The Carniolan Honey Bees
The Carniolan bees (Apis mellifera carnica), which are also called as carniolans. The English term for these bees is ‘carnies’ which at this moment is the second most popular honey bee among beekeepers after the well known Italian bee. This bee is native to Slovenia (Carniola is a place in Slovenia) including to some other regions like southern Austria, parts of Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria and some areas of the former Yugoslavia.
The carniolans possesses a lot of benefits and superiority compared to other bees, hence they are most favored among beekeepers. They are known as gentle and non-aggressive bees which make the beekeepers feel save while working with them. They can also be kept in populated areas with less bees drifting from one hive to another beehive. Unlike the Italian bees, Carniolan bees are less prone to rob honey.
The Carniolan bees are also known to be very proficient in adjusting their worker bee population to the availability of nectar. They are able to make the adjustment very swiftly. As soon as they detect the increasing availability of nectar in springtime they multiply their worker bee population and with the same speed they can swiftly cut of their offspring production when nectar availability is decreasing. With such speedy increase of worker bees, their ability to collect large amount of honey will be very beneficial to the beekeeper.
Another benefit is that these bees are quite resistant to brood diseases which in the case of other bees could easily spread and weaken hives of other bee subspecies. A Carniolan worker bee has a longer lifespan of about 12% compared to other bees. In terms of hive management, the beekeeper needs only a small amount of propolis to seal the unwanted open spaces or small gaps in the hives.
Carniolans are more suitable for areas with long winters, where they can survive in smaller number of worker bees while keeping their honey storage at its maximum. They are also very useful in areas with strong nectar flows. They will look for honey early in the morning or late evening when the days are wet and cool.
In spite of their benefits, Carniolans possess also some disadvantages, which include their proneness to swarming when overcrowded, less ability to thrive during hot summer weather, their broodnest strength depends on pollen availability and the fact that it isn’t easy to find the carniolan dark queen bee among thousands of other worker bees.
Carniolans are about the similar size of the Western European bees but with a slimmer abdomen. They can also be distinguished by their hairy grayish brown colored stripes hence they are also called as the gray bees. The long tongue of the Carniolans (which ranges 6.5 – 6.7 mm) makes it suitable to seek nectar from cloves. They also have very short hair and a very high elbow join.
Uno Birawan is a writer and wrote a lot about beekeeping. You can find more information on a Carniolan honey bees and others or visit his site www.thehoneybeekeeper.com to find more valuable information on beekeeping