Carniolan Honey Bees (Apis mellifera
carnica) are a subspecies of the Western Honey Bee. They are naive to Slovenia,
southern Austria, and parts of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia,
Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria.
They are favored among beekeepers for
several reasons, not the least being its ability to defend itself successfully
against insect pests while at the same time being extremely gentle in their
behavior toward beekeepers. They bees are particularly adept at adjusting
worker population to nectar availability. They rely 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. They have periods of
high nectar production with high worker populations and they consequently store
large quantities of honey and pollen during those periods. They are resistant
to some diseases and parasites that can debilitate hives of other subspecies.
Carniolan honey bees are about the same
size as Italian Honey Bees, but they are physically distinguished by a
generally dusky brown-grey color that is relieved by stripes of a subdued
lighter brown color. Their chitin (Their main component of their exoskeleton,
glucose polymer) 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 bees. Carniolan bees are nearly
as big and long as the Western European black bees, though their abdomens are
much slimmer. Also, they have 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.
They are known for an explosive spring build up; however
this build up means more swarms. They are not prone to rob, are very gentle,
and are good comb producers. However, they produce less honey than Italian bees.