The carnolian honey bees, also called apis melifera cardiac, is one of the 4 races of honeybees. Also called the ‘grey italien honeybees’ because of their resemblance with italien honeybees, another race of honeybees.
Carnolian honeybees are originally from the Balkan Peninsula (South-East Europe), and more precisely from Slovenia. Which explains why this race is mostly found in Europe. They are fondly liked by beekeepers because of their many attributes, which we will detail later on.

Distinctive attributes:

– Color: grey-ish
– Size: big, just like the black honeybees (from West Europe)
– Abdomen: slim and hairy
– Legs: long
– Hair: many and short
– Tongue: extremely long (around 0,36 inches)

Why are the Carnolian honeybees loved by beekeepers?

Honey production: is very high.
– Temper: carnelian are very gentle and rarely sting, which is a big advantage, especially in urban areas.
Sense of direction: is very developed.
– Lifespan: grey italien bees live between 4 to 9 extra days compared to other races.
Capping: is their area of expertise, especially in winter?
– Adaptability: their adaptability skills come very handy, they can work in different climate, temperatures and landform (from mountains to urban areas). They can stay inside their hives up to 150 days in case of emergency.
– Robustness: Carnelian bees can survive various diseases, such as the foulbrood.
– Queen’s management: in case of drought or tough winters, the queen knows to stop laying eggs until the colony is safe, once that point is reach the queen lays eggs again and the colony develops more rapidly than other races.
– Consumption: by having smaller colonies, carnelian bees have limited food consumption and thus less likely to face staving times.
– Earliness: the grey bees tend to act earlier than others by having spring honeydews rather than summer ones.
– Prolificity: Carnolian queens are very fertile
– Foraging: thanks to their very big tongue, carnelian honeybees can collect lots of nectar and pollen at once.

Of course, Carnolian honeybees do present some drawbacks too, no one is perfect! Among which are the fact that their building skills are quite poor and that they tend to resort to pillage in difficult times. But overall, Carnolian honeybees are very gentle and productive, hence highly likes among beekeepers.