Beekeeping Glossary

Find out everything you need to know, and more, from our dictionary of beekeeping terminology!

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Honey Bee Abdomen

Abdomen: The posterior of the body of the bee; encloses the honey stomach, stomach, intestines, stinger and the reproductive organs. The wax glands are located on the underside of the abdomen.

AbscondWhen the entire colony of bees abandons the hive because of disease, pest, or other conditions.

Acute Paralysis VirusA viral disease of adult bees which affects their ability to use legs or wings normally. It can kill adults and brood.

Africanized Honey BeesThese "killer bees" were originally produced by cross-breeding the African honey bee with various European honey bees in an effort to increase honey production in Brazil. In 1957 several swarms escaped from their quarantined area, and since then the Africanized honey bee has spread throughout South America, and arrived in North America in 1985. Africanized bee hives were discovered in southern Texas in 1990. Africanized honey bees are much more defensive than other types of honey bees, and they will react to disturbances faster. Other differences are that they tend to swarm more often and travel farther, they are more likely to abscond due to stress, and they have more guard bees within the hive and a larger guard area around the outside of the hive. Their venom is no more potent than other honey bees, but that are considered more dangerous because they will attack in greater numbers, and they will pursue their target for greater distances.

AfterswarmA smaller swarm that leaves after the primary swarm. These are headed by a virgin queen. Sometimes a beehive will swarm several times, leaving only a few worker bees behind.

Alarm PheromoneA chemical substance that is released from near the worker bee's stinger that alerts the other workers in the hive to an attack. The alarm pheromone is also released when the bee stings, which causes other bees to sting as well.

American Foulbrood American Foulbrood

American Foulbrood: The most destructive and widespread brood disease of honey bees caused by the spore-forming Paenibacillus larvae ssp. larvae. Larvae become infected after ingesting spores that are present in their food. Once inside the gut of the larvae, the spores germinate and the vegetative form of the bacteria grows by taking its nourishment from the larvae. The infected larvae will end up dying inside of the sealed cell; the bacteria will die as well, but will have already produced millions of spores. Diagnosis can be made from touching the dead larva with a twig. If American Foulbrood is present, the larva will be sticky and "ropey" in appearance. 

AntennaTwo sensory organs located on the head of the bee which enable the bees to smell, taste, and even detect sound. Another important function of the antenna is to monitor gravity and flight speed.

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