A collection of the knowledge gained by this beginning beekeeper, which may be useful for others wishing to venture here also.
- Hive – both the collection of bees, and the bottom box(s) they live in apparently. The hive bodies (boxes) contain frames with baby bees, pollen, and some honey. Not for taking. You can buy smaller boxes, which have a bunch of bees and queen, ready to dump into a hive. These are called nucs, pronounced the same as the missile things USA has aimed at everyone – short for nucleus.
- Super – as in superman, not supper. These are the boxes which sit on top of the main hive boxes, where honey is collected and stored.
- Frame – the wooden frame thingies with a strip of hexagonal shaped honeycomb wax, which goes in the hive body or super. It seems there are 9 or 10 to a box, 10 is normal but 9 is if you really know what you are doing and space them out perfectly.
- Smoker – a little bellows thing that puffs out smoke, this calms the bees into thinking there is a forest fire, so they don’t sting you. If I thought there was a forest fire I would not be calm. I would be “AAARG get out of my way, sting sting sting”. Of course, for bees to sting is almost certain death for them, as they usually disembowel themselves in the process. The Japanese Samurai used to do that a few hundred years ago – real commitment to a cause.
- Hive tool – a cross between a screwdriver and crowbar used to help prise the boxes apart or lever out the frames, cos the bees keep glueing them down with a sticky glue called propolis.
- Brood – baby bees. The queen lays them in the cells in the comb, as eggs which hatch into grubs, and they get bigger and bigger with other bees feeding them, then get sealed into their cell, where they metamorphose into bees – Ha, it’s not just butterflies which do that cool thing.
- Queen – big long bee, which lays all the brood. A hive has one queen – any others get stung to death, unless she is not strong enough, then a new queen stings her to death. It is tough at the top. Sometimes a new queen will take half of a large away hive as a swarm. Queens live 3 years or so. Spring and Summer time worker bees live about 40-50 days, winter bees live till spring brood have got going.
- Honey – Why you have bees in the first place. You get to extract the stuff from the supers in summer and/or autumn. I have yet to do this to my hive.
- Super Sizes – not to be confused with the bigger fries and coke you get at the golden arches. There is full sized, which can weigh 45kg or so when full of honey, 3/4 which weigh about 3/4 of 45kg when full, plus some other sizes.