What Do These Words Mean?

If you’re new to beekeeping you’re having to learn a whole new vocabulary.  Some words are obvious but others can be confusing and new.  Here’s a few terms to get you started on your beekeeping journey.

Comb– The wax construction made by bees for storing honey and laying eggs.

Burr or Brace Comb– Often used to describe the same thing this term describes the comb bees build in places you don’t want them to build come (usually).  It could be on the top of a frame, on the side wall of the hive box or between two frames.  In general brace comb describes the comb they build to join two pieces together (bracing them together) and burr comb describes comb that doesn’t attach two separate parts of the hive together.

Super– A term that can be super confusing, this describes the box of frames and comb where bees raise brood or store honey.  There are at least four types of supers: deep, western, shallow and comb.  See those definitions below.

Deep Super– These are usually the boxes people use for brood (where the queen lays eggs and where bee larvae are kept). Usually two deep supers make up the brood area.

Western Super– not quite as big as a deep super but not as shallow as a shallow super, some folks use only westerns for their hives allowing them to use the exact same equipment for the brood area and the honey storage area.

Shallow Super– These boxes are often the smallest boxes the average beekeeper has.  They are not very deep which means they aren’t quite as heavy when filled with honey.

Comb Super– Less common than shallow supers these boxes are even smaller.  They are made small to accommodate comb honey production by the bees.  Because comb honey has unsupported foundation or comb they can’t be too deep or the comb would simply melt and/or give under the weight of the honey.


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