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Some apicultural terms


The location of a number of colonies.


The science and art of bees and beekeeping.


The genus to which honeybees belong.

Apis cerana

An Asian species of honeybee that can be kept inside hives.

Apis dorsata

The giant or rock honeybee, indigenous to Asia.

Apis florea

A species of honeybee indigenous to some parts of Asia and the Middle East. It nests in the open and cannot be kept in- side hives.

Apis mellifera

The honeybee species indigenous to Africa, Europe and the Middle East. European races have been widely introduced to other areas, including the Americas, Asia, Australasia and the Pacific. African races have been introduced to South America and have spread to Central America and the United States.

Bark hive

A hive made from the bark of trees.


A technique for producing designs on cloth by putting wax on those parts of the cloth to be protected from dye.

Bee space

A gap large enough for bees to walk and work in, for example, the space between two parallel combs or between a comb and the wall of the hive.


Wax produced by honeybees, secreted by special glands on the underside of the abdomen, and used to build comb.

Box hive

One of the many types of hives used to keep bees.


All stages of immature honeybees: eggs, larvae and pupae.


A single hexagonal wax compartment, the basic unit of a comb. Each honeybee develops in a cell. Honey and pollen are stored in cells.

Chunk honey

See cut-comb honey.


Honeybees are social insects; they live only as part of a colony and not individually. Each colony of honeybees contains one queen bee who is the female parent of the colony, a few hundred drone bees and thousands of worker bees.


The wax structure made of hexagonal cells in which honey- bees rear young and store food.


The transfer of pollen between flowers of different plants of the same species. Plants that are not self-fertilizing must be cross-pollinated before they can develop seeds. Many crops depend on cross-pollination by insects.

Cut-comb honey

Pieces of honeycomb containing honey and presented for sale with the honey still in the comb.


The number of plant and animal species in an area.


A male honeybee. Drones undertake no work within the hive: their sole function is to fertilize the queen.


The centrifugal machine in which honey is spun out of cells in frames of honeycomb.

Fair trade

Development charities have agreed international standards of fair trade for commodities produced in poor countries. Member organizations cooperate in awarding fair trade marks and labels to products that meet fair trade criteria. Issues include freedom of association, working conditions, wage levels and use of child labour. In addition to honey and beeswax, the products include coffee, chocolate, orange juice, tea, sugar and bananas.

Fixed-comb hive

A hive in which bees build their nests with the combs attached to the wall of the hive. The combs cannot be detached from the hive without breaking them.


Flowering plants that provide nectar and pollen for bees.


A worker honeybee that collects pollen, nectar, water or propolis for the colony.


A thin sheet of beeswax embossed with the hexagonal pat- tern of a comb. A sheet of foundation is placed in each wood- en frame and serves as a base on which honeybees build their comb. This accelerates the process of comb construction. Without foundation, honeybees would not necessarily build their comb in the orientation required by the beekeeper.


A rectangular wooden frame that holds a sheet of wax foundation. A number of frames hang parallel to one another in- side the hive.

Frame hive

A hive that contains frames. The honeybees are encouraged to build their combs in these frames. The frames then enable combs to be lifted from the hive for examination, which al- lows the recycling of combs.

Granulated honey

Honey in which some of the sugars have crystallized.


Any container provided by people within which bees can build their nest.


Nectar or plant sap ingested by bees, concentrated by them and stored in combs.

Honey hunting

Plundering wild bee colonies for their honey.


Species of bees belonging to the genus Apis. All are social bees that store significant quantities of honey.


Away of making a living.

Local hive

A hive made from local materials; often a fixed-comb hive.

Lost-wax casting

A technique for making an object by casting it in molten met- al. The model is created in wax then covered with a shell of clay. The wax model and its clay coat are then fired to hard- en the clay and melt the wax. The wax is then poured out and replaced by molten metal.

Low-technology hive

A hive that is simple, cheap, reliable and repairable.


The subfamily to which all stingless bees belong.

Movable-frame hive

A hive containing frames.


A sweet liquid secreted by flowers. It is a watery solution of various sugars.


The home of a bee colony where bees live on their comb or combs.


A small colony of bees created by a beekeeper from an existing colony or colonies; it is used to increase colony numbers or to rear queens and breed bees.

Organic honey

Generally taken to mean honey that is free from any residues of pesticides, fertilizers, drug treatments or heavy metals.


The fine dust-like substances that are the male reproductive cells of flowering plants. Collected by bees as a food source.


The transfer of pollen from the anther of a flower to the stigma of the flower, or the stigma of another flower.

Pollination agent

Bees act as pollination agents when they transfer pollen from one flower to another. Apart from insects, other agents that may bring about the transfer of pollen are wind, gravity, nectar-seeking birds and bats.


Plant resins collected by honeybees and used by them to seal cracks and gaps in the hive.

Protective clothing

Clothing to protect beekeepers from being stung by bees.


The female parent of the colony; the only sexually developed female.


An instrument used to measure the refractive index of honey, and from which sugar concentration and water content can be calculated.

Sustainable development

Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs - as defined by the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development at the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit.

Sustainable livelihoods approach

A way of thinking about objectives, scope and priorities for development; an approach to understanding the nature of poverty and to implementing and assessing poverty-reduction interventions.

Top bar

A piece of wood on which honeybees build their comb in a top-bar hive.

Top-bar hive

A hive containing top bars. Honeybees build parallel combs suspended from a series of parallel top bars; this enables the beekeeper to lift individual combs from the hive for inspection or to harvest honey, as with frame hives.

Traditional hive

This usually means a hive made according to local tradition. Most traditional hives are fixed-comb hives.

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