21 July 2014
The Short Answer (TSA)
Some of you made have heard of the proverbial “horse of a different color.” Well, the “Cordovan” honey bee is the bee of a different color. Cordovan actually refers to the color, rather than, any other characteristic of the bee. Every cordovan bee that has been observed is, in fact, what is called an Italian bee – formally know as “Apis mellifera ligustica” or ”A. m. ligustica” for short.
How common is the Italian bee? Well, it’s the most common breed of honeybee found in the western world — Europe and the Americas. If you live in the west, when you think of a honeybee, you’re thinking of an Italian bee.
So, what’s so special about Cordovan (Italian) bees?
The same thing that’s special about cordovan leather – the color.
The cordovan bee is of a noticeably different color than both its sister Italians and all other breeds of honey bees. Sometimes, cordovan bees are called blonde honey bees because of their golden color. If you look at a picture of one of these bees, you might wonder why cordovan honey bees weren’t named golden bees. But this brings up another question.
For those of you who are up on your leathers, you might be scratching your head because blonde and gold have nothing to do with cordovan leather. Cordovan leather has an attractive color — a shade close to burgundy. So, where’s the cordovan on the cordovan bee?
Well, it’s nearly in the same place you’d find it on people – the feet and head. Italian bees have plain old black legs and heads – sort of like people who stick to black shoes and hats. Your cordovan bee, on the other hand, flies out and about town sporting a burgundy colored head and legs.
I’ll stop here. “Style” must speak for itself . . . .