Apiary vs aviary

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Apiary and aviary are two words that are very close in spelling and pronunciation but have very different meanings. In this post, we will look at the difference between apiary and aviary, the origin of the two words and some examples of usage.

An apiary is a place where bees are kept in beehives. These beehives are man-made and afford a place for bees to build honeycombs to fill with honey. Apiaries date back to Ancient Egypt. The sun temple of Niuserre, an Egyptian pharaoh who reigned from approximately 2445 BC to 2421 BC, shows beekeepers smoking hives and removing honeycombs. Modern beehives have moveable frames that increase honey production, farmers keep apiaries not only to harvest honey but to facilitate pollination of their crops. The word apiary is derived from the Latin word apiarium, which means beehouse. Related words are apiarist, apiarian, the plural form is apiaries.

An aviary is an enclosure where birds are kept. An aviary may be a large cage, a room or a building. Unlike a cage, an aviary gives a bird room to fly. Another word for an aviary is a flight cage. An aviary may be indoors or out. Some public aviaries allow visitors to walk through the aviary and experience the birds in flight. One of the oldest structures at the London Zoo is the Raven Cage, which was built in 1829. The World’s Fair Flight Cage was built for the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri. This aviary predates the St. Louis Zoo, which was not established until 1910. The aviary is still in use at the St. Louis Zoo as one of the world’s largest free-flight aviaries. The word aviary is derived from the Latin word aviarium, which means place where birds are kept. The plural form of aviary is aviaries.


The beekeeping year is well advanced now; swarming has been a factor for me to handle here at the apiary, plus multiple calls from the public to deal with swarms on and in their properties. (The Barry Gem)

Aimee says she started releasing healthy birds from the aviaries herself as there were so many owner Steve never knew how many birds he had. (The Bracknell News)