasons.
Acarine disease The name of the disease caused by the tracheal mite (Acarapis woodi). See Tracheal mite.
Afterswarm a small swarm which may leave the hive after the first or primary swarm has departed. These afterswarms usually have less bees associated with them than the primary swarm.
American foulbrood a brood disease of honey bees caused by the spore-forming bacterium, Paenibacillus larvae. The spore stage of the bacterium can remain viable for many years, making is difficult to eliminate the disease.
Apiary colonies, hives, and other equipment assembled in one location for beekeeping operations; also known as a bee yard.
Apiculture the science and art of raising honey bees.
Apis mellifera scientific name of the honey bee found in the United States.
Paenibacillus larvae the bacterium that causes American foulbrood.
Bee blower an engine with attached blower used to dislodge bees from combs in a honey super by creating a high-velocity, high-volume wind.
Bee bread a mixture of collected pollen and nectar or honey, deposited in the cells of a comb to be used as food by the bees.
Bee brush a brush or whisk broom used to gently remove bees from combs.
Bee escape a device used to remove bees from honey supers or buildings by permitting bees to pass one way but preventing their return.
Beehive a box or receptacle with movable frames, used for housing a colony of bees.
Bee metamorphosis the three stages through which a bee passes before reaching maturity: egg, larva, and pupa. During the pupal stage, large fat reserves are used to transform both the internal and external anatomy of the bee.
Bee space 3/8-inch space between combs and hive parts in which bees build no comb or deposit only a small amount of propolis. Bee spaces are used as corridors to move within the hive.
Beeswax a complex mixture of organic compounds secreted by four pairs of special glands on the worker bee’s abdomen and used for building comb. Its melting point is from 143.6 to 147.2 degrees F.
Bee veil a cloth or form of hat usually made of wire netting to protect the beekeeper’s head and neck from stings.
Bee venom the poison secreted by special glands attached to the stinger of the bee.
Boardman feeder a device for feeding bees that consists of an inverted jar with an attachment allowing access to the hive entrance.
Bottom board – the floor of a beehive that all the other components build upon.
Brace comb a small bit of wax built between two combs or frames to fasten them together. Brace comb is also built between a comb and adjacent wood, or between two wooden parts such as top bars.
Braula coeca the scientific name of a wingless fly commonly known as the bee louse.
Brood immature bees that not yet emerged from their cells. Brood can be in the form of eggs, larvae, or pupae of different ages.
Brood chamber the part of the hive in which the brood is reared; may include one or more hive bodies and the combs within.
Burr comb a bit of wax built upon a comb or upon a wooden part in a hive but not connected to any other part.
Capped brood pupae whose cells have been sealed with a porous cover by mature bees to isolate them during their nonfeeding pupal period; also called sealed brood.
Cappings a thin layer of wax used to cover the full cells of honey. This layer of wax is sliced from the surface of a honey-filled comb.
Castes a term used to describe social insects of the same species and sex that differ in morphology or behavior. In honey bees there are two castes, workers and queens. The drones are a different sex and therefore not included.
Cell the hexagonal compartment of comb built by honeybees.
Chilled brood Bee larvae and pupae that have died from exposure to cold. This typically occurs in spring when the colony is expanding rapidly and on cold nights there aren’t enough bees to keep the brood warm.
Chunk honey honey cut from frames and placed in jars along with liquid honey.
Clarifying removing visible foreign material from honey or wax to increase its purity.
Clarifying Tank any tank or holding vessel that is use to temporarily store honey while the wax and other material separate from the honey.
Cluster a large group of bees hanging together, one upon another.
Colony all the worker bees, drones, queen, and developing brood living together in one hive or other dwelling.
Comb a mass of six-sided cells made by honey bees in which brood is reared and honey and pollen are stored; composed of two layers united at their bases.
Comb foundation a commercially made structure consisting of thin sheets of beeswax with the cell bases of worker cells embossed on both sides in the same manner as they are produced naturally by honey bees.
Comb honey honey produced and sold in the comb. It is produced either by cutting the comb from the frame or when the comb is built in special frames which allow for its easy removal.
Creamed honey honey which has crystallized under controlled conditions to produce a tiny crystal and a smooth texture. Often a starter or seed is used to help control the crystallization.
Crimp-wired foundation comb foundation which crimp wire is embedded vertically during the manufacturing of the foundation. The wire increases the strength of the foundation.
Cross-pollination the transfer of pollen from an anther of one plant to the stigma of a different plant of the same species.
Crystallization the formation of sugar crystals in honey. Syn. Granulation
Cut-comb honey comb honey cut into various sizes, the edges drained, and the pieces wrapped or packed individually
Egg The first stage of bee metamorphosis. The egg is placed in a cell by the queen bee. A fertilized egg develops into a worker bee. An unfertilized egg develops into a drone.
European foulbrood an infectious brood disease of honey bees caused by streptococcus.
Extracted honey honey removed from the comb by centrifugal force.
Fermentation a chemical breakdown of honey, caused by sugar-tolerant yeast and associated with honey having a high moisture content.
Fertile queen a queen, inseminated instrumentally or mated with a drone, which can lay fertilized eggs.
Field bees worker bees at least three weeks old that work in the field to collect nectar, pollen, water, and propolis.
Food chamber a hive body filled with honey for winter stores.
Foundation a thin sheet either of plastic or beeswax, with the cell bases of worker cells embossed on both sides in the way as they are produced naturally by honeybees. Foundation is placed within a wooden frame before installing in the hive. If the foundation is plastic, it is normally sprayed with beeswax, as shown here, to induce the bees to build out the comb on the embossed cells.
Frame four pieces of wood designed to hold honey comb, consisting of a top bar, a bottom bar, and two end bars.
Fructose the predominant simple sugar found in honey; also known as levulose.
Grafting removing a worker larva from its cell and placing it in an artificial queen cup in order to have it reared into a queen.
Granulation the formation of sugar (dextrose) crystals in honey.
Honey sweet food made by bees from nectar.
Honeybee an insect who lives in a colony and collects nectar and pollen to produce honey.
Larva the second stage in the growth of a new bee.
Metamorphosis the transformation process from a pupa to an insect.
Nectar a liquid found in flowers and collected by bees and made into honey.
Pheromone a chemical scent released by insects and other animals to communicate messages to other of their species.
Pollen a powder found on flowers and used in plant reproduction. Bees use pollen as a food source.
Pollination the transfer of pollen (from the male part) of one flower to the stigma (female part) of another flower. Pollination is needed for the growth of many fruits.
Propoli: a sticky substance collected by bees from trees and other plants which they use to seal cracks in the hive. Also known as bee glue.
Pupa the third and final stage of a new bee’s development before it becomes a mature bee.
Queen the only female in the colony who lays eggs to make baby bees.
Royal jelly a very nutritious substance produced by the glands of worker bees and fed to the brood and queen.
Smoker a tool which produces smoke and calms the bees to make it easier and safer for the beekeeper to work with the colony.
Stinger a part of the bee that is used to iinject venom (poison) into its enemy. A worker bee can only sting once and then she dies.
Swarm a large group of bees and a queen that escape their hive in search for a new home.
Venom a poisonous liquid secreted by bees defending their colony.
Worker bee a female bee that has many jobs in the hive.
About Bee Wilde’s Honey Bee Glossary
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