10 April 2014
The Carniolan 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. The bee is named after Carniola a region now located in modern Slovenia.
Their popularity results from, first, their hearty good health, being particularly resistant to most common bee diseases and parasites, and, second, their 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.
Carniolan’s are about the same size as their more popular cousins, the Italian Bee. In terms of the familiar and distinct yellow and black coloration of the honeybee, these bees are more of a brown-grey color with light-brown strips. They’ve sometimes been called the “grey bee.”
These bees are particularly active in the early spring, pollinating and gathering honey from the earliest blooms of the year. They also build substantial combs producing large quantities of useful and sale-able beeswax.