Other common names: European Honey Bee; Western Honey Bee; Common Honey Bee
Scientific name: Apis mellifera carnica
The Carniolan Honey Bee (Apis mellifera carnica), is a subspecies of the European Honey Bee (Apis mellifera). The European Honey Bee is one of seven recognized species of honey bee, and is the most commonly domesticated species of honey bee (the other being the Asian Honey Bee (Apis cerana)). Also see listings for other types of European Honey Bee: Buckfast Bee; European Dark Bee; Italian Honey Bee.
The European Honey Bee is believed to have originated in eastern tropical Africa and spread from there to Northern Europe and eastwards into Asia. There are many subspecies which have adapted to local geographic and climatic environments. The Carniolan honey bee is native to Slovenia and to some regions of the former Yugoslavia, southern Austria, and parts of Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria. The Carniolan Honey Bee is the second most popular among beekeepers, after the Italian Honey Bee.
The Carniolan Honey Bee is popular with beekeepers for several reasons, including its ability to defend itself successfully against insect pests while at the same time being extremely gentle in its behavior toward beekeepers. These bees are particularly adept at adjusting worker population to nectar availability. It relies on these rapid adjustments of population levels to rapidly expand worker bee populations after nectar becomes available in the spring, and, again, to rapidly cut off brood production when nectar ceases to be available in quantity.
Appearance / health:
Carniolan honey bees are about the same size as the Italian honey bee race, but they are physically distinguished by their generally dusky brown-grey color that is relieved by stripes of a subdued lighter brown color. Their chitin is dark, but it is possible to find lighter colored or brown colored rings and dots on their bodies. They are also known as the "grey bee".
Carniolan bees are nearly as big and long as the Western European black bees, though their abdomens are much slimmer. Furthermore, the Carniolan bee has a very long tongue (6.5 to 6.7 mm, which is very well adapted for clover), a very high elbow joint and very short hair.
Behavior / temperament:
All honey bees live in colonies where the worker bees will sting intruders as a form of defense, and alarmed bees will release a pheromone that stimulates the attack response in other bees. Some beekeepers believe that the more stings a beekeeper receives, the less irritation each causes, and they consider it important for safety of the beekeeper to be stung a few times a season. Beekeepers have high levels of antibodies (mainly IgG) reacting to the major antigen of bee venom, phospholipase A2 (PLA). Antibodies correlate with the frequency of bee stings.
Beekeeping (or apiculture, from Latin apis, bee) is the maintenance of honey bee colonies, commonly in hives, by humans. A beekeeper (or apiarist) keeps bees in order to collect honey and beeswax, to pollinate crops, or to produce bees for sale to other beekeepers. A location where bees are kept is called an apiary or "bee yard". A domesticated bee colony is normally housed in a rectangular hive body, within which eight to ten parallel frames house the vertical plates of honeycomb which contain the eggs, larvae, pupae and food for the colony.
Beekeepers typically use movable frame hives. Straw skeps, bee gums, and unframed box hives are now unlawful in most US states, as the comb and brood cannot be inspected for diseases. However, straw skeps are still used for collecting swarms by hobbyists in the UK, before moving them into standard hives.
harsher winter zones, colder climates, comb honey, good genetic defenses, cooler temperatures
Carniolan populations, new beekeeper, smaller numbers, hyper defensive mode
Busy bees, easy to please
The Carolinian bee is a very small bee in comparison to larger bees. Though it remains a wonderful animal to behold and is necessary for the pollination of plants and crops. Without Bees, there would be a mass shortage in the supply of food, there would be a lack of foliage in the environment, as plants would find it difficult to find alternative carriers for their pollen in order for them to mate. This raises the importance of bees in general, and is evidence of how important bees really are.
In my experience honey bees are very active creatures. They spend all day identifying potential plants which can supply their hive with nectar, in order to support and feed growing larvae. Their primary function in domestic terms is to produce honey. The process which is taken in order to extract the honey has to be taken very seriously, because it can upset the hive along without problems inside the hive.
The majority of the time the bees are autonomous and look after themselves. Only when disease or potential threats enter the hive, is where human intervention may be necessary.
One point i should stress is that bees are expensive to run. Though much satisfaction has been produced from these little guys, they can charge a big buck for their presence.
1) Maintaining the hive (queen dies)
2) Equipment needed (smoker, Bee-keeping suit)
If you want to be part of larger bee-keeping community, you have to pay for that as well.
All in all bees are wonderful animals, much joy has come from owning them and i believe that more people should invest in such as species because they are declining. My grandfather situates them in the garden, and has created a barrier in order to encourage the bees to fly upwards rather than hovering above the garden bed..
From jamiematheson08 Jun 6 2014 11:32AM
Hardy, hardworking bees
I love the sweet Italian bees, but was having trouble overwintering them. I talked to some other local beekeepers, many of which weren’t keeping Italians, and tried the Carniolans instead. Their appearance is similar to Italians except that their coloration is much darker.
Carniolans are incredibly active bees that made my Italians look lazy by comparison. They’re out and flying early even when the weather is cool. While the Italians seemed to pass up some flowers, the Carniolans make use of nearly anything they can find.
This species is equally as busy inside the hive. With sufficient food available, they can fill out comb extremely fast. Having kept the Italians previously, I was surprised by how much more quickly the Carniolans transformed fresh foundation to filled cells.
There are a couple drawbacks with the Carniolans. One is that they can be more aggressive than the Italians. With a bee suit and smoker, I’ve never had a problem with them while accessing the hive. They are a lot more vocal in their protests when frames are moved, but are still quite docile.
However, while no one here was ever stung by our Italians, we have been stung by the Carniolans. I was watching fairly close, but behind a tree from a hive when one of the bees stung me in the face. I immediately headed to the house when several other bees started after me.
There was a commotion in the hive at the time, which was why I had been watching. It looked like a group of Italians were trying to enter the hive so in that case the bees were in hyper defensive mode. But one of my other family members has been stung on a couple occasion, once by a bee that bumped into his arm and the other while walking by one of the hives.
Carniolans are also quicker to swarm than Italians. I’ve caught Italian swarms before, but never had my own Italian hives swarm. My Carniolan hive, on the other hand, swarmed three separate times this year.
As with Italians, Carniolans give you plenty of warning that they’re going to swarm and management options can prevent it. I let mine swarm because I wanted additional hives. Swarms usually hunker down in our orchard and we live out in a rural area where even if the swarms did take off, it couldn’t go pester the neighbors.
I captured and boxed all three of the swarms. The original hive that the swarms came off has rebuilt its numbers and is still going strong. One of the swarms was undersized, but is still going and the other two have built hives as big and bigger than the original colony.
Carniolans can be a feistier and need a bit more management than Italians, but they’re hardy and hardworking bees that excel at winter prep..
From gardenfairy Sep 25 2014 2:42AM