Beekeeping Terms beginning with F

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a box or tub of plastic or wood (or a glass jar with a lid with holes in it) used to contain liquid feed, to be placed on top of a crown board over a colony of bees. There are two main types: Rapid feeders, such as miller and ashforth; and contact feeders. Polystyrene hives often have built in feeders as feeders used for wooden hives may not fit polystyrene hives. Frame feeders will fit most hives but have the disadvantage that the bees will build comb inside them once they extract the feed.


a section of an antenna. The antennae are divided into 12 sections in Queens and workers, and into 13 sections for drones


a sugar paste used to feed bees, normally in the winter when syrup is not an option. Place directly on the tops of the frames, in contact or immediately above the cluster.


a worker bee becomes a forager about 3 weeks after she has hatched. She will take an orientation flight to ensure she knows where her home is so she can return to it and then she will go in search of nectar, pollen, water and propolis as required by the colony. Foragers are the bees that perform the waggle dance. When they return to the hive they will give directions to other foragers on how to find what they have brought back. Other foragers will be able to follow her directions to the source of the nectar or pollen. Workers are normally only foragers for the last 2 weeks of their lives. A worker bee can fly about 500 miles in her 2 weeks of flying, visiting 2,000 flowers a day and making 50 trips per day back to the hive. When their wings wear out from flying worker bees generally die away from the hive, this saves some other bee having to use precious energy in clearing up after them!

Formic Acid

an organic acid, produced by many insects including ants. Found naturally in small quantities in honey. Used to treat varroa as it penetrates the cell cappings and can kill the mites in the cells. Treatment generally involves absorbent pads placed in the colony when the temperature is above 10 degrees C. Protective equipment is needed when handling this hazardous substance. It is generally used at a strength of 60%. A commercially produced formic acid treatment is available - MAQS.


sheets of wax impressed with an hexagonal pattern to encourage the bees to draw it out into cells. The pattern may be 4 to the inch to stimulate drone production or the more common 5 to the inch used for worker brood production and for honey supers for the storage of honey. Wired foundation has a wire running either in a W shape top to bottom or in parallel lines horizontally through the wax to reinforce it. Reinforcing with wire in this way makes the foundation stronger and can be of use in the brood boxes where larger sheets are used, but it also makes it easier to preserve the wax in supers when extracting honey. Unwired foundation is generally more fragile and is normally used where section honey or honey on the comb is to be harvested.

Foundation Press

see Wax Press


a wooden support for wax foundation or comb into which bees can put larvae or stores. They are made of top bars, side bars and bottom bars - see N1-N5. Generally frames are fitted with wax foundation to reduce the amount of wax the bees have to make.

Frame Feeder

a container shaped to be as wide as a fully drawn frame that is placed in the hive and filled with sugar syrup to feed the bees. A small piece of balsa wood is floated on top of the syrup for the bees to perch on while accessing the syrup without drowning. The main disadvantage is that you have to open the colony to top up the feeder. Its main advantage is that it can be used in nucleus boxes which don't normally have crown boards and ekes or supers.