Saturday, October 17, 2009

What race of bees should I get?

The European honeybees are subspecies of varieties of Apis mellifera L.

The European, German, Dutch, black, brown, or dark bee - Apis mellifera var. mellifera L.: This race originated in central europe north of the Alps. It is not a very popular bee type since it tends to resent interference, is particularly susceptible to wax-moth infestation and is generally less prolific than other races.

Caucasian bee - Apis mellifera var. caucasica Gorbatschev: Originally from the southern part of the USSR, this bee is good natured and has a very long tongue.  It is very good in colder climates as it is tolerant of of severe winters. The bee is also prolific and industrious. The main disadvantage of this race is the large amount of propolis this bee creates in the hive, which hinders the easy removal of frames.

Carniolan bee - Apis mellifera var. carnica Pollmann: This bee is from the province of Carniolan in Austria. It is slightly smaller than the other races. Advantages include: The bee is gently, breeds prolifically and overwinters well. A disadvantage is the fact that these bees have a tendency to swarm.

Cyprian or Syrian Bee - Apis mellifera syriaca or Apis mellifera cypria Buttel Reepen: This bee originated in Asia minor. It is industrious but unfortunately also very vicious.

Italian Bee, Ligurian or leather-coloured bee - Apis mellifera var. ligustica Spinola: This is the race that I have. This type of bee is native to the Appenine Peninsula. This race breeds prolifically but are very poor at wintering.

Information from "The Bee Book" which was released by the Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries in Australia.

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