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This method of getting the bees out of the supers by pulling each box off the hive and set it on its end so the top and bottom are exposed. This is best done at the end of the flow but not during a dearth and just after sunset but before dark.


The posterior or third region of the bee's body enclosing stomach, stomach, intestines, sting and the reproductive organs.


When the entire colony of bees abandons the hive because of pests, disease or other adverse conditions.


Chemicals (systemic poisons) such as Amitraz, Fluvalinate, Cumaphos or other redesignated Insecticides used to kill mites.

Accelerated queen rearing

A system of mating nucs where two queens mate indifference of a week. The first is a nursery cage and another one a loose and mating. Every week the one that is now mated is removed the one in the cage is released and the new cell is put in with a hair curler cage on it.

Acute Paralysis Virus (APV)

A viral disease of adult bees which affects their ability to use legs or wings normally. It can kill adults and brood.


A swarm headed by a virgin queen present after primary swarm.

Alarm pheromone

A chemical (iso-pentyl acetate) substance released near the worker bee's sting to alerts the hive to an attack.

Alcohol wash

Method of putting a cupful of bees in a jar with alcohol to kill the bees and mites for counting Varroa mites.

Allergic reaction = A lethal reaction to bee venom usually characterized by hives, breathing difficulty, or loss of consciousness.

Alley Method 

A graftless method of queen rearing system where bees are put in a "swarm box" to convince them of their queenlessness

Anaphylactic shock

Constriction of smooth muscle including bronchial tubes and blood vessels of a human-caused by hypersensitivity to venom which results in sudden death.


One of two sensory organs located on the head of the bee, which enable bees to smell and taste. Attendants = Worker bees that are attending the queen in cages to care.


A bee yard.


A beekeeper.


The scientific art of raising honey bees.

Apis mellifera

The bee originating in Europe.

Bacillus larvae

The outdated name for Paenibacillus Larvae, bacteria causing American Foulbrood.

Bacillus Thuringiensis

A naturally occurring bacteria that is sprayed on an empty comb to kill wax moths.


A term coined by Walt Wright to describe the process where bees put honey in the brood nest to prevent the queen from laying and to prepare for swarming.

Bait Hive/ Decoy hive/ Swarm trap

A hive placed to attract stray swarms. Optimum bait hive: At least 20 litres of volume. 9 feet off the ground. Small entrance. Old comb. Lemongrass oil. Queen substance.


Worker bees surrounding a queen either to confine her of either rejection or protect her.

Banking queens

Putting multiple caged queens in a nuc or hive.


When bees congregate on the front of the hive.

Bee blower

A gas or electric blower used to blow bees from supers when harvesting.

Bee bread

Fermented pollen stored in the hive and used to feed brood and the queen.

Bee brush

Soft brush or whisk or large feather or handful of grass used to remove bees from combs.

Bee escape

A device constructed to permit bees to clear bees from supers. The most common is Porter escape which allows bees to pass one way and prevent their return.

Bee Go

Butyric (Smelling like vomit) which is used to drive bees from supers. Bee Gum = A piece of a hollow tree used for a hive.

Bee haver

A term used for those having bees but have not learned enough about beekeeping.

Bee Parasitic Mite Syndrome (Parasitic Mite Syndrome)

A set of symptoms caused by major infestation of Varroa mites; presence of Varroa mites or various brood diseases with symptoms similar to foulbrood and sacbrood but with no predominant pathogen.

Bee Quick

A chemical, that smells like benzaldehyde that is used to drive bees from supers.

Bee space

Space [usually 1/4 - 3/8 inch (6mm and 10mm)] which permits free passage for a bee. Its small enough to encourage comb building but large to induce propolizing.

Bee suit

A pair of white coveralls made for beekeepers to protect them from stings and keep their clothes clean. Most come with zip-on veils. Bee tree = A hollow tree occupied by a colony of bees.

Bee vacuum

A vacuum used to suck up bees when doing a cutout or removal, but with careful adjustment to not kill them.

Bee veil

Netting for protecting the beekeeper's head and neck from stings.

Bee venom

The poison secreted by special glands attached to the stinger of the bee which is injected into the victim of a sting.


A box with movable frames, used for housing a colony of bees.


Finding feral bees by establishing the line including mark and time of bees to get the distance which the bees fly back to their home.

Beek /Beekeeper

One who keeps bees.


A substance that is secreted by bees through special glands on underside of abdomen usually deposited as thin scales for constructing the honeycomb. It's melting point is 145°F (63°C) and flashpoint is 400°F (204.4°C)

Better Queen's method

A graftless queen rearing method similar to Isaac Hopkins' actual queen rearing method using a new comb instead of old.


A beekeeping supply company out of New York having eight frame equipment.


A colourless nontoxic liquid aldehyde (C6H5CHO) having an odor of bitter almond oil, used to drive bees out of honey supers.

Black scale

Refers to dried pupa died of American Foulbrood.

Bottling tank

A food grade tank holding 5 or more gallons honey, usually equipped with honey gate to fill honey jars.

Bottom bar

The horizontal piece of the frame that is on the bottom of the frame.

Bottom board

The floor of a beehive.

Bottom supering

The act of placing honey supers under all the existing supers, directly on top of the brood box opposing a theory that bees work better when placed above the brood chamber directly.

Box Jig

Jig for nailing boxes.

Brace comb

A bit of comb built between two combs, comb and adjacent wood, or two wooden parts such as top bars to fasten them together.

Braula coeca

A wingless fly commonly known as the bee louse.

Breeder hive

The donor hive from which eggs or larvae are taken for queen rearing.


Used to keep the lids from blowing off in the wind and often used in particular configurations as visual clues as to the state of a hive.


Immature bees not yet emerged from their cells; in other words, egg, larvae or pupae.

Brood chamber

The part of the hive in which the brood is reared; may include one or more hive bodies and the combs within. Sometimes used to refer to a deep box as these are commonly used for brood.

Brood nest

The part of the hive interior in which brood is reared; usually the two bottom boxes. Brushy Mountain = A beekeeping supply company out of North Carolina. A big proponent of all mediums and eight frame boxes. They have many items no one else has.


Catagory of bees developed by Brother Adam at Buckfast Abbey in England. They are known for disease resistance, disinclination to swarm, hardiness, comb building and good temper.

Bacillus Thuringiensis(BT)

A naturally occurring bacteria that is sprayed on the empty comb to kill wax moths. Burr comb = Small pieces of comb outside of the normal space in the frame where the comb is usually present like Brace comb.

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.

Capping melter

Melter used to liquefy the wax from cappings as they are removed from honey combs.


The thin wax covering over honey; once cut off of extracting frames.

Capping scratcher

A fork-like device used to remove wax cappings covering honey, so it can be extracted.


The three types of bees that comprise the adult population of a honey bee colony: workers, drones, and queen


Used for wheeling boxes or hives around. Cell = The hexagonal compartment of a honey comb.

Cell bar

A wooden strip on which queen cups are suspended for rearing queen bees.

Cell cup

Base of an artificial queen cell, made of beeswax or plastic and used for rearing queen bees.

Cell finisher

A hive used to finish queen cells; queenright or queenless.

Cell starter

A hive used to start queen cells; "swarm box" or "queenless hive".

Chest hive

A hive that is laid out horizontally instead of vertically.

Chilled brood

Immature bees that have died from mismanagement or sudden cold spells.


When the bees fill only the center frames of honey supers.

Chinese grafting tool

Grafting tool made of plastic, horn and bamboo that has a retractable "tongue" sliding under larvae and pushes it off of the "tongue" when released.


Constructing material of insects exoskeleton.

Chronic Paralysis Virus (CPV )

Causing bees trembling, disability to fly and distended abdomens. Sometimes called hairless black syndrome & recognized by hairless, black shiny bees crawling at the hive entrance.

Chunk honey

Honey in the comb, but not in sections, frequently cut and packed into jars then filled with liquid honey.


Removing visible foreign material from honey or wax to increase its purity.


The practice of taking part of one or both wings off of a queen both for discouraging or slowing swarming and for identification of the queen.

Cloake Board (Floor without a floor)

A device to divide a colony into a queenless cell starter and reunite it as a queenright cell finisher without having to open the hive.


The thickest part of the bees on a warm day, usually core of the brood nest. It is used to refer both the location and the bees in that location.


A thin silk covering secreted by larval honey bees in their cells in preparation for pupation.

Coffin hive

a hive that is laid out horizontally instead of vertically.


The aggregate of worker bees, drones, queen, and developing brood living together as a family unit in a hive or other dwelling.

Colony Collapse Disorder

A recently named problem where most of the bees in most of the hives in an apiary disappear leaving a queen, healthy brood and only a few bees in the hive with plenty of stores.


The wax portion of a colony in which eggs are laid, and honey and pollen are stored shaped like hexagons.

Comb foundation

A commercially made structure consisting of thin sheets of beeswax with the cell bases of worker cells embossed on both sides to induce the bees to build a particular size of cells.

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.

Compressing a hive

Removing all excess space that is not occupied by the bees. This is a solution to several beekeeping problems including a failure to thrive, wax moths and small hive beetles as well as good preparation for winter.

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.

Creamed honey

Honey that has undergone controlled granulation to produce a finely textured candied or crystallized honey which spreads easily at room temperature. This usually involves adding fine "seed" crystals and keeping at 57° F (14° C).

Crimp-wired foundation

Comb foundation into which crimp wire is embedded vertically during foundation manufacture.


A device used to put a ripple in the frame wire to both make it tight and to distribute stress better and give more surface to bind it to the wax.


 A particular brand of graftless queen rearing system.

Cut-comb Honey

Comb honey cut into various sizes, the edges drained, and the pieces wrapped or packed individually.


Removing a colony of bees from somewhere that they don't have movable comb by cutting out the combs and tying them into frames.

Dadant deep

A box designed by C.P. Dadant that is 11 5/8" deep and the frame is 11 1/4" deep. Sometimes called Jumbo or Extra Deep.


A period of time when there is no available forage for bees, due to weather conditions (rain, drought) or time of year.

Decoy hive or Bait hive or Swarm trap = A hive placed to attract stray swarms.


A box that is 9 5/8" deep and the frame is 9 1/4" deep. Sometimes called a Langstroth Deep.

Deformed Wing Virus

A virus spread by the Varroa mite that causes crumpled looking wings on fuzzy newly emerged bees.


The method of swarm control that separates the queen from most of the brood within the same hive and causes them to raise another queen with the goal of a two queen hive, increased production and reduced swarming.


The measurement of a box or frame vertically.


To remove a queen from a colony.


Wax scales and debris that sometimes build up at the bottom of a natural colony.


Commonly known as glucose (simple sugar or monosaccharide) and is one of the two main sugars found in honey.


A starch digesting enzyme in honey adversely affected by heat; used in some countries to test quality and heating history of stored honey.

Disease resistance

The ability of an organism to avoid a particular disease; primarily due to genetic immunity or avoidance behavior.


Separating a colony to form two or more colonies.


Separating a colony to form two or more colonies.

Division board

A wooden or plastic piece like a frame but tight all the way around used to divide one box into more compartments for nucs.

Division board feeder or Frame feeder

A wooden or plastic compartment which is hung in a hive like a frame and contains sugar syrup to feed bees.


Bees that live in a manmade hive. Since all bees are pretty much wild this is a relative term.

Doolittle method

A method (Named after G.M. Doolittle) of queen rearing that involves grafting young larvae into queen cups.

Double screen

A wooden frame, 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick, with two layers of wire screen to separate two colonies within same hive.

Double story or Double deeps

Referring to a beehive wintering in two deep boxes.

Double wide

A box that is twice as wide as a ten frame box. 32 1/2" wide.

Drawn combs

Full depth comb ready for brood or nectar with the cell walls drawn out by bees, completing the comb as foundation that's not been worked by the bees and has no cell walls yet.


The movement of bees loosing their location and enter hives other than their own home. This usually happens when hives are placed in long straight rows where returning foragers from the center hives tend to drift to the row ends or when making splits and the field bees drift back to the original hive.


The male honeybee which comes from an unfertilized egg (and is therefore haploid) laid by a queen or less commonly, a laying worker.

Drone comb

Comb that is made up of cells larger than worker brood, usually in the range of 5.9 to 7.0mm in which drones are reared and honey and pollen are stored.

Drone brood

Brood which matures into drones noticeably larger than worker brood and the cappings are distinctly dome shaped.

Drone Congregation Area

A mating area that drones from many surrounding hives congregate and wait for a queen to come. Drones find them by following both pheromone trials and topographical features of the landscape such as tree rows.

Drone layers

A drone laying queen (one with no sperm left to fertilize eggs) or laying workers.

Drone laying queen

A queen that can lay only unfertilized eggs, due to age, improper or late mating, disease or injury.

Drone mother hive

The hive which is encouraged to raise a lot of drones to improve the drone side of mating queens.


Tapping or thumping on the sides of a hive to make the bees ascend into another hive placed over it or to drive them out of a tree or house.


Any rapid decline in the population of the hive by dying of old bees; sometimes called spring dwindling or disappearing disease.


A condition of adult bees characterized by severe diarrhea, usually caused by long confinement (from either cold or beekeeper manipulation), starvation, low-quality food, or nosema infection.

Eight frame

Boxes that were made to take eight frames. Usually between 13 3/4" and 14" wide depending on the manufacturer.


The first phase in the bee life cycle, usually laid by the queen, is the cylindrical egg 1/16in (1.6 mm) long; it is enclosed with a flexible shell or chorion. It resembles a small grain of rice.


The term originated with skeps and usually refers to a shim that is either added to the top for feeding things like pollen patties or added under a shallow to make it into a deep. The term is used more frequently in Britain.

Electric embedder

A device allowing rapid embedding of wires in foundation with electrically produced heat.

End bar 

The piece of a frame that is on the ends of the frame. In other words the vertical pieces of the frame.

Entrance reducer

A wooden strip used to regulate the size of the entrance.

Escape board

A board having one or more bee escapes in it used to remove bees from supers.


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.

Extra shallow

A box that is 4 11/16 or 4 3/4" inches deep and used for cutting comb.

Extracted honey

Honey removed from combs usually by means of a centrifugal force (an extractor) in order to leave the combs intact.

Ezi Queen

A particular brand of graftless queen rearing system.

Fermenting honey

Honey which contains too much water (greater than 20%) in which yeast has grown and caused it to turn into carbon dioxide, water and alcohol.

Feral (queen or bees)

The term for survivor bees that were captured and used to raise queens meaning they WERE feral as opposed to ARE feral.

Fertile queen

An inseminated queen.


Usually refers to eggs laid by queen bee usually fertilized with sperm stored in queen's spermatheca and develops into workers or queens.


The activity of young bees, engorged with honey, hanging on to each other usually to secrete beeswax but also in bearding and swarming.

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.

Flash heater

A device for heating honey very rapidly to prevent it from being damaged by sustained periods of high temperature.

Flight path 

Usually refers to the direction bees fly leaving their colony; if obstructed, may cause bees to accidentally collide with the person obstructing and eventually become aggravated.

Floor Without a Floor(FWOF)

A device to divide a colony into a queenless cell starter and reunite it as a queenright cell finisher without having to open the hive.

Follower board

A thin board used in place of a frame having a bee space around it and used to make the frames easier to remove without rolling and cut down on condensation on the walls.

Food chamber 

A hive body filled with honey for winter stores. Typically a third deep used in unlimited brood nest management.


Natural food source of bees (nectar and pollen) from wild and cultivated flowers. Or the act of gathering that food.


Worker also called field bees usually 21 or more days old and work outside to collect nectar, pollen, water and propolis.


Thin sheets of beeswax embossed or stamped with the base of a worker cells on which bees construct a complete comb (called drawn comb). Its also referred as comb foundation, coming out of wired/unwired, plastic or one piece foundations and frames as well as different thicknesses (thin surplus, surplus, medium) and different cell sizes (brood =5.4mm, small cell = 4.9mm, drone=6.6mm).


A frame with some kind of comb guide that is used without foundation.


A rectangular structure of wood designed to hold honeycomb, consisting of a top bar, two end bars, and a bottom bar; usually spaced a bee-space apart in the super.

Fructose = Fruit sugar, also known as levulose (left handed sugar), commonly found in honey that is slow to granulate.


Bicyclohexyl-ammonium fumagillin (trade name Fumadil-B) now called Fumagillin-B, is a whitish soluble antibiotic powder discovered in 1952; some beekeepers mix this with sugar syrup and feed it to bees to control Nosema disease.

Fume board 

A device used to hold a set amount of a volatile chemical (A bee repellent like Bee Go or Honey Robber or Bee Quick) to drive bees from supers.


Leather, cloth or rubber gloves worn while inspecting bees.


Removing a worker larva from its cell and placing it in an artificial queen cup in order to have it reared into a queen.

Grafting tool = A needle or probe used for transferring larvae in grafting of queen cells.


The process by which honey will become solid or crystallize. Its speed depends on basis of kinds of sugars, crystal seeds (such as pollen or sugar crystals) and the temperature {57° F (14° C )}.

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.


A hollow log beehive made by cutting out that portion of a tree containing bees and moving it to the apiary, or by cutting a hollow portion of a log, putting a board on for a lid and hiving a swarm in it.

Hair clip queen catcher

A device used to catch a queen that resembles a hair clip. Available from most beekeeping supply houses.


The scientific name for insect "blood."


A home for a colony of bees.

Hive body

A wooden box containing frames. Usually referring to the size of box being used for brood.

Hive stand

A structure serving as a base support for a beehive, helps in extending lifes-span of bottom board by keeping it off damp ground. Hive stands may be built from treated lumber, cedar, bricks, concrete blocks etc.

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.

Hive tool

A flat metal device with a curved scraping surface or a lifting hook at one end and a flat blade at the other; used to open hives, pry apart and scrape frames.

Hoffman 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.


A sweet viscid material (containing small amounts of sucrose, mineral matter, vitamins, proteins, and enzymes) produced by bees from the nectar of flowers, composed largely of a mixture of dextrose and levulose dissolved in water.

Honey bound

A condition where the brood nest of a hive is being backfilled with honey. This is a normal condition that is used by the workers to shut down the queen's brood production. It usually happens just before swarming and in the fall to prepare for winter.


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.


The common name for Apis mellifera.

Honeybee Healthy

A mixture of essential oils (lemon grass and peppermint) sold to boost the immune system of the bees.

Honey crop

An enlargement at the posterior 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 extractor

A machine which removes honey from the cells of comb by centrifugal force.

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 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.

Honey Super Cell

Fully drawn plastic comb in deep depth and 4.9mm cell size.

Honey supers

Refers to boxes of frames used for honey production. From the Latin "super" for above as a designation for any box above the brood nest.

Hopkins method

A graftless method of queen rearing that involves putting a frame of young larvae horizontally above a brood nest.

Hopkins shim

A shim used to turn a frame flatways for queen rearing without grafting.

Horizontal hive

A hive that is laid out horizontally instead of vertically in order to eliminate lifting boxes.

Housel positioning theory

A theory proposed by Michael Housel that natural brood nests have a predictable orientation of the "Y" in the bottom of the cells.

Hydroxymethyl furfural

A naturally occurring compound in honey that rises over time and rises when honey is heated.

Hypopharyngeal gland

A gland located in the head of a worker bee that secretes "royal jelly". This rich blend of proteins and vitamins is fed to all bee larvae for the first three days of their lives and queens during their entire development.


A queen excluder put between the queen and the exit (with a bottom entrance that means on the bottom board) to keep the queen from leaving. This should only be done for a short time as it will clog up with dead drones.


To add to the number of colonies, usually by dividing those on hand.


Incapable of producing a fertilized egg, as a laying worker or drone laying queen.


Antibacterial effect of honey caused by enzymes and an accumulation of hydrogen peroxide, a result of the chemistry of honey.

Inner cover

An insulating cover fitting on top of the top super but underneath the outer cover, with an oblong hole in the center. Used to be called a "quilt board". In the old days these were often made of cloth.


Stages of larval development. A Honeybee goes through five instars. The best queens are grafted in the 1st (preferably) or 2nd instar and not later than that.

Instrumental insemination aka II or AI

The introduction of drone spermatozoa into the spermatheca of a virgin queen by means of special instruments.


An enzyme in honey, which splits the sucrose molecule (a disaccharide) into its two components dextrose and levulose (monosaccharides). This is produced by the bees and put into the nectar to convert it in the process of making honey.


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.


A particular brand of graftless queen rearing system.

Kashmir Bee Virus

A widespread disease of bees, spread more quickly by Varroa, found everywhere there are bees.

Kenya Top Bar Hive

A top bar hive with sloped sides. The theory is that they will have less attachments on the sides because of the slope.


Malpighian tubules which are thin filamentous projects from the junction of the mid and hind gut of the bee that cleanse the hemolymph (blood) of nitrogenous cell wastes and deposit them as non-toxic uric acid crystals into the undigestible food wastes for elimination.

Landing board

A small platform at the entrance of the hive for the bees to land on before entering the hive.


Short for Langstroth hive.

Langstroth hive

The basic hive design of L.L. Langstroth having frames that have a 19" top bar and fit into a box 19 7/8" long. Widths vary from five frame nucs to eight frame boxes to ten frame boxes and from Dadant deeps, Langstroth deeps, Mediums, Shallows and Extra Shallow. But all would still be Langstroths. This would distinguish them from WBC, Smith, National DE etc.

Large Cell

Standard foundation size = 5.4mm cell size

Larva (opened)

The second developmental stage of a bee, starting the 4th day from when the egg is laid until it's capped on about the 9th or 10th day.

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 and propolis.

Lemon Grass essential oil

Essential oil used for swarm lure contains all compounds known to affect the behavior of the bees and all but one of the compounds of Nasonov pheromone.


Also called fructose (fruit sugar), a monosaccharide commonly found in honey that is slow to granulate.

Long hive

a hive that is laid out horizontally instead of vertically.

Malpighian tubules

Thin filamentous projects from the junction of the mid and hind gut of the bee that cleanse the hemolymph of nitrogenous cell wastes and deposit them as non-toxic uric acid crystals into the undigestible food wastes for elimination. They serve the same purpose as kidneys in higher animals.


The jaws of an insect; used by bees to form the honeycomb and scrape pollen, in fighting and picking up hive debris.


Painting a small dot of enamel on the back of the thorax of a queen to make her easier to identify and so you can tell if she has been superseded.

Marking pen

An enamel pen used to mark queens. Available at local hardware stores as enamel pens. Also, from beekeeping supply houses as Queen marking pens.

Marking Tube

A plastic tube commonly available from beekeeping supply houses that is used to safely confine a queen while you mark her.

Mating flight

The flight taken by a virgin queen while she mates in the air with several drones.

Mating nuc

A small nuc for the purpose of getting queens mated used in queen rearing. These are different from 2 frames used by that beekeeper for brood, to the mini-mating nucs sold for that purpose with smaller than normal frames.


A beekeeping equipment manufacturer that makes uncappers, extractors, hive tools etc.


A box that is 6 5/8" in depth and the frames are 6 1/4" in depth. AKA Illinois AKA Western AKA 3/4 depth.

Medium brood (foundation)

When used to refer to foundation, medium refers to the thickness of the wax NOT the depth of the frame. In this case it's medium thick and of worker sized cells.

Melissococcus pluton

New name for the bacterium that causes European Foulbrood. The old name was Streptococcus pluton.


An F1 hybrid cross of two specific lines of Caucasians and Carniolans. Originated by Dadant and Sons and sold for years by York.

Migratory beekeeping

The moving of colonies of bees from one locality to another during a single season to take advantage of two or more honey flows or for pollination.

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. This allows hives to be packed tightly against one another because the cover does not protrude over the sides.

Miller Bee Supply

A beekeeping supply company out of North Carolina. They have eight frame equipment.

Miller Method

A graftless method of queen rearing that involves a ragged edge on some brood comb for the bees to build queen cells on.

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.

Mouse guard

A device to reduce the entrance to a hive so that mice cannot enter. Commonly #4 hardware cloth.

Movable combs

Combs that are built in a hive that allows them to be manipulated and inspected. Langstroth hives have movable combs IN frames.

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.


Adding boxes below the brood nest. This is common practice with foundationless including Warre’ hives.


Bees who have their abdomens extended and are fanning the Nasonov pheromone.

Natural cell

Cell size that bees have built on their own without foundation.

Natural comb

Comb that bees have built on their own without foundation.


A liquid rich in sugars that's manufactured by plants and secreted by nectary glands in or near flowers.

Nectar flow

A period of time when nectar is available.

Nectar Management (Checkerboarding)

A method of swarm control originated by Walt Wright where the stores above the brood chamber are alternated with drawn comb late in the winter.

New World Carniolans

A breeding program originated by Sue Cobey to find and breed bees from the US with Carniolan traits and other commercially useful traits.

Newspaper method

A technique to join together two strange colonies by providing a temporary newspaper barrier.


A particular brand of graftless queen rearing system.

Nuc/ Nuclei/ Nucleus

A small colony of bees often used in queen rearing or the box in which the small colony of bees resides, but it is not a full sized colony.

Nurse bees

Young bees, usually three to ten days old, which feed and take care of developing brood.

Observation Hive

A hive made largely of glass or clear plastic to permit observation of bees at work.

Open-air Nest

A colony that has built its nest in the open limbs of a tree rather than in the hollow of a tree or a hive.

Open Mesh Floor

A bottom board with screen to allow ventilation and Varroa mites to fall through.

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.


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.


The egg producing part of a plant or animal.


An immature female germ cell, which develops into a seed.


Any of several tubules that compose an insect ovary.

Oxytetracycline aka Oxytet

An antibiotic sold under the trade name Terramycin; used to control American and European foulbrood diseases.

Package bees

A quantity of adult bees (2 to 5 pounds), with or without a queen, contained in a screened shipping cage.

Parasitic Mites

Varroa and tracheal mites are the mites with economic issues for bees. There are several others that are not known to cause any problems. Paralysis aka APV aka Acute

Paralysis Virus

A viral disease of adult bees which affects their ability to use legs or wings normally.


The development of young from unfertilized eggs laid by virgin females (queen or worker) which further develop into drones.

Para Dichloro Benzene (aka PDB aka Paramoth)

Wax moth treatment for stored combs.


Fully drawn plastic comb in medium depth and about 5.1mm equivalent cell size after allowing for cell wall thickness and taper of the cell.


In the context of Varroa mites it refers to the state where they are on the adult bees instead of in the cell either developing or reproducing.


A series of sounds made by a queen, frequently before she emerges from her cell. When the queen is still in the cell it sounds sort of like a quack quack quack. When the queen has emerged it sounds more like zoot zoot zoot.

Play flights (orientation 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.


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

An anatomical structure on the bees legs where pollen and propolis is carried.

Pollen bound

A condition where the brood nest of a hive is being filled with pollen so that there is no where for the queen to lay.

Pollen box

A box of brood moved to the bottom of the hive during the honey flow to induce the bees to store pollen there, or a box of pollen frames that was put on the bottom purposefully. This provides pollen stores for the fall and winter. The term was coined by Walt Wright.

Pollen pellets or cakes

The pollen packed in the pollen baskets of bees and transported back to the colony made by rolling in the pollen, brushing it off and mixing it with nectar and packing it into the pollen baskets.

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. Research has shown that bees raised on substitute are shorter lived than bees raised on real pollen.

Pollen supplement

A mixture of pollen and pollen substitutes used to stimulate brood rearing in periods of pollen shortage

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.

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 but may clog since drone bees often get stuck.

Prime swarm

The first swarm to leave the parent colony, usually with the old queen.


The mouthparts of the bee that form the sucking tube or tongue


Plant resins collected, mixed with enzymes from bee saliva and used to fill in small spaces inside the hive and to coat and sterilize everything in the hive. It has antimicrobial properties.


A substance used to fill with propolis, or bee glue.


The third stage in the development of the bee during which it is inactive and sealed in its cocoon.

Push In Cage

Cage made of #8 hardware cloth used to introduce or confine queens to a small section of comb. Usually used over some emerging brood.


A fully developed female bee responsible for all the egg laying of a colony.

Queen Bank

Putting multiple caged queens in a nuc or hive.

Queen cage

A special cage in which queens are introduced to colony, having 4 to 7 young workers called attendants, and usually a candy plug.

Queen cage candy

Candy made by kneading powdered sugar with sugar syrup until it forms a stiff dough.

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 wings of a queen to prevent her from flying or to better identify when she has been replaced.

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 having openings of 0.163 to 0.164 inch, permiting workers to pass but excludes queens and drones and sometimes used to confine the queen to specific part of the hive.


A colony that contains a queen capable of laying fertile eggs and making appropriate pheromones that satisfy the workers of the hive that all is well.

Queen muff

A screen wire tube that resembles a "muff" to keep queens from escaping when marking them or releasing attendants.


In wood working a groove cut into wood. The frame rests in a Langstroth hive are rabbets and the corners are sometimes done as rabbets and sometimes as finger or box joints.

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.


A particular brand of smoker that has an inner chamber to provide more consistent oxygen to the fire.

Raw honey

Honey that has not been finely filtered or heated.


Its getting large bees back to smaller bees so they can and will build smaller cells.


To replace an existing queen by removing her and introducing a new queen.

Rendering wax

The process of melting combs and cappings and removing refuse from the wax.


Worker bees that are attending the queen.

Reversing (Switching)

The act of exchanging places of different hive bodies of the same colony; usually for the purpose of nest expansion.

Robber screen

A screen used to foil robbers but let the local residents into the hive.


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 and sometimes used to describe the beekeeper removing honey from the hive.


A quality of forming an elastic rope when drawn out with a stick.

Round sections

Sections of comb honey in plastic round rings instead of square wooden boxes.


A term to describe what happens when a frame is too tight or pulled out too quickly and bees get pushed against the comb next to it and "rolled". This makes bees very angry and is sometimes the cause of a queen being killed.

Royal jelly

A highly nutritious, milky white secretion of the hypopharyngeal gland of nurse bees; used to feed the queen and young larvae.


An overlapping plate on the dorsal side of an arthropod that allows it to flex.

Screened Bottom Board

A bottom board with screen (usually #8 hardware cloth) for the bottom to allow ventilation and to allow Varroa mites to fall through. In Europe this is called an Open Mesh Floor.

Scout bees

Worker bees searching for a new source of pollen, nectar, propolis, water, or a new home for a swarm of bees.


Shield shaped portion of the back of the thorax of some insects including Apis mellifera (honey bees).


Shield shaped portion of the back of the thorax of some insects including Apis mellifera (honey bees). Usually divided into three areas: the anterior prescutum, the scutum, and the smaller posterior scutellum.


Small wooden (or plastic) boxes used to produce comb honey.

Self-spacing frames (Hoffman frames)

Frames constructed so that they are a bee space apart when pushed together in a hive body.

Settling tank

A large capacity container used to settle extracted honey; air bubbles and debris will float to the top, clarifying the honey.


A box that is 5 11/16 or 5 3/4" deep with frames that are 5 1/2" deep.

Shaken swarm

An artificial swarm made by shaking bees off of combs into a screened box and then putting a caged queen in until they accept her.


A beehive without moveable combs, usually made of twisted straw in the form of a basket; its use is illegal in all the states in the U.S as the combs are not inspectable.

Slatted rack

A wooden rack that fits between the bottom board and hive body.


The refuse from melted combs and cappings after the wax has been rendered or removed; usually contains cocoons, pollen, bee bodies and dirt.

Small Cell

Used by some beekeepers to control Varroa mites(4.9mm size).

Small Hive Beetle

A recently imported pest whose larvae will destroy comb and ferment honey.

Smith method

A method of queen rearing that uses a swarm box as a cell starter and grafting larvae into queen cups.


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

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.


A small sac connected with the oviduct (vagina) of the queen bee where spermatozoa received in mating with drones is stored.


To divide a colony for the purpose of increasing the number of hives.

Spur embedder

A device used for mechanically embedding wires into foundation by employing hand pressure.


An Italian bee hybrid known for vigor and honey production, mainly known as F1 cross of two specific lines of Italian bees.

Starter hive aka a Swarm box

A box of shaken bees used to start queen cells.


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.

Streptococcus pluton

Old deprecated name for the bacterium that causes European Foulbrood. The new name is Melissococcus pluton.


Principal sugar found in nectar.

Sugar syrup

Feed for bees, containing sucrose or table (cane or beet) sugar and hot water in various ratios. Usually 1:1 in the spring and 2:1 in the fall.

Sugar roll test

A test for Varroa mites that involves rolling a cupful of bees in powdered sugar and counting the number of mites dislodged. This was invented as a non-lethal alternative to an alcohol wash or an ether roll.


A box with frames in which bees store honey; usually placed above the brood nest.


The act of placing honey supers on a colony in expectation of a honey flow.


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 often disappears.

Surplus (foundation)

Refers to thin foundation used for cut comb honey.

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.

Survivor stock

Bees raised from bees that were surviving without treatments.


A temporary collection of bees, containing one queen that split apart from the mother colony to establish a new one; a natural method of propagation of honey bee colonies.

Swarm box (Starter hive)

A box of shaken bees used to start queen cells.

Swarm cell

Queen cells usually found on the bottom of the combs before swarming.

Swarm commitment

The point just after swarm cutoff where the colony is committed to swarming.

Swarm cutoff

The point at which the colony decides to swarm or not. Past this point they either commit to swarming or they commit to swarming or they commit to just looking out for colony stores for the coming winter.

Swarm trap aka Bait hive aka Decoy hive

A hive placed to attract stray swarms.

Swarm preparation

The sequence of activities of the bees that is leading up to swarming. Visually you can see this start at backfilling the brood nest so that the queen has no where to lay.


The natural method of propagation of the honeybee colony.

Swarming season

The time of year, usually late spring to early summer, when swarms usually issue.

Tanzanian Top Bar Hive

A top bar hive with vertical sides.

Telescopic cover

A cover with a rim that hangs down all the way around it usually used with an inner cover under it.

Ten frame

A box made to take ten frames. 16 1/4" wide.


It is an antibiotic that is often used as a preventative for American and a cure for European foulbrood diseases.

Tested queen

A queen whose progeny shows she has mated with a drone of her own race and has other qualities which would make her a good colony mother.


A hard overlapping plate on the dorsal portion of an arthropod that allows it to flex. Also known as sclerite.

Tergum (plural terga)

The dorsal portion of an arthropod.

Thin surplus foundation

A comb foundation used for comb honey or chunk honey production which is thinner than that used for brood rearing.


A quality of a liquid where its viscosity gets thinner when shaken, stirred or agitated and thicker when left undisturbed so that it becomes a gel.


The central region of an insect to which the wings and legs are attached.

Tiger striped (queen)

Markings of a particular type on a queen. Not striped like a worker (who have very even bands) but more like "flames".

Top bar

The top part of a frame or, in a top bar hive, just the piece of wood from which the comb hangs.

Top Bar Hive

a hive with only top bars and no frames that allows for movable comb without as much carpentry or expense.

Top supering

The act of placing honey supers on TOP of the top super of a colony in expectation of a honey flow as opposed to putting it under all the other supers, and directly on top of the brood box, which would be BOTTOM supering.

Tracheal Mites

A mite that infests the trachea of the honey bee. Resistance to tracheal mites is easily bred for.

Transferring or cut out

The process of changing bees and combs from trees, houses or bee gums or skeps to movable frame hives.

Travel stains

The darkened appearance on the surface of honeycomb caused by bees walking over its surface.


A box that is three times as wide as a standard ten frame box. 48 3/4".


The transfer of food or pheromones among members of the colony through mouth-to-mouth feeding. It is used to keep a cluster of bees alive as the edges of the cluster collect food and share it through the cluster.

Twelve frame

A box made to take twelve frames usually having dimensions of 19 7/8" by 19 7/8".

Two Queen Hive

A management method where more than one queen exists in a hive. The purpose is you get more bees and more honey with two queens.

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.


An ovum or egg, which has not been united with the sperm.


Combining two or more colonies to form a larger colony. Usually done with a sheet of newspaper between.


A protective netting that covers the face and neck; allows ventilation, easy movement and good vision while protecting the primary targets of guard bees.

Venom allergy

A condition in which a person stunged experience a variety of symptoms ranging from a mild rash or itchiness to anaphylactic shock. A person who is stung and experiences abnormal symptoms should consult a physician before working bees again.

Venom hypersensitivity

A condition in which a person, if stung, is likely to experience an anaphylactic shock. A person with this condition should carry an emergency insect sting kit at all times during warm weather

Virgin queen

An unmated queen bee.


In the context of bees, this is a protein that is in the fat bodies of bees that results in greater longevity. There is a much higher amount in winter bees as opposed to summer bees. There is a feedback loop in the colony where vitellogenin and juvenile hormone mutually suppress each other. This causes bees raised in the fall or leading up to swarming to have higher levels of vitellogenin and therefore longer lives than at other times.


When the bees on the landing board or the front of a hive are moving in unison resembling a line dance.

Warming cabinet

An insulated box or room heated to liquefy honey or to heat unextracted honey to speed extraction.

Wax Dipping Hives

A method of protecting wood and also of sterilizing from AFB where the equipment is "fried" in a mixture of wax and gum resin.

Wax glands

The eight glands located on the last 4 visible, ventral abdominal segments of young worker bees; they secrete beeswax flakes.

Wax scale or flake

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 into a groove on a frame. Sometimes called a Van Deusen wax-tube fastener after the inventor.


A box that is 6 5/8" in depth and the frames are 6 1/4" in depth.

Western Bee Supply

A beekeeping supply company out of Montana. The company that makes all of Dadant's equipment. Also sell eight frame equipment.


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 50 degrees F.

Winter hardiness

The ability of some strains of honeybees to survive long winters by frugal use of stored honey.

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.

Wire crimpers

A device used to put a ripple in the frame wire to both make it tight and to distribute stress better and give more surface to bind it to the wax.

Worker bees

Infertile female bee whose reproductive organs are only partially developed, responsible for carrying out all the routine of the colony.

Worker comb

Comb measuring between 4.4mm and 5.4mm, in which workers are reared and honey and pollen are stored.

Worker Queen

Worker bees which lay eggs in a colony hopelessly queenless; such eggs are not fertilized and therefore become drones.

Worker policing

Workers that remove eggs laid by workers.

Yellow (queen or bees)

When used to refer to honey bees this refers to a lighter brown color. Honey bees are not yellow. A Yellow queen is usually a solid light brown.

Comments (1)

Ruken Joseph

I like to get more information about honey and this post is good for me.

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