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Beekeeping Words, Terms and Definitions

Here is a list of some of the common words and terms in the art of Beekeeping.


Apiary - the term for where bees are raised. The area of your yard where the hive is!

Apiculture - the art and science of studying and raising bees

Bee Brush - A soft bristled brush used for brushing bees off a hive or a frame.

Bee Package - This is a smal box of bees, usually with 3 pounds of bees in it and a queen. You buy one of these to start your hive.

Bee veil - the thin netting that covers your head and face as part of your bee suit.

Bottom Board - The base of the beehive that the whole hive sits on

Brood - this refers to immature bees while they are still in their cells. They are going through the stages of egg, larvae and pupae.

Brood Chamber - The part of the hive where the queen is laying eggs. Usually the bottom most deep.

Capped Brood - Brood cells that have been capped over with wax. They are at the point where they will then, after capping, spin cocoons and turn into larvae.

Deep - the common term for the deeper size hive box section. It holds frames and the common deep is 9 5/8 inches deep.

Drone - The Male honey bee

Entrance reducer - A strip of wood that covers the hive entrance making it a notched out section rather than a long opening. It helps to control the in and out flow of bees and helps to maintain the temperature of the hive in winter.

Extractor - A machine that spins the racks of honeycomb extracting the honey. Pics and more information about extractors here.

Foulbrood - A very contagious and serious bacterial disease of bee brood.

Hive tool - a metal hand tool that looks similar to a crowbar. It is used for opening hives and removing frames.

Hiving - This is the process of getting an order of bees and putting them into their new home (your hive).

Honeycomb - racks of comb that are filled with honey

Inner Cover - A wooden cover that goes on top of the uppermost frame. It has a ventilation hole in it.

Nectar - A liquid produced by flowers. This is what the bees collect and turn into honey.

Nosema - A disease of the bees digestive tract. Can be controlled and treated with an antibiotic.

Nucleus Hive - A small starter hive usually containing 3-5 frames. You would start your regular hive with something like this. I have a page with pictures and explanation of a nucleus hive or nuc right here: What is a Nuc? And a complete tutorial on how to install a nuc in your hive

Nuc - This is the commonly used way of referring to to a nucleus hive.

Pollen - produced by flowers and collected by bees as a food source

Propolis - A sticky resin like material that the bees collect from trees and plants. They use it to seal and strengthen the hive.

Queen Cage - This is a small cage that comes in a bee package. It holds the queen, some helper bees and some candy for them to feed on.

Queen Excluder - A thin sheet of plastic with slots in it that are big enough to allow bees to pass but don't allow the queen to pass. This controls where she stays and where she can lay eggs.

Royal Jelly - A substance that bees secrete to feed the brood.

Smoker - a tool with a container for fire and a bellows. The smoke is used to calm the bees.

Supercedure - the process where a colony replaces an old or ailing queen with a new one.