10 Funny Bee-Related Words You Never Knew—How to Talk Like a Beekeeper
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Jana loves compiling and sharing lists about the natural world, science, and history.
1. Bee Bread
Thankfully, this term doesn't refer to stirring a pinch of bees into dough and then baking a few buns. Bee bread is something that nurse bees feed the larva or baby bees. Right after they hatch, they are given royal jelly.
Bee bread is a weaning formula made of pollen and honey. This is the last food they'll get before a nurse seals them in their cells where they'll go to sleep for a while and grow some more.
While most people have heard of propolis, few are really certain about what the stuff actually is. When bees leave their hive to collect pollen and nectar, they also search for a kind of resin. This is propolis and the insects gather the material from plants and trees. The sticky goop isn't used in the honeymaking process. Instead, bees use it as a kind of building material to patch up their hive.
Propolis is often a sealant pushed into cracks or an extra layer to strengthen other parts within the hive. Interestingly, the resin contains antimicrobial properties and is harvested by the cosmetic industry to make products like toothpaste and skin lotion.
3. Winter Cluster
Hives in cold places, especially where there's a lot of snow, see a marked reduction in activity and in some cases a total shutdown. The latter sees all the adult bees clustering tightly together as they wait for the frosty season to pass. Ergo, a winter cluster.
4. After Swarm
Sometimes, bees leave their hive in a giant buzzing cloud. This is called the primary swarm. However, as with all animal groups and even people, you'll always find a few slackers.
In this case, an after swarm could mean two things. Yes, those lazy bees that realized the colony left well over an hour ago and they finally follow as a smaller group. More often, a new queen will wait until the primary swarm has left and then take a few bees with her to start her own honey factory elsewhere.
Did you know that the queen is capable of making sounds? Nope, it's not the buzzing noise one would associate with a bee. She produces a sound, or series of sounds, that experts call “piping.” This often happens moments before she crawls from her cell. Creepy and cute at the same time.
6. Queen Cage Candy
Alright, that one's more like a phrase than a word but it's too good to pass up. This treat is not found in nature but emerges from mankind's kitchen. To make the candy, powdered sugar is kneaded with invert sugar syrup.
So, you know, a lot of sugar. The two ingredients are worked until they produce a piece of dough. This stiff material is then placed inside a queen cage, which holds a queen and several worker bees that are being transported after being sold.
Honestly, this sounds like some kind of terrible insect disease, but thankfully the word describes a type of beehive. A skep is just a hive fashioned from woven straw and one that lacks moveable frames. Phew.
The delightfully named slumgum is a waste product. Wax is another valuable commodity that people harvest from bees but the process that removes it also leaves behind a melted slush, slumgum. Originally, the material comes from comb and cappings, or the lids that seal individual cells.
9. Travel Stain
Bees travel for miles and touch countless things. So, what could stain them, you ask? Indeed, nobody has ever seen a bee with any sort of stain. That's certainly true. But let's put aside the freaky fact that bees are always spanking clean. In hive jargon, a travel stain has nothing to do with the insects' bodies but something that they do.
A dark discoloration develops wherever bees continually drag along propolis, almost like a resin road marker. A better name might have been “propolis stain,” but who are we to argue with the wonderful words beekeepers come up with. Really, we love it.
That's right. Crime is alive and well among bees. For as long as humans have kept the tiny honeypots, they've looked in amazement at how bees steal from each other. Rather obviously called “robbing,” this term covers all sorts of petty thefts. A brave bee enters a rival colony's hive and basically goes shopping for free. The burglar can make off with honey, pollen or nectar.
Now if bees would only form their own police force, or maybe don miniature SWAT suits, then what more do we need than ten fun words and mean-looking drones in combat gear? Nothing, because that'll just be perfect.
© 2019 Jana Louise Smit
Jana Louise Smit (author) from South Africa on November 26, 2019:
The nurse bees are adorable. They're actually the 3-day-old bees that take care of the newly hatched ones. Such interesting insects!
Lorna Lamon on November 26, 2019:
Such an interesting article and you have certainly given me an education into all things bees. "Bee Bread" made me smile as I love the idea of 'nurse bees'. A thoroughly enjoyable and enlightening read Jana - thank you for sharing.
Few actors in the world have had a career quite as diverse as Leonardo DiCaprio's. DiCaprio has gone from relatively humble beginnings, as a supporting cast member of the sitcom Growing Pains (1985) and low budget horror movies, such as Critters 3 (1991), to a major teenage heartthrob in the 1990s, as the hunky lead actor in movies such as Romeo + Juliet (1996) and Titanic (1997), to then become a leading man in Hollywood blockbusters, made by internationally renowned directors such as Martin Scorsese and Christopher Nolan.
Leonardo Wilhelm DiCaprio was born November 11, 1974 in Los Angeles, California, the only child of Irmelin DiCaprio (née Indenbirken) and former comic book artist George DiCaprio. His father is of Italian and German descent, and his mother, who is German-born, is of German and Russian ancestry. His middle name, "Wilhelm", was his maternal grandfather's first name. Leonardo's father had achieved minor status as an artist and distributor of cult comic book titles, and was even depicted in several issues of American Splendor, the cult semi-autobiographical comic book series by the late 'Harvey Pekar', a friend of George's. Leonardo's performance skills became obvious to his parents early on, and after signing him up with a talent agent who wanted Leonardo to perform under the stage name "Lenny Williams", DiCaprio began appearing on a number of television commercials and educational programs.
DiCaprio began attracting the attention of producers, who cast him in small roles in a number of television series, such as Roseanne (1988) and The New Lassie (1989), but it wasn't until 1991 that DiCaprio made his film debut in Critters 3 (1991), a low-budget horror movie. While Critters 3 (1991) did little to help showcase DiCaprio's acting abilities, it did help him develop his show-reel, and attract the attention of the people behind the hit sitcom Growing Pains (1985), in which Leonardo was cast in the "Cousin Oliver" role of a young homeless boy who moves in with the Seavers. While DiCaprio's stint on Growing Pains (1985) was very short, as the sitcom was axed the year after he joined, it helped bring DiCaprio into the public's attention and, after the sitcom ended, DiCaprio began auditioning for roles in which he would get the chance to prove his acting chops.
Leonardo took up a diverse range of roles in the early 1990s, including a mentally challenged youth in What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993), a young gunslinger in The Quick and the Dead (1995) and a drug addict in one of his most challenging roles to date, Jim Carroll in The Basketball Diaries (1995), a role which the late River Phoenix originally expressed interest in. While these diverse roles helped establish Leonardo's reputation as an actor, it wasn't until his role as Romeo Montague in Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet (1996) that Leonardo became a household name, a true movie star. The following year, DiCaprio starred in another movie about doomed lovers, Titanic (1997), which went on to beat all box office records held before then, as, at the time, Titanic (1997) became the highest grossing movie of all time, and cemented DiCaprio's reputation as a teen heartthrob. Following his work on Titanic (1997), DiCaprio kept a low profile for a number of years, with roles in The Man in the Iron Mask (1998) and the low-budget The Beach (2000) being some of his few notable roles during this period.
In 2002, he burst back into screens throughout the world with leading roles in Catch Me If You Can (2002) and Gangs of New York (2002), his first of many collaborations with director Martin Scorsese. With a current salary of $20 million a movie, DiCaprio is now one of the biggest movie stars in the world. However, he has not limited his professional career to just acting in movies, as DiCaprio is a committed environmentalist, who is actively involved in many environmental causes, and his commitment to this issue led to his involvement in The 11th Hour, a documentary movie about the state of the natural environment. As someone who has gone from small roles in television commercials to one of the most respected actors in the world, DiCaprio has had one of the most diverse careers in cinema. DiCaprio continued to defy conventions about the types of roles he would accept, and with his career now seeing him leading all-star casts in action thrillers such as The Departed (2006), Shutter Island (2010) and Christopher Nolan's Inception (2010), DiCaprio continues to wow audiences by refusing to conform to any cliché about actors.
In 2012, he played a mustache twirling villain in Django Unchained (2012), and then tragic literary character Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby (2013) and Jordan Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street (2013).
DiCaprio is passionate about environmental and humanitarian causes, having donated $1,000,000 to earthquake relief efforts in 2010, the same year he contributed $1,000,000 to the Wildlife Conservation Society.
Valentine’s Day-Related Words
To help you come up with your own Valentine’s Day puns, here’s a list of related words to get you on your way. If you come up with any new puns or related words, please feel free to share them in the comments!
general: valentine, valentine’s, love, loved, loved one, loving, lovely, romance, romantic, crush, fancy, infatuation, dating, together, woo, wooing, flirt, flirting, flirtatious, like, confess, confession, anniversary, feelings, heart, dinner, date, roses, flowers, bouquet, gift, present, poem, poetry, love letter, chocolate, keepsake, sentimental, kiss, hug, cuddle, desire, saucy, sexy, sex, lust, passion, erotic, intimate, sensual, seductive, adore, admire, smitten, yearning, relationship, affair, couple, endearment, significant other, better half, affection, partner, partnership, boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, cupid, symbol, ring, jewelry, commitment, monogamous, monogamy, polyamory, polyamorous, greeting card, lingerie, devotion, emotion, fond, friendship, cherish, devoted, celebration, court, courting, tender
endearments: darling, bae, baby, dear, sweetheart, sweetie, honey, sugar, pet, muffin, lamb, treasure, cutie, cutie pie, beautiful, amor, flame, lover
Dickinson was born on December 10, 1830, in Amherst, Massachusetts. Her family had deep roots in New England. Her paternal grandfather, Samuel Dickinson, was well known as the founder of Amherst College. Her father worked at Amherst and served as a state legislator. He married Emily Norcross in 1828 and the couple had three children: William Austin, Emily and Lavinia Norcross.
An excellent student, Dickinson was educated at Amherst Academy (now Amherst College) for seven years and then attended Mount Holyoke Female Seminary for a year. Though the precise reasons for Dickinson's final departure from the academy in 1848 are unknown theories offered say that her fragile emotional state may have played a role and/or that her father decided to pull her from the school. Dickinson ultimately never joined a particular church or denomination, steadfastly going against the religious norms of the time.
THE TORTOISE AND THE DUCKS
The Tortoise, you know, carries his house on his back. No matter how hard he tries, he cannot leave home. They say that Jupiter punished him so, because he was such a lazy stay-at-home that he would not go to Jupiter’s wedding, even when especially invited.
After many years, Tortoise began to wish he had gone to that wedding. When he saw how gaily the birds flew about and how the Hare and the Chipmunk and all the other animals ran nimbly by, always eager to see everything there was to be seen, the Tortoise felt very sad and discontented. He wanted to see the world too, and there he was with a house on his back and little short legs that could hardly drag him along.
One day he met a pair of Ducks and told them all his trouble.
“We can help you to see the world,” said the Ducks. “Take hold of this stick with your teeth and we will carry you far up in the air where you can see the whole countryside. But keep quiet or you will be sorry.”
The Tortoise was very glad indeed. He seized the stick firmly with his teeth, the two Ducks took hold of it one at each end, and away they sailed up toward the clouds.
Just then a Crow flew by. He was very much astonished at the strange sight and cried:
“This must surely be the King of Tortoises!”
“Why certainly——” began the Tortoise.
But as he opened his mouth to say these foolish words he lost his hold on the stick, and down he fell to the ground, where he was dashed to pieces on a rock.
Foolish curiosity and vanity often lead to misfortune.