A to Z of
Honey Bees And Beekeeping
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Guard bee
A bee tasked with monitoring potential threats to the hive, such as from wasps and other ‘stranger’ bees.  In the event of a threat, guard bees emit a pheromone which alerts other colony members.

Girolami, Vincenzo

Primary author of a scientific paper highlighting the potential risk of exposure to bees from neonicotinoid pesticides through guttation. Read more.



The bee’s body fluid or ‘bee blood’. 


Lifting a hive in order to determine the weight, and hence availability of food supplies for feeding the honey bee colony. 



Structure used for the purpose of housing domesticated bees.  See types of bee hive.


Hive Tool
A handy tool used by beekeepers for scraping as well as levering and separating frames.  See more in beekeeping equipment.

Sucrose (nectar) + invertase (bee enzyme) = fructose + glucose (honey). 

See what is honey? and how do bees make honey?

Honey flow
The period of time in the year when nectar availability from flowers is at its peak – a key foraging time for bees.



Wax, hexagonal cells containing honey.


Hygenic Behaviour
The habit of bees describing the maintenance of cleanliness of bees about themselves and within the hive and colony.  It includes removing dead bees and diseased larvae, as well as grooming of colony members. Watch this video of a bee grooming away varroa mite.





One of the neonicotinoid insecticides restricted by the EU.   Read more about bees and neonicotinoids.


Isle Of Wight Disease
A disease first found on the Isle of Wight, UK in 1904.  The tracheal mite, Acarine, or
Acarapis woodii   are thought to be a major factor.  It affects the breathing tubes (trachea) of the bees.  The origin of the mite (where the mite had come from) is not known.  Acarine can lead to the collapse of a whole colony if infestation is severe.  Although there is no known treatment, it is generally thought to pose a low threat in the UK these days, although Tracheal mites had a negative impact on the beekeeping industry in North America, after it arrived in North America in the 1980s from Mexico.


Italian Bee – Apis mellifera ligustica
Generally thought of as a bee with good temperament from the perspective of beekeepers.  It is reputed to produce a large honey crop, and rarely swarms.




(See royal jelly)


Gardening For Bees

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Before You Start....

Considerations For Urban Beekeepers

Honey Bees For Sale?
Tips for beginners.