Ministry of Agriculture

Apiculture Factsheet #102

Common Beekeeping Terms

Acarine Infestation of the trachea of the adult honeybee by the microscopic mite Acarapis woodi. Generally called the (honeybee) tracheal mite, or HBTM.
AFB American Foulbrood, a bacterial disease caused by Paenibacillus larvae.
Amitraz see Apivar
Antibiotics Drugs used to assist in the control of several bacterial and protozoal diseases.
Apiary Location where one or more honeybee colonies are kept.
Apiculture The keeping and management of the honeybee, Apis mellifera.
Apistan Trade name of a miticide used to control Varroa mites, with the active ingredient fluvalinate which is a synthetic pyrethroid characterised by its low (mammalian) toxicity.
Apivar Trade name of a miticide used to control Varroa mites with the active ingredient amitraz. The product was initially under temporary registration but has been fully registered since 2012.
Asiatic bee The Asiatic honey bee, Apis cerana, is widely distributed throughout southern and south-east Asia. The colonies are small and produce small quantities of honey. Some important diseases affecting European honey bees originated in Apis cerana.
Bee Bread Mixture of pollen, honey and traces of royal jelly produced by worker bees and fed to worker and drone brood.
Bees Wax A glandular secretion of animal wax used for many purposes in the hive.
Brood Food Glandular secretions of highly nutritious food used to feed young larvae and queens.
Build-up The natural increase in population of honeybees within a colony, from the spring cluster until the peak population is reached at the start of the main nectarflow (honeyflow).
Capping A thin layer of wax covering cells containing honey. Bee brood cells are covered with a permeable, porous layer of wax.
Chalkbrood A fungal disease causing the mummification of bee brood by Ascosphera apis.
CheckMite+ Trade name of a miticide used in the control of Varroa mites, with the active ingredient coumaphos.
Colony A cluster of worker-bees with a queen and drones.
Coumaphos see CheckMite+
Drawn Comb Combs of completed cells.
EFB European Foulbrood, a bacterial disease caused by Melissococcus pluton.
Extracting Removal of honey from the comb by placing honey frames in an extractor which spins the frames and removes the honey through centrifical force.
Fluvalinate see Apistan
Formic acid Simplest of organic acids, used to control Varroa and Tracheal mites at 60% concentration. Various application methods and formulations are used, but all are based on evaporation of the liquid acid. Formic acid is a naturally occurring agent in honey.
Foulbrood Bee brood disease, either involving AFB or EFB.
Foundation Frames containing manufactured sheets of beeswax with the foundation of worker cells embossed into the wax.
Fumagillin Antibiotic specifically used to control the protozoan Nosema apis. Product sold under the trade name Fumidil B.
Hive The box or boxes (called supers) in which honeybees are housed.
Hive tool A flat piece of metal bent on one side, used for super and frame manipulation.
Inner cover Thin wooden cover that is placed on the top box/super. It is equipped with rims on both sides of the cover, which allows for reversal. The rim on one side has a recessed space of about 5 cm (2") which can serve as a top entrance. Inner covers are also often equipped with a centre hole (or rectangle) which allows for the placement of a bucket feeder.
MAQS A commercially available formic acid application product.
Miticides Products applied to honeybee colonies to control parasitic mites.
Mitegone A commercially available formic acid application product.
Nectar Carbohydrate food source gathered from the nectaries of flowers.
Nectar flow Often incorrectly called 'honeyflow'. Nectarflow is the gathering of nectar from the flowers which worker bees convert to honey and store in cells.
Nosema An intestinal disorder of adult honeybees caused by the protozoan, Nosema apis.
Nuc Also known as a nucleus colony. A nuc is a complete colony with one egg-laying queen, worker bees, 3-5 frames with brood in all stages of development and some reserves of pollen and honey.
Oxalic acid Simple organic acid, used in the control of Varroa in the winter. Acid occurs naturally in rhubarb leaves.
Oxytet Trade name for antibiotic animal formulation, oxytetracycline hydrochloride, used in the control of bacterial bee brood diseases.
Oxytetracycline Antibiotic registered in Canada for the control of brood diseases. Sold under different trade names, including Oxytet, Terramycin, etc.
Package A bee package consists of a container that holds 2, 3, or 4 pounds of worker bees. The package may also include a small cage that holds the queen. The container is equipped with a carbohydrate source to sustain the bees.
Pollen A protein food gathered by worker bees from the anthers of flowers. Pollen provides minerals, fats and vitamins and is consumed by young nurse bees and converted into brood food and "royal jelly".
Propolis Resins and gums gathered from trees and used in sealing cracks, repairing cells, etc.
Sacbrood Bee brood disease caused by viruses.
Small Hive Beetle The larval stages of Aethina tumida tunnel through brood comb and feed on bee brood, honey and pollen. The beetle can also be a problem in honey houses when comb and cappings are exposed. The beetle is not a serious pest in Canada.
Smoker Cylindrical burner attached to a hand-held bellows producing smoke to control bees and reduce defensive behaviour.
Supers Hive boxes with or without frames.
Supersedure Replacement of the existing queen by a young queen produced by the bees within the colony from their own larvae or eggs.
Swarming The natural process of a colony to multiply through the departure of a part of the bee population with a queen and some drones, who in turn will establish a new nest.
Terramycin Trade name for antibiotic animal formulation, oxytetracycline hydrochloride, used in the control of bacterial bee brood diseases.
Thymovar Varroa mite control product. Active ingredient is thyme oil which is released as a volatile vapour from an impregnated wafer placed in the hive. Effective within the temperature range of 15-25'C. Proven very effective in combination with oxalic acid when applied in broodless period in November-December.
Tracheal Mite see Acarine (disease).
Tropilaelaps T. clarae is a natural mite parasite of the Asian Honey Bee (A. cerana). Its lifecycle is similar to Varroa. It doesn't occur in North America.
Tylosin Antibiotic under the tradename "Tylan". Effective in the control of AFB including r-AFB (which is resistant to oxytetracycline). Product is persistent and is recommended only as fall treatment.
Uncapping The process of removing the waxed cappings from cells containing honey.
Varroa A mite parasitizing bee brood and adult bees, called Varroa destructor. The mite was originally a natural parasite of the Asian Honey Bee and was first discovered on the Island of Borneo in 1904. Before its recent reclassification,Varroa was known as V. jacobsoni.

There are many different viruses affecting honey bees. In B.C., several viruses have been identified, including Kashmir Bee Virus (KBV), Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus (IAPV), Acute Bee Paralysis Virus (ABPV) and Deformed Wing Virus (DWV). Other viruses may also be endemically present, including Chronic Paralysis Virus (CPV), Acute Bee Paralysis Virus (ABPV), and Black Queen Cell Virus (BQCV). Their pathology on honey bees is not clearly understood but it is assumed that their virulence is triggered in the presence of other bee diseases, especially parasitic mites.