abdomen: the segmented, posterior (third) part of the bee body that contains heart, honey, stomach, intestines, Malphigian tubules, reproductive organs, and sting

antenna: paired, slender, and jointed segmented appendages on the bee head; primary taste, touch and smell receptors. Antennation refers to how bees interact using their antennae to communicate various messages such as food exchange and distribution of queen pheromones.

apiary: a place where beehives and beekeeping equipment are located; also called a bee yard. An out-apiary is a site away from the owner’s residence.

apiary inspector: local or state official responsible for inspecting bees, usually for American foulbrood and Varroa mites; may provide surveys for potential pests

apiculture: the science and art of cultivating bees to benefit humans


Bacillus thuringiensis: a common soil-dwelling bacterium, commonly used as a biological pesticide (as Bacillus thuringiensis Bt (Certan®)) that can be used to control wax moth caterpillars in stored drawn comb

bivouac: a temporary cluster of swarming honey bees intermediate between leaving home and finding a new nest cavity

brace comb: see burr comb

brood sphere: a spherical or oval-shaped area that is formed by extending across two or more parallel combs in the hive and is used by bees to rear brood; its size is variable depending upon colony population size and seasonal factors.

burr comb: comb built between frames, between boxes, or in spaces where the bee space is not maintained. Often used to rear drones, as a ladder to go to another hive box, or to fill in space that is greater than bee space.


capping: the covering that bees add over comb cells containing fully ripened honey or to cap brood that has reached the pupal stage; bee bread cells are not capped

caste: reproductive division of labor within female bee adults; a single reproductive female queen (via pheromone secretions) maintains more or less sterile female workers

cleansing flight: flight of adult bees leaving the hive to void wastes. Can result in fecal spotting. Especially common in early spring and following periods of confinement to the hive

cocoon: very thin, protective silk envelope which an insect larva or pre-pupa forms about itself by spinning the envelope while inside the cell, to change to the pupal stage


dormant: a state of suspended or slowed physical activity; in honey bees, a period of winter clustering behavior


entrance reducer: a wooden, metal, or plastic device used to restrict entry or exit from the colony entrance that is in the bottom board; used during the overwintering period or to deter robbing behavior

exoskeleton: external body covering (skeleton) of insects


feral bees: a wild, non-managed nest of honey bees, as in a tree


haemocytometer: a counting-chamber device originally designed and usually used for counting blood cells; consists of a thick glass microscope slide with a rectangular indentation

head glands: nurse-age bee glands that produce worker jelly or royal jelly. which is fed to developing larvae; these glands are usually mandibular and hypopharyngeal glands

hemolymph: the insect equivalent of mammalian blood


K-wing: describes adult bee wings that remain partially open rather than tightly folded on top of the abdomen, and with hind wing over front wing, resembling the letter K; caused by tracheal mite infestation.


nucleus: also called a "nuc;" a smaller colony of bees usually with three to five frames. Nucs are splits (divides) made from larger colonies. Nucs are purchased as a method of starting a new colony or as a resource to use to bolster weaker colonies. See more information about nucs here and here


pheromone: a chemical substance released externally by an individual (from an exocrine gland) which stimulates a response in a second individual of the same species


queen excluder: a metal or plastic device that allows workers to pass through opening slots or wires, but is spaced to keep the queen and drones from passing through.

queen replacement: removal of an old queen and installation of a new queen in a bee colony

queenright: a colony with a healthy, worker egg-laying queen; the opposite of a queenless colony


recruits: older forager-aged bees (generally at least three weeks old) responding to dancing bees seeking to share information about nectar, pollen, water, or bee resin resources

requeen: to replace a queen; old queens are often removed and replaced by a ripe queen cell or by a mated queen via an introduction cage

royal jelly: a protein-rich secretion of the worker’s hypopharyngeal glands fed to all young bee larvae. Sometimes termed worker jelly to when it is the food fed to the worker larvae for the first three days of worker larval development; the queen receives this food throughout her larval development


scavenger sap beetles: a variety of different beetle species that recycle refuse located at the bottom of bee hives

scout bees: worker bees that search for pollen, nectar, water, propolis and, during swarming, suitable nesting sites

spotty brood pattern: capped worker cells that are not uniformly solid within the brood sphere; numbers of cells lacking brood of the same brood age; indicative of poor colony queen or poor health 

swarm capture: the collection of a swarm from a temporary swarm bivouac site that is hanging from vegetation or other structure and then moving it into a permanent new nest site


thorax: the middle region of the adult bee body, which lies in between the head and the abdomen; consists of three segments: pro-, meso-, and meta-thorax; thorax attachments include three pairs of legs and two pairs of wings


uncapping: the process of prematurely removing the capping from pupal cells; usually associated with hygienic bees looking for mites reproducing on pupae

unite: combine one colony with another; opposite of divide


winter cluster: a closely packed colony of bees forming in winter to conserve heat