api·​ary | \ ˈā-pē-ˌer-ē How to pronounce apiary (audio) , -ˌe-rē \
plural apiaries

Definition of apiary

: a place where bees are kept especially : a collection of hives or colonies of bees kept for their honey

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Beekeeping, or apiculture, is the care of honeybees that ensures that they produce more honey than they can use. An apiary usually consists of many separate beehives. The social life of a hive is strange and marvelous. The queen bee, who will become the mother of an entire colony, is actually created by being fed "royal jelly" while she is still only a larva. The tens of thousands of worker bees are underdeveloped females; only a handful of the bees are male, and they do no work at all. The workers defend the hive by kamikaze means, stinging any intruder and dying as they do so. There's more drama in a quiet-looking apiary than the casual observer might notice.

Examples of apiary in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Dung deterrent Mattila and colleagues, who spent hundreds of hours observing bees at a Vietnamese apiary, found that honeybees began adding feces to their hive entrances after natural attacks by giant hornets. Douglas Main, Animals, "Honeybees found using tools, in a first—to repel giant hornet attacks," 9 Dec. 2020 Even the short-term presence of a commercial apiary could overwhelm the supply of available forage for the year-round inhabitants that have a brief seasonal window to gather the pollen and nectar to get them through the year, the petition claims. Brian Maffly, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Environmental groups want to block honeybees from Utah’s national forests," 23 Aug. 2020 Regular meet-the-beekeeper programs allow the public to connect with the life of honeybees at the on-site apiary. Jeanine Barone, The Know, "9 lesser-known public gardens in Colorado that are worth a visit," 23 Feb. 2020 And a recent land donation is set to become a virtual apiary, while monetary donations have allowed Foxx to add two new beehives to the operation. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "Meet the Inspiring Woman Behind North Carolina's Buzziest Farm," 11 June 2020 For example, the rancher has traded 20 pounds of meat for a swarm of honeybees to start True Grass’ plant-pollenating, honey-producing apiary. Leilani Marie Labong, SFChronicle.com, "Stalled by a pandemic, West Marin producers turn to trading foodstuffs," 21 May 2020 Locals need assistance keeping the bears out of their apiaries and chicken houses. Christopher Preston, The Atlantic, "Conservationists No Longer Agree on What ‘Wild’ Means," 9 Apr. 2020 The hotel belongs to the Bee Network, individual and corporate properties that partner with the Bee Squad to host on-site apiaries across the Twin Cities. Sunny Fitzgerald, Twin Cities, "A sweet deal for hotels: Hosting honeybees," 2 Oct. 2019 The apiary was inside a sealed tent, where scientists monitored the hives’ temperature, humidity, and hive weight, among other things. Wired, "Bees, Please: Stop Dying in Your Martian Simulator," 29 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'apiary.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of apiary

1654, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for apiary

borrowed from Latin apiārium, from apis "bee" (of obscure origin) + -ārium -ary entry 1

Note: Latin apis is superficially similar to the etymon *bi- seen in English bee and with varying suffixation in other northern Indo-European words (see bee entry 1), but cannot be connected in any phonetically regular way. A loan from ancient Egyptian ̓ fj "bee" has been hypothesized.

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Time Traveler for apiary

Time Traveler

The first known use of apiary was in 1654

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Last Updated

13 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Apiary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apiary. Accessed 28 Jan. 2021.

More from Merriam-Webster on apiary

Nglish: Translation of apiary for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of apiary for Arabic Speakers

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