Homesteading and Livestock

Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.

Add to My MSN

Beekeeping Vocabulary: Sorting Out the Jargon

3/25/2013 2:52:44 PM

Tags: honeybees, beekeeping, top bar hives, Christy Hemenway

top bar honeyFew industries use so many interchangeable terms to describe their equipment and methodology as beekeeping. For example — the individual boxes that make up a Langstroth hive stack may be referred to simply as supers, or they may be called deeps, mediums or shallows, an indication of their size. The beeswax comb that the bees build inside their nest might be called wax, or foundation, or comb, or brood comb, or honeycomb — similar terms and yet they mean different things. And how does one sort out the nuances of colony versus hive? Or frame versus top bar?

Add into this mix the glowing terms that are commonly used to describe honey, such as pure, raw, natural and organic, and now there’s even more room for confusion. Organic is a regulated term with a specific legal definition, but pure, raw and natural are not. Organic honey is quite difficult to come by – since it requires that all the forage the bees visit and all the nectar and pollen they collect must be organic – and it’s nearly impossible to know that without having ownership of and control over many hundreds of acres of land. But the words natural, raw and pure, while they are lovely words, and conjure up beautiful visuals of glowing amber liquid, have no specific legal definition in the food industry.

This is why it’s important to be very specific when you are speaking, and to ask direct questions when you are listening – so that you are sure that the information being exchanged is accurate.

Another aspect of beekeeping where having a clear understanding of the terminology is becoming very important is when beekeepers are considering the purchase of bees for starting new hives. Depending on the protocol of the source apiary, the bees may have been treated with “heavy chemicals” – including antibiotics, and miticides containing organophosphates and synthetic pyrethroids; with “soft chemicals” such as formic or oxalic acids; with nothing but essential oils or other not-toxic options; or - with absolutely nothing.

There are some terms coming into common use to categorize these protocols – including “chemical-free” and “treatment-free” – but just like in all other areas of beekeeping, these unregulated terms leave room for interpretation and confusion. So here again it’s important to ask questions to get the answers that you need. In "The Thinking Beekeeper," I suggest that beekeepers can and should ask pointed questions about what treatments have been used in the apiary they are buying bees from. This is important to your own beekeeping – but it’s important on a different and deeper level as well… Because only by knowing this information can you help to support the apiaries that are working to shift the crucial paradigm - away from the use of toxic chemicals in beehives and agriculture, and toward methods that support the bees’ natural systems.

So - ask the questions! Get the answers. You deserve to know.

Learn more about beekeeping on Christy Hemenway's website, Gold Star Honeybees



Related Content

My 6 Tips for Starting Beekeeping

What follows are my top 6 tips on how to start beekeeping; a most wonderful hobby that I urge everyo...

In the Beeyard: Final Winter Preparations

Jennifer Ford of Bees of the Woods Apiary explains how they prepare their beehives to survive the lo...

Girl Out of Water - The Bee Adventure

An auspicious start to our beekeeping? Maybe!

Courses in Beekeeping

You can take courses in beekeeping to learn about becoming an apiarist for extra income; courses inc...

Content Tools




Post a comment below.

 

MY COMMUNITY
no image
lucy123
7/8/2014 10:01:23 AM
no image
SECRET MILLIONAIRE M
7/8/2014 10:00:59 AM
no image
SECRET MILLIONAIRE M
7/8/2014 9:39:00 AM
no image
SECRET MILLIONAIRE M
7/8/2014 8:56:48 AM
no image
SECRET MILLIONAIRE M
7/8/2014 8:54:33 AM
no image
SECRET MILLIONAIRE M
7/8/2014 8:50:19 AM
no image
SECRET MILLIONAIRE M
7/8/2014 8:42:12 AM
no image
SECRET MILLIONAIRE M
7/8/2014 8:39:49 AM
no image
saracamber
7/8/2014 7:54:00 AM






Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.