Understanding the terminology

As with any hobby, there is a little bit of jargon you will need to know when buying your first hive and I hope to cover all the major terms here. As always, get in touch with me if you have a question.

What are TC, TH and AA?

These are popular abbreviations for the three species of stingless bee commonly kept in south-east Queensland:

  • TC - Tetragonula carbonaria
  • TH - Tetragonula hockingsi
  • AA - Austroplebeia australis

Tetragonula carbonaria and Tetragonula hockingsi are great bee species for beginners.

What is an OATH hive?

OATH stands for Original Australian Trigona Hive and it's probably the most popular hive design you will come across when looking to buy your first hive of bees. This hive design consists of two sections where the bees build their brood and primary honey and pollen stores. A Honey OATH hive has a third 'honey super' section on top for the bees to store extra honey.

What is a honey super?

The third (top) secton of a Honey OATH hive is where bees will almost exclusively store honey. This top section may be opened once per year, generally in late spring or early summer when the bees are active, and you can extract some honey. #yum

What is the brood?

The bottom two sections of your OATH hive will contain the brood. This is the part of the hive where the queen lays eggs that hatch into larvae and eventually pupate into adult bees.

What is splitting?

Splitting is a process where you seperate the two halves of the hive brood and make two hives out of one. This can be done almost every year, provided the hive is strong and healthy.

What is eduction?

Eduction, also known as budding, is a process of creating a new hive by connecting an empty hive box to the front of a strong hive. The bees are forced to pass through the empty hive to get out and will, in time, build a new colony in the empty box. The new hive will become completely independant and can be disconnected from the parent hive.