Beekeeping Terminology

     Beekeeping Terminology

Beekeeping Terminology & Abbreviations

Welcome to Saul Creek Apiary Beekeeping Terminology. The following beekeeping terminology and abbreviations have been used in the beekeeping industry for many years. Our beekeeping terminology page will be updated as needed to reflect up to date beekeeping terminology.

Beekeeping Terminology

AFB: American Foulbrood

EFB: European Foulbrood

SHB: Small Hive Beetle

DWV:  Deformed Wing Virus

CB:  Checker-boarding

LC:  Large Cell (referring to comb size)

SC:  Small Cell (referring to comb size)

FGMO:  Food Grade Mineral Oil

PC:  Perma-Comb (Drawn Plastic Comb)

QMP:  Queen Mandibular Pheromone

ULBN:  Unlimited Brood Nest

TBH:  Top Bar Hive

TTBH:  Tanzanian Top Bar Hive

NUC:  Nucleus Hive

SBB:  Screened Bottom Board

BB:  Bottom Board

SMR:  Suppressed Mite Reproduction

HSC:  Honey Super Cell (Drawn Plastic Comb)

LGO:  Lemon Grass Oil (used for swarm trap lure)

BEEK:  A Beekeeper

NUC:  Nucleus Hive


AM:  Apis Mellifera (The Honey Bee found in America)

AHB: Africanized Honey Bees

EHB:  European Honey Bees

Carni: Carniolan

Cauc:  Caucasian

NWC:  New World Carniolans

Russians:  Russians

Nurse Bees:  Bees between the ages of 2 to 10 days old that care for Brood.

Drone:  A Male Bee. The Drones only purpose is to mate with Queens in the area. Drones have no stinger and therefore cannot sting like the female workers.

Drone Layer:  An infertile or unmated Queen Bee.

Worker Bees:  Female Bees.

Laying Worker:  Worker Bee that lays infertile eggs usually due to the colony being Queen-less.

Package Bees:  Bees placed in a screened packaged container usually in 2 to 5 lb quantities sold for the purpose of starting a new colony or adding to an existing colony.

Absconding: Absconding is when the entire colony including the Queen leaves the hive.

Apiary:  Any place where 1 or more managed hive of Bees are kept.

Apiculture:  The study of raising Honey Bees

Out Yard:  Apiary that is away from or not connected to the main Apiary.

Dwindling:  The dying off of older worker Bees in the spring time.

Field Bees:  Worker Bees. Normally 14 to 15 days old that collect Pollen, Nectar and Water.

Mating Flight:  First flight of a Virgin Queen with the intent of mating with area Drones.

Queen Piping:  Queen Piping occurs when two Queens come into contact with each other or are placed close enough together to detect each others scent.

Piping:  Series of high pitched sounds made by a Queen.

Bee Tree: A tree that houses a colony of Feral Bees. Tree will usually have a hollow area creating a cavity for Bees to build in.

Swarm:  Bees that for one reason or another leave the colony to start a new colony. The old Queen usually leaves with the first or main swarm.

After Swarm:  Small group of Bees that leave with a newly hatched Queen after the main Swarm.

Cluster:  Any Group of Bees found hanging or piled upon each other

Colony:  Group of Bees including the Queen, Drones, Workers and Brood found within a hive.

Drifting:  Drifting usually occurs in apiaries where the hives are spaced close to one another and Bees accidentally enter the wrong hive.

Festooning:  Bees linked together to form what looks like a chain of Bees. Bees normally Festoon when building comb.

Supercedure Cell:  Queen Cell built and located in the center portion of a brood frame for replacing a Queen that the colony feels needs to be replaced.

Swarm Cells or Swarm Cells:   One or more Queen cells usually found on the bottom portion of a frame.

De-Queen:  To remove a hives Queen

Dividing:  Removing Bees from a hive to produce additional colonies.

Beehive:  Man made Box with removable Frames for housing a colony of Bees.

Bee Bread: A mixture of Pollen, Honey and Nectar. Can be found in Drawn Honey Comb stored for Bees consumption when needed.

Bee Space:  Area around ends and on top of Frames where 1/4″ to 3/8″ space is left for Bees to move around.

Brace Comb:  Comb built by Bees which attaches frames together. Bees often build Brace Comb to allow easy walking access to the next frame.

Drawn Comb:  Usually refers to foundation that has been pulled out to form cells for Honey Storage and Brood Production.

Brood: From the time the Queen lays her egg to the time the young Bee emerges is considered Brood.

Open Brood:  Any Larva that has not been capped over and sealed.

Capped Brood: Larva that been fed and is in the pupae stage that has been covered with a Wax seal. Often referred to as Sealed Brood.

Brood Chamber:  Comb where the Queen lays eggs and colony rears new Bees. The Brood Chamber is usually the bottom one to two Deeps.

Burr Comb:  Wax Comb produced and built entirely by Bees in open space. Burr Comb is often found attached to the Inner Hive Cover or Top.

Honey Flow:  Time of year when Pollen and Nectar are abundant.

Migratory Beekeeping:  Beekeeper that contracts out hives for Pollination usually in another State. Beekeepers that are migratory often times are able to hit 2 or 3 Honey Flows per season.

Diseases, Pest and Chemicals

Wax Moths:  Wax Moths invade weak or vacant hives and use the drawn wax comb for raising new generations of Wax Moths.

V-Mites: Varroa Mites

T-Mites:  Tracheal Mites

SBV:  Sac Brood Virus

TM:  Terramycin

PDB:  Para Dichloro Benzine (wax moth treatment)

Nosema: A disease of the adult Honey Bee which causes dysentery in Bees caused by Nosema Apis.

Beekeeping Tools and Hive Terminology:

Deep:  Deeps are used for Brood rearing and are located on the bottom of the hive. Deeps measure around 9 5/8″ in height.

Super:  Supers are located just above the Deep (see above) and are primarily used for Honey storage. Supers can however be used in place of Deeps for those that have back problems as the weight of a filled Super is much less than that of a Deep (2) Supers + (1) Deep.

Nucleus Hive:  Hive with 2 to 5 Frames consisting of Brood in various stages, Honey and Bees. Often times used for raising new Queens or starting new colonies.

Bottom Board:  Bottom boards are the foundation that hive boxes sit upon. The first piece of woodenware placed down is the Bottom Board upon which a Deep is placed.

Screened Bottom Board: Screened Bottom Boards are used to aid in the health of the hive by allowing mites and other debris to fall through. A Screened Bottom Board is the same as a regular Bottom Board with the center cut out and a screen attached.

Inner Hive Cover:  An inner Hive Cover is an optional cover that sits directly on top of the upper super. The Inner Hive Cover has an oval shaped hole cut in its center and a groove cut in its outer border which is placed up to allow better air circulation in hot climates.

Telescopic Lid:  A Telescopic Lid is simply a lid that fits over the top super and overhangs the sides to prevent water and foul weather from entering the hive.

Hive Stand:  Stand used to elevate Hive off the ground

Smoker:  A smoker is used to smoke Bees before and after entering a hive to calm the Bees.

Hive Tool:  Hive tools are a multipurpose tool that aids in removing burr comb, propolis and prying woodenware apart.

Frames:  Frames sit inside hive bodies (Supers, Deeps) and are used to let Bees build comb for raising new Bees and storing Honey.

Uncapping Knife:  Heated knife usually electric used to remove capped honey cells for extraction.

Extractor:  Used to extract honey from capped frames. Can be either electric or manually operated.

Bee Blower:  Used to remove/ blow bees from frames.

Bee Vac:  Used to vacuum and contain bees. Mostly used used by beekeepers removing swarms.

Bee Brush:  Used to remove Bees from comb, equipment ets…..

Bee Escape:  A one way Door. Placed on a Bee entrance allows Bees to leave but not return.

Bee Veil:  Usually cloth or netting placed over the head to protect Beekeeper from being stung.

Boardman Feeder:  Device used to feed Bees either made from wood and sheet metal or plastic. Device slides into entrance and holds a glass jar inverted with small holes in the cap which slowly drip feed.

Capping Melter:  Device used to melt wax cappings removed from honey comb. Usually either solar or electric.

Crimped Wire Foundation: Foundation with crimped wire embedded in it for added strength.

Wax Foundation:  Thin wax sheet with cells imprinted on it that is used to start Bees drawing straight comb.

Spur Embedder:  A Star Wheel device used to manually imbed wire into foundation.

Decoy Hive: Hive used in a Bee Yard to attract swarms

Swarm Trap Hive:  Hive used in a Bee Yard to attract Swarms

Division Board Feeder:  Feeder which hangs in place of a frame for internal feeding.

Electric Embedder:  Transformer used to heat and embed wire into wax foundation.

Honey House:  Room or Building used to extract raw honey.

Observation Hive:  Usually made of clear glass panels to allow viewing of a colony.

Queen Excluder:  Device made from wood or plastic with small grating that prevents the larger queen from passing through.

Solar Wax Melter:  Box with a glass top that allows the sun to pass through and heat/melt honey comb.

If you do not see a beekeeping  term that your not sure of please Email us and will post the term to our Beekeeping Terminology page. If you see anything on our Beekeeping Terminology page that you would like clarification on please do not hesitate to Contact Us.