Italian Word of the Day: Ape (bee)

The word for bee in Italian is ape (feminine, plural: api). It comes from the Latin apis of the same meaning.

/à·pe/

Honeybees (api domestiche or api comuni) live in beehives (alveari) or colonies (colonie) which may consist of as few as 20,000 or more than 100,000 bees. The roles in the hive are as follows:

  • one queen bee (ape regina)
  • hundreds of drone bees (fuchi)
  • thousands of worker bees (api operaie)
  • thousands of larvae (larve)

Sono stato punto da un’ape!

I was stung by a bee!


Bee close up. Bees at the bee hive. Swarm of bees.
Uno sciame di api – A swarm of bees

The ape regina is female and is also the only fertile reproductive bee. The api operaie are female, but they are born sterile. They spend their entire lifespan foraging and creating wax cells (celle a base di cera d’api) which they then fill with honey (miele). The fuchi are male and their only job is to mate with the queen. They do not have a sting (pungiglione).

Did you know that…?
Ape is the commercial name for a type of three-wheeled vehicle made by the Italian motor vehicle manufacturer Piaggio. It consists of a cabin and a flatbed, and is intended for the transport of goods. It is an adaptation of the company’s Vespa scooter. (Vespa is the Italian word for wasp.)

La Piaggio Ape
Photo credit: Kolling – CC BY-SA 3.0

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