GLOSSARY OF TERMS


Abdomen: The back portion of a honey bee. Houses the stinger, vital organs, and wax glands.
Africanized Bees: Breed of honey bees known for their glossterm resistance but are aggressive.
Apiary: A location where several honey bee hives are maintained.
Bearding: A natural phenomenon where bees gather in the entrance of their hive (looks like a large beard) to help reduce heat buildup in the hive.
Bee Bread: A paste mixture of pollen and honey.
Bee Brush: A large brush that is used to gently brush away bees.
Beeswax: Wax that is produced by honey bees. Used commonly to build up a honey bee colony but can also be used in craft projects such as candles, soap and lip balm.
Brood: Collection of eggs laid by an active Queen.
Brood Box: A hive box dedicated to a queens brood chamber. Most commonly the bottom boxes found in a hive.
Burr Comb: Beeswax comb structure that is built to fill in gaps found in a hive. Burr Comb can cause issues if trying to maintain an orderly hive.
Capped Honey: Honey that has been covered with a thin layer of wax. A sign that the honey has reached it proper moisture content.
Capping’s: Thin layer of wax used to seal honey and brood in its cell.
Carniolan Bees: Breed of honey bees that can handle slight cooler environments.
Cell: Hexagonal opening created by honey bees in the colony. Used for housing eggs and honey.
Checkerboarding: In the hive boxes above the brood chamber, frames of honey are alternated with empty frames. This tricks the colony into believing there is still room for more resources and can reduce the risk of swarming.
Cluster: A large gathering of honey bees during the cold winter months to help them maintain a manageable temperature around them. The temperature is harder to maintain throughout the hive when the weather gets cold, so the bees huddle together for warmth.
Colony Collapse Disorder: A term describing a recent phenomenon where large quantities of colonies disappear. Official reasoning behind this is unknown but it is highly believed that it is caused by varroa infestations.
Comb Honey: Honey removed from the hive for eating that has not been separated from the wax comb.
Crimp Wire Foundation: A pure wax foundation that has pre-installed vertical wire supports that come to a hook at the top of the foundation. Commonly used with a wedge top bar.
Dead Air Space: Empty space above or below the hive that helps to maintain proper internal temperatures.
Dearth: Extended periods where there is a lack of available foraging resources. This is most commonly found during times of extended heat and lack of rainfall.
Deformed Wing Virus: A virus that causes a bees wings to shrink and become deformed, hindering a bees ability to fly and forage. Commonly caused by varroa infestation.
Deep Box: Also known as brood box or deep super. Hive box that measures 9 7/16” tall. Most commonly used as a brood chamber.
Drone: The only male honey bee found in a colony. Only purpose is to mate with a virgin queen. They are easily distinguished in a hive by their large body and eyes.
Drone Cell: A cell that is slightly larger than a normal cell. Because of a drones size they need a larger cell for incubation. When introducing a frame with larger drone cells, the queen automatically starts laying drone eggs.
Eggs: Offspring laid by an active queen. With a proper laying queen, one egg is placed in the center of each cell.
Foundation: Wax sheets with an embossed hex comb structure placed into frame where the honey bees build their colonies. Where you will find brood and honey cells in a hive. Can either be completely wax based or wax brushed onto a plastic structure.
Frames: Removable structure that holds the foundation bee’s use in the hive. Come in multiple sizes depending on your box size and can either be a wooden frame holding a sheet of foundation or a fully plastic structure with wax brushed on. May also be called sashes or racks.
Hive Body: Box used to house frames in a colony. Term can be used to represent all size boxes or just referencing a deep box (commonly 9 7/16”).
Hive Tool: Small metal tool used to help pry open and maneuver hive components during an inspection.
Hive Top Feeder: Feeder placed on top of a hive. Hive tops feeders are easier for a beekeeper to maintain without significant disruptions to a hives progress.
Honey Super: A hive body that is designated for additional honey storage in the hive. Most commonly either a collection of Medium (6 5/8”) or Shallow (5 1/16”) supers.
Illinois Super: Another term for medium super.
Italian Bees: Most common breed of bee found in North America. Gentle breed and excellent foragers, but less resistant to varroa.
Langstroth: A man made honey bee hive that consist of stacked boxes full of individual frames.
Larva: The stage of a developing bee following an egg.
Laying Worker: When a queen has died, a worker bee may take it upon herself to continue to lay eggs. This be easily observed because, instead of one egg being placed in the center of each cell, multiple eggs can be found in each cell. A laying queen can only produce drones, so a new queen will need to be introduced immediately to produce a well-balanced colony.
Marked Queen: A queen that has a colorful mark on her thorax to help represent her age. Each color represents a different year (Years ending in: 1 or 6 – white; 2 or 7 –yellow; 3 or 8 – red; 4 or 9 –green; 5 or 0 –blue) so beekeepers can better understand a queens age to help decide if she needs replacing.
Medium Super: A hive box that measures 6 5/8” high. Can be used as both brood chambers and honey supers.
Nectar: A sugar rich liquid produced by several flowering plants. A common natural feed for honey bees that they use to produce honey.
Nosema: Disease caused by a parasite. Common symptoms are expelled waste in and outside the hive.
Nucleus Hive: A small hive, commonly made of just 3 to 5 frames. Used mainly for building up weak colonies, splitting a colony, as well as a way for beekeepers to start a new hive from an already established colonies.
Orientation Flight: Small observational flights honey bees take when they are in a new environment.
Package: A shoebox size box of loosely packed bees. Can weigh between 2-5 lbs and have thousands of bees. Can includes a queen that is stored in a queen cage that will need to be introduced gradually to the colony.
Pollen: Male reproductive component of a flower. Collected by worker bees and provide a good source of protein for the colony.
Propolis: A mixture of saliva, beeswax, and other natural saps that is used as a glue inside a hive to help seal the hive. Usually red or brown in color. Has been used for medicinal purposes for several centuries.
Queen: A bee who was raised on a diet of only royal jelly. Recognized by their elongated abdomen. They are the only honey bee that can produce a worker bee.
Queen Cage: Small cage build specifically to transport and introduce new queens. Allows a gradual introduction of the queen to keep the colony from rejecting her.
Queen Cell Cups: Large protrusions found in a hive that are used to raise eggs into new queens. Cell cups are commonly found in most hive but, unless they are capped over, most lay vacant and are there in case a new queen is needed quickly.
Queenright: A colony that has an active laying queen.
Radial Extractor: Extractor where the frames are arranged where they radiate from the center. This allows honey to be pulled from both sides of the frame at once.
Royal Jelly: A highly nutritional secretion that is feed only to developing queen larvae.
Shallow Super: The smallest hive box measuring 5 1/16” high. Most commonly used as honey supers.
Supersede: A colony actively removing an older queen and replacing her with a younger queen.
Swarm: A collection of bees and a newly hatched queen leave a hive due to congestion, abundance of resources, or an aging queen. Swarming is common in all breed of bees, either managed or feral. With proper observation and preparation, swarming can be reduced or controlled.
Swarm Cell: Multiple queen cups clustered together at the bottom of a frame. A guaranteed sign that your hive is preparing to swarm.
Tangential Extractor: Extractor style where the frames sit parallel to the center spine (forming a triangle around the center). This arrangement is most common with deep frames in a smaller extractor. In this arrangement, the honey gets pulled out of the outer side of the frame. Each frame will need to be rotated for a second extraction to get all the honey.
Thorax: The central body part of a honey bee. The thorax houses the wings and legs.
Top Bar: The top component of a wooden frame. Commonly recognized by the extended handles found on each end.

Wedge Cleat: A rod used in wedge top bars to help hold wired foundation into place. Used with crimp wire and cutcomb foundation.