The Carniolan bee also known as Apis mellifera carnica or A.m.carnica for short has its origins in Eastern Europe and is therefore adapted to a continental climate with cold hard winters and long hot summers. It is now the main bee in Germany.
Photo from https://beeinformed.org/2012/04/queen-bee-identification/
It is also known as the Grey bee because 3 segments of its abdomen are broadly covered in a thick pelt of short grey hairs which partially conceals the underlying dark abdomen giving it a frosted look. Photo from queen bee identification article on www.beeinformed.org
It is similar to the Italian bee in that it is a medium sized bee with a long narrow body and limbs and it also has the same long proboscis which enables it to make full use of the red clover – an important forage crop in Europe.
It also shares the same gentle nature as the Italian bee but has a stronger swarming tendency. Coming from further north it fares better over winter being very thrifty with a smaller brood nest. Come spring and the build-up is very rapid indeed an adaptation to take advantage of an early flow.
If you are thinking of importing Carniolan bees – or buying from somebody else who imports Carniolan or any other bees for that matter – remember that you will be helping to erode the genetics of the Irish bee. The Irish bee has evolved over thousands of years and ‘knows’ how to cope with the uniquely horrible Irish climate. Why would you want to do that?
And don’t forget – small Hive Beetle is out there waiting for somebody just like you. You don’t want to find yourself in front of god explaining why you destroyed your neighbour’s native bee breeding programme and at the same time introduced the most devastating bee parasite to Ireland now do you?
Best not mention you knew what you were doing.
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