THURSDAY: What is a Carniolan Honey Bee?

10 April 2014


The Carniola honey bee (formally, apis mellifera carnica) is the second most popular subspecies of bee with beekeepers. Originally, a native of Eastern Europe, most especially Austria and Slovenia, this bee got its name from Carniola – a region now located in modern Slovenia.


This bee’s popularity results from, first, its hearty good health — being particularly resistant to most common bee diseases and parasites.  And, second, it’s good disposition — being described as gentle by beekeepers. And when you work with thousands of creatures who can sting, a good disposition is a major asset.


Carniolans are about the same size as their more popular cousins, the Italian Bee. In contrast to the familiar, distinct yellow and black coloration of the most well known types of honeybees, Carniolans are more of a brown-grey color with light-brown strips. They’ve sometimes been called the “grey bee.”


Carniolans are particularly active in the early spring, pollinating and gathering honey from the earliest blooms of the year. They also build substantial combs and produce large quantities of useful and saleable beeswax.


Published by

Mark Grossmann of Illinois & Missouri

Resident of Hazelwood, Missouri Formerly Belleville, Illinois Career History: Illinois Attorney College Instructor Campus Chair Paralegal Studies Program Most recently: blogging on entirely random subjects

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