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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Evansville, IN, USA



    On Sep 15 as a reply to 'Re Carniolians' you posted that your New World Carniolans "Require a little different management".

    Please explain. I am not challenging you, I just want to learn. Thank You.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    crown point, NY, USA



    you posted that your New World Carniolans "Require a little different management".

    Please explain. I am not challenging you, I just want to learn. Thank You.


    I would broaden this statement a bit more. Black races of bees require a little different management than the yellow types. However there are some black strains that have been bred to be just like the italian strains. But Will discuss those that hold true to original characteristics. I am a promoter of the unlimitedbroodnest management which seems to be best for the carniolan and caucasian bees. How the management of these bees differs:

    They will wait later in the spring to start broodrearing often. Conserving stores longer so as not to use them up. They will explode in broodrearing to make up for the later start. This has given rise to many saying the carniolan bee is swarmy. This is true in essence if the carniolan bee is restricted using for innstance a single brood box. The bee needs maximum room at all time so as not to feel crowded ( 3 deep is best). Where the italian bee will stand some crowding the carniolan usually doesn't stand as much. During a flow the broodnest tends to fill in with honey and pollen reducing the room even more thus the need for a large broodnest. Opening up the broodnest is common especially if only using two brood chambers. If managed using unlimited broodnest methods swarming is cut to about 2%. Would you like me to copy some old posts of carniolan and caucasion bee characteristics from pre 1950's that me and Dee Lusby discussed a few years ago? Info is from old ABJ's and such. It is from the characteristic of the bee one needs to base there management methods on to work with the bees.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Evansville, IN, USA
    Yes Clay,

    Please post any info you feel would be helpful.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    California- bay area


    Clayton wrote:
    I am a promoter of the unlimited broodnest management which seems to be best for the carniolan and caucasian bees.

    I just read a book that proves what you say about how black races bees do better in the unlimited brood box management.

    The book is called THE HONEY BEE and is about communication, the chapter this was in was on swarm communication and dialect.
    "Quite by accident, we discovered that if we used larger hive boxes, there was no problem. we the altered the protocol and provided both large and small hive boxes at each distance; the swarms could occupy either one. Carniolian chose the larger boxes all seven times they were given the chance, while Italian cluster selected the smaller hives six out of seven times. Obviously there is a racial difference in optimal cavity size."(chapter 6 pg. 122)

    Joseph Tona

    [This message has been edited by Got Honey? (edited September 16, 2002).]

    [This message has been edited by Got Honey? (edited September 16, 2002).]

    [This message has been edited by Got Honey? (edited September 16, 2002).]

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    crown point, NY, USA



    The book is called THE HONEY BEE and is about communication, the chapter this was in was on swarm communication and dialect.


    Who is the author of the book?

    Obviously there is a racial difference in optimal cavity size."(chapter 6 pg. 122)


    Yes. Makes one wonder why they tell begginers to do things a certain way. Things depend on not only the race of bee but the climate that bee is in.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    crown point, NY, USA


    Hi Dave,

    Yes Clay,
    Please post any info you feel would be helpful.

    reply: (here goes)

    Hi Clayton. Saw your post to get started 12-22-2000 at 08:49 AM concerning to know what old characteristics written for Carnolian are in the old texts.
    I am now looking at ABJ, 1888, page 19, now quoted for your benefit:

    "Our bees fly in dark and cool weather, and suffer very little from diarrhea and other spring maladies...they are used to rapid changes of temperature. Our bees are preverbially kind and gentle.

    ...These bees are great beauties, being nearly black, with white stripes - the white being probably due to hairs, as they all seem to be young bees...

    Their flight seems to be very strong, and I am inclined to think them large as compared with the Italians...these mountain bees flying very freely, with the mercury at 45 degrees, when not a wing was to be seen about my other hves (Italians)."

    I am now looking at ABJ, 1888,pg 519 in a letter written by Frank Benton, now quoted for your benefit:

    "There is in the race a tinge of yellow blood that crops out every now and then, do the best one may. I breed only from such queens as produce gray workers--such as no yellow or orange bands--not even a tinge of orange, and I permit no drones to be reared in any apiary except those from Carnolian queens whose workers and drones are quite gray; but there are several native apiaries near me, over which I have no control, and whose owners care nothing for yellow bands if they exist.

    There were at my residence today, two intelligent beekeepers from the northern part of Carniola, and I questioned them on this point, and they replied that an occasional tendency toward orange or rusty-red bands was always the case with all Carniolans, but that it was no mark of impurity in the race, since it exists so all over Carniola.

    ..When now we take into account the fact that Carniolans are much hardier and more prolific than Italians,we have more abundant reason, to place them as superior to Italians... "

    This text from ABJ, 1888, pg 765 on Carnolians is now quoted:

    "the most notable new trait about them is, their freedom from the disposition to 'rob' or their vigilance in guarding their hives."

    From ABJ, 1922, pg 113 quoted on carnolian bees.

    "The Carnolians also swarm much more readily than either the common bees or the Italian."

    From ABJ, 1927, pg 492 quoted on Carnolians:

    "The carniolans are not so quite on the comb as the Italians, but fully as gentle.When I open a hive, as many as a dozen may fly at my hands or face, but they hardly ever sting-simply touch with their antennae as if curious, and fly back to the hive. They never rob or drift, but resist robbers well.They build up faster than Italians and are ready to swarm a week or ten days sooner. They build more queeen cells and will swarm more if left alone.Sometimes a queen will not be satisfied with two hive bodies, but starts to fill the third with brood, when kept in Langstroth hives.

    They fly farther than Italians and are usually the first to find new sources of honey....They keep the colony up to honey-gathering strength later in the season.

    The only cross that I would recommend is between leather-colored Italians and Carniolans...The first cross is usually good; further crosses are more uncertain.I have never known a Carniolan or the first cross to rob, but when crossed with Italians so that the hybrids were mostly Italians robbing would sometimes occur."

    From ABJ 1935, pg 578

    " The purest type of the Carniolan race is dark gray, or steel colored, larger than our common bees, and wholly free from yellow bands...always gentle and easily managed."

    From ABJ 1951, pg 60

    "In ABJ for 1890...described the carniolan bees as follows: The carniolan workers are not very large, but the abdominal rings of hairs are very plainly marked. The hair is light gray, so that the bees seem distinctly banded.The color of the abdomen is grayish-black, or dark drab, and so it is not so black as the typical German bee. The wings are large and strong.

    The Carniolan queen is very large -larger perhaps, than the queen of any other of our domesticated bees. As is well known, while the common black queen is very black above, she is bronze-colored beneath.The typical carniolan has this rich bronze color on the entire abdomen."

    I hope this helps you out some Clayton. The next post will concern Caucasian bees for you for reference.

    Very best regards to you. Looking forward to your comments.


    Thanks Dee,
    I made a list of these characteristics from the info. They are: in dark, cool weather (45 degrees)
    2.suffer little from disease
    3.used to changing weather
    4.kind and gentil
    5.dark gray w/ white stripes (occational orange or rusty-red bands)
    6.hardier and more prolific than italians
    7.rob, drift very little
    8.guard hive well
    9.swarm readily
    10.not as quite on combs as italians up fast- sometimes need three hive bodies
    12. flay farther than italians
    13.honey gathering strength lasts longer into season

    Do you have any info on honey production, ability to draw comb, use of winter stores, ect? The only draw backs to carniolans I can see is there higher tendency to swarm. I am planning to use three hive bodies per colony to over winter. Split to two bodies to control swarming and the third will be a single for honey production or used as mating nucs. Then recombined for winter. Have any recomendations? Also I over winter nucs to have queens for spring this also culls those that don't cut it. However regression is my top priority over queen rearing at this point. OK, how about caucasians?


    Hi Clayton. This is in reply to your post of 12-23-2000 at 10:32 AM.
    I just loved the listing you did from the excerpts of the ABJ articles I
    quoted for you. Before I answer your questions at the bottom from the
    archives also that I;ve read, here's background on Caucasian bees for you to
    make another listing since you did such a good job on the first!

    Taken from ABJ, 1888, Pg 778 Caucasian bees are;

    "They are remarkably gentle, seldom stinging, yet they can sting when
    abused...These bees cling to the combs firmly when the frames of combs are
    handled. As honey gatherers they are as good as the best. Their cappings are
    equal to that of the blacks, being very white and thick. The bee-glue or
    propolis is not half as sticky as that of the blacks or Italians.They gather
    immense quantities of Pollen. The queens are remarkably prolific, and
    colonies swarm once a week, of left to their own management.

    They build more queen-cells than any other race of bees. The brace-combs
    seem to be made of dark wax, a kind of mud color, which is objectionable
    when cappings are stuck to the seperators. They are extra hardy, and stand
    our cold, bleak winters splendidly.

    Their color is of a dark copper hue, or fine orange like...They are large
    bees, yet long and slim. Their wings are long, and will carry a big load.
    They work when Cyprians and blacks are idle, and are out earlier in the
    morning , and fly later in the evening.They gathered honey right along
    during the drouth of 1886 and 1887, when the blacks, Cyprians and Italians
    gathered none...

    They not only stand the heat, dryness and cold better, but against robbers,
    insects, moth-millers and fungus they have no equal; and when properly
    understood and managed, they will gather as much honey as any bees, but they
    require another system of management...

    The queens want more room than any race of bees that I ever owned. The
    pecular device I have adopted in my management of them was that I gave the
    queens more room."

    Taken from ABJ,1915, pg 209 for Caucasian bees

    "...There is another great trait of the Caucasians, and that is the way they
    stick to their location.../we found practically no drifting with them, but
    not so with Italians.

    They are the first to build up in the spring, and the first to enter the
    supers, and are very quiet, no disturbance excites them;and the best of all
    is they cap their honey snow white, which means thick well ripened honey.
    The queens are long lived, doing good work at five years if well bred and
    well developed."

    Taken from ABJ, 1915, for Caucasian bees:

    "varying from a dark smutty greyish color to a very bright grey and some
    almost yellow...So all Caucasians are not alike in color...The great
    objection to Caucasians is the difficulty of recognizing a small amount of
    hybridization with the common bee.In the Italian race, the crosses show much
    more readily..Yellow Caucasians are not liked in Europe."

    Taken from ABJ 1922, page 471 for Caucasian bees:

    "This opinion was also given by Frank Benton...who said: 'the most precious
    bee which I will bring to America from my world travels is the grey bee of

    Taken from ABJ, 1927,pg 573

    "There are two main sorts of the Caucasian bees. The typical bee for the
    Caucasus is the mountain gray Caucasian bee..We find at Caucasus also the
    second sort, the yellow Caucasian bee. She lives in North Caucasus.

    She has yellow or orange areas on the two or three bands of the abdomen
    counting from the thorax. The mountain gray Caucasian bee is extraordinarily
    peaceable, laborious, tolerant to the cold and rought wintering which she
    finds at high mountain localities.The bee of this gray race has also very
    prolific queens and swarms moderately. These bees fill the cells with honey
    very much before they cover them with cappings...

    The gray mountain caucasian bee is so peaceable that the native beekeepers
    manipulate the frames and bees commonly without veils and smoker."

    From ABJ, 1931,pg 14

    "The queens of the Caucasian bee are dark."

    (note-Our caucasian queens backs are black with copperish-orange
    underbellies, some queens with this color inbetween the tergits when the
    abdomen is extended and she is fully laying. -Dee)

    From ABJ, 1932,pg 201

    Caucasians...undoubtedly fly at from 2-5 degrees lower temperature than
    Italians with which they hve been compared. The colonies are extremely
    thrifty...there are always stores in the brood chamber for use, and no
    surplus is stored until the brood chamber is amply stocked for current use
    of the bees in their own domestic economy.The queens rather definitely fill
    one brood comb full of brood before expanding to the next comb.

    Caucasian queens are apparently more easily introduced than Italians...The
    tendency of Caucasians to close the entrances more or less with propolis is
    quite definite...They also seem to stand more crowding without undue
    tendency to swarm than do Italians. This may be realted to their tendency to
    a compactness of brood chamber and their habit of occupying additional space
    only as absolutely required."

    From ABJ 1933,pg 214

    Pure Caucasian workers call for gray bodies with silver bands. When they get
    mixed with either of the black races, they are all black but if they get
    mixed with Italians, they are either all black, or some yellow with the
    black...The queens hold their color better than the workers even when mixed
    with other races and so will the drones...As to honey production, they are
    equal to any other race and they are far earier to handle."

    From ABJ,1933,pg 349

    "It was found that these Caucasians had a tongue length exceeding that of
    any other race or strain of bees in the United states at the time."

    From ABJ, 1933,pg 436

    "they go into the winter with a smaller population of bees, but come out in
    the spring stronger than the Italians...Spring dwindling is very uncommon
    with caucasians and very common with Italians...outright winter losses are
    much fewer...they consume far less stores during winter than do the

    From ABJ, 1940,pg 215

    "Other dominant characters indicate that the caucasian is basically
    resistant to American Foulbrood, a disease to which the yellow bee is
    particularly susceptible."

    From ABJ,1951,pg 59

    "The bees of the caucasus area could be broken down into 6 separate
    areas...The caucasian reveals a similar variation with the darker color
    approaching black instead of dark leather...this is important, because,where
    variation exists, selection is possible."

    I could probably find more Clayton, but let's start with this for you to
    list. Then we can go into comparing the two together.Please note Clayton,
    that the common black listed, are references to the common black bee of
    Europe, the other Black race you are looking to define, in case you want to
    start a third listing, we can add to. We can end up comparing to yellow
    races then after you and I or others participating, also go through the the
    yellow races.

    Waiting for your comments.



    The list for caucasians was a little more difficult to gather being a lot more info. Here it is:

    1.gentil (seldom stings- unless abused)
    2.good honey gatherers (as good as the others)
    3.close entrances w/ propolis (but is not as sticky as other races)
    4.cappings are white
    5.gathers large amounts of pollen some brace comb
    7.winters well- small populations-build up well
    8.color- anywhere from grey to dark grey, some are almost yellow, dark copper hue or fine orange(God help me, more variations possible)-have long wings, too early, late in evening
    10.prolific queens-often needs more room(same as carnies above)-queens long lived at 2-5 degrees lower temp than italians
    12.can stand more crowding than italians
    13. long tongue
    14.AFB resistant ???(this may have been selected by beekeeper)
    15. little drifting

    Sound like good bees to me. To add to the carniolan list: 14.also have long tongue
    15.winters well- small populations
    Seems to me that caucasians and carniolans have quite a few similar characteristics. I wonder why? Both should not be managed in the same way as italian colonies thats for sure. To be sucessful with any race one should have a deep understanding of their characteristics. OK how about apis mellifera mellifera (black bees)? Any thing you want to add to my list that I missed?

    Clay - merry christmas

    This post is in reply to dialogue started for Clayton in December 2000 and in reply to some of his comments posted between 22 Dec - 27 Dec on information I looked up for him.
    In conversation, Clayton wants to know how todays black bees are different from the same types written about from about 1888 to 1959, and did they change when they were brought to the US and how?


    Well, this would probably have to be my opinion here, and will probably start some big disagreements, but basically I would say today's bees are different because they:

    1. Have been bred for a more uniform consistant color and specific sizing quite different from when they originally arrived in the USA.

    2. They are more prone to disease and parasite attacks due to unreasonable
    enlargement placing them out-of-tune with more natural floras for foraging and artificial enlargement of brood combs.

    3. They no longer propolize the same, store honey the same, and collect/store pollen the same.(not to say that some still don't do, but many do not).

    4. They are shorter lived as queens, in laying ability, having to be replaced on a yearly basis, rather than every 2-3 years.

    Clayton wrote further pertaining to Carnolians:

    'Also I over winter nucs to have queens for spring; this also culls those that don't cut it. However, regression is my top priority over queen rearing at this point.'


    This is wise Clayton, to have spares available to take up deadouts. Then you
    can dispose of them by either selling to others or combining for use of the
    best queens for usage.

    You write that 'however, regression is my top priority over queen rearing at
    this point.'

    For this I must say then, you need to plan to get equipment ready for when your bees are first brooding and whitening combs, to start, so you can gain survivalability first, then go for gaining variability by adding numbers, and finally then start to go into breeding. It will be a three step process, no matter what scale you do it on, I think you will find.

    Clayton wrote further pertaining to my posting about Caucasian characteristics:

    'Sound like good bees to me. To add to the Carnolian list: 14.also have long
    tongue 15.winters well- small populations'


    Actually, no, do not post this to the end of the Carnolian list.

    Caucasian bees have longer tongues than any other race, not Carnolians (it was meant that carnies have long tongues, but not the longest) ; Caucasians
    also winter well with smaller clusers in size, compared to Carnolians.

    Clayton, I noted you saw caucasians and carnolians have quite a few similar
    characteristics. This is because they are both black bee type races of northern temperate latitudes and also both cold-weather type bees.

    Now before I end. Clayton you wanted to also know about apis mellifera mellifera characteristics. Well a few were noted in the comments while writing about the Carnolian and Caucasian bee characteristics for you. But, for more detailed information here is a good site for your to look at and
    read about their characteristics there from the UK.Please reference apis mellifera mellifera characteristics are available at

    Hope this info helps to understand the bees.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Evansville, IN, USA


    BOY!!! I sure got my money's worth on that one. I have printed your info so I can read, re-read(?) and study.

    Clay, thanks


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    California- bay area



    The book is by James L. Gould & Carol Grant Gould.

    It's very interesting if you are into the dance language and forms of communication, it has great pictures.
    It was last copyrighted in '95 so it's pretty recent. If you find it for sale buy it.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Bluff City, TN USA


    Hi Dave, Clay beat me to the punch,but he is the one that put me on the unlimited brood nest. 3 deeps work very well.Try it if you use Carnies. Done right, there are almost no swarms and they put in a bunch of honey. Don't forget to rotate the hive bodys. Very good info, Clay. I too have copied it off to read. Thanks, Jim



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