Carniolans and Italians...both keep making brood even in bad times?
I am aware that Italian Queens keep laying eggs even in rough times. Often making so much brood that the colonie can not support it self.
After doing some research I discovered that Carniolans have a VERY fast spring build up...even greater then the Italians. Now do the Carniolans keep producing new brood, like the Italians, even in rough times?
Last edited by MrGreenThumb; 06-22-2007 at 05:13 AM.
In my experience, Italians and ferals that are largely Italian will continue brood rearing only if they have the assets to do so. In other words, if you pull the honey after the flow they will back off. If you don't, they will eat it and make brood. I have never had bees to produce brood without some food.
Italians seem to always produce brood. Carniolans will slow or shut down brood rearing without resources.
Any recommnedations for the best breed of bee for a new hobbiest?
In time, I will build a couple of TBH's with an observation window. Gentleness is always a good idea for a newb, but I'd like to limit propolis so I'm not constantly scraping my observation window.
You usually won't go wrong with Italians, but I've come to prefer Carns in my old age. Gentler and calmer on the comb but prone to swarming. Little propolis use. I've seen Italians rear brood in the middle of winter where Carns usually don't. Carn crosses in the f2 generations can be pretty nasty, but with all the inbreeding over the years it's hard to predict what you'll get. If you find a strain you like try to keep it going as every time you introduce an unknown queen you are introducing unknown behaviors as well. If they are nasty, requeen them from your own gentler stock and your odds of producing a calmer apiary are enhanced.
Carnis have the advantage of being very responsive to changes in
resources, which is to say that they start raising brood long
before other types of bees do when given feed and fresh-frozen
pollen. The "shutting down" is also quicker in response to dearths
with some lines of Carnis, but is best experienced when using
There are lots of people offering darkish-looking bees that they
call "Carnis", but very few Carnis are NWCs, just as very few
cars are 1963 Jaguar XKEs. NWCs, like 63 Jags, can turn on
a dime and give you 8 cents change.
Jim, who would you recommend to someone to ensure that they get the real deal NWC?
Originally Posted by Jim Fischer
>I am aware that Italian Queens keep laying eggs even in rough times. Often making so much brood that the colonie can not support it self.--MGT
I have never had this problem with the ferals here that seem to have some Italian linage. But you need to keep in mind that laying up brood during the lul is often an advantage in providing the population of bees required to take advantage of the early stages of a flow. This is one of the reasons why Italians have become so popular in the eastern states during the past century. Italians often brood thru the lul in mid summer and therefore have the abundant bees necessary for rapid start up in August for gathering Goldenrod bloom.
--After doing some research I discovered that Carniolans have a VERY fast spring build up...even greater then the Italians.--MGT
OK, this is true,
but did you consider the timing of the buildup?
Many beekeepers have stated that Italians have the advantage in early flows because they winter with large clusters and brood up earlier than Carnies. What some beekeepers think as an advantage with carnies perhaps is really a disadvantage in the north east because this “rapid build up” in Carnies starts a bit later in spring. This can have an impact on the colonies ability to collect an abundance of early blooms such as Tulip and Locust.
If you look at a chart of nectar flows in the north east, you will find that the season is made up of a series of starts and stops of major as well as minor flows. Carnies being so sensitive to changes will be shutting down, OR slowing brood production thoughtout these times, where as Italians will brood thru these minor fluctuations, and having maintained a populated workforce, are ready to take advantages of the early beginnings of flows, where carnies may be slow to respond having to come out of shutdown to rear more foragers first.
Perhaps your are having great grief in deciding which bee to go with. My advice to you is that the beekeepers in your area already know which bee is best.
Might be best to ask them, and go with that bee!
Joe Waggle Derry, PA
“Bees Gone Wild Apiaries”
Carnica overwinters with small colonies and with small food consumption. Brood rearing starts with the first income of pollen and fast development occurs thereafter. During summer, the Carnica maintain a large brood nest only if the pollen supply is adequate; the brood rearing will be limited in case of a poor pollen flow. In fall the population of the colony declines rapidly. It would be quite impossible for the Carnica to overwinter with strong colonies like Ligustica. However, overwintering is very good even under unfavorable climatic conditions. There is a strong disposition to swarm accompanying the fast development of the colonies and their great vitality, but this disposition can be influenced by selection.
The Italians that I have kept in PA definately produced no brood in January.
I'm a returning beekeeper. In the past my family and I kept Italians for many years then the mites came ashore and wiped us out. Now I'm back to beekeeping and decided to try Carniolans.
First, I really do like the Carniolans but what I've been told about them and what I have observed is quite different. I keep a SMRT variety and there have been zero mites to deal with. After checking the hives several times last year, I found a grand total of 1 mite.
I've been told that Carniolans have a small winter cluster. I've been told they are very docile, I've been told they are weak honey producers.
What I've observed is that my Carniolans have large winter clusters, they're clearly producing brood all winter. I checked my hives on Jan 31 (a rare 60 degree day) and they are just jammed packed with bees. If it wasn't so cold I'd be adding supers. I still might. But it does appear they consume less honey during the cold winter months.
I've also found that they aren't necessarily so docile. The temperament of the hives seem to be very variable. While one is fairly docile, another is down right nasty (they came from the same apiary) and at times a little scary. I've smoked the nasty hive and lifted the inner cover to have bees spray out as if being squirted from a firehose directly at my face. While wearing a full body suit, I've had that hive attack me, find my ankles, cluster on and sting me dozens of times through my socks. That sure wasn't pleasant. Would you call that docile? But, I like that hive it has real gusto. Very interesting to observe.
I really don't see a difference between the Italian honey production and the Carniolan production. But again the Carniolans seem to consume less honey with a larger winter population.
Spring build up is nearly explosive. Which is nice for splits.
Your bees don't really sound like Carniolans to me. Are they really Carnis? Or are they maybe descendents of open-mated Carnis (Carnis that mated to Italians, maybe)?
Most bees that I've seen seem to really be "mutts." They might be somewhat more "Italian" or somewhat more "Carniolan," but they're mostly a mix of a lot of different lines. Open mating does that to bees in most settings.
I normally get my NWC from Strachan Apiaries but I have got some from Tim Arheit. Most of my beekeeping has been with Italians until about 6 years ago. I have yet to have a NWC cluster that didn't scare me at this time of year. They are from softball to maybe half of a soccer ball in size. On the other hand my Old Sol hives have the top deep about half full of bees. I am not sure what they are but they seem "Italiany".
Normally in my area the NWC don't eat much at all from November 1 to February 1. It is from now to the middle of April that I have to worry as they start to build up. I check hive weight from now until then every couple of weeks. Then if we have a wet spring, I keep checking.
They seem quite docile also. The Old Sol hives are more "lively" when I take the lid off, but I can normally work around the entrances without worry. It may be just because they have more bees and larger clusters seem to have more bees come greet you.
When you quote directly from someone elses work you should give credits.
Did someone quote someone's work here? Am I missing something?
Originally Posted by Tom G. Laury
Since the demise of Sue Cobeys program at Ohio and at the same time the death of Don Strachan from Strachan Apiaries in CA, the quality of carni's diminished greatly in the US. Strachan produced by far the largest number of carniolan queens for some time. I lost track of them as the quality went down the tubes and they shipped worthless poorly mated queens certain to supercede within weeks or months.
This time period around 2000 also saw the end of the usefullness of Apistan and checkmite as mites got resistant. THe result of that was many beekeepers started using homemade and off label treatments sometimes in high concetrations way beyond what is safe for bees.
Most of the carniolan queens coming out of CA since then are poorly mated from massively contaminated brood comb which makes drones sterile and reduces the viability of even well mated queens.
The most important piece of advice I have for all beekeepers is to interview your queen breeder before ordering. Ask them about their mite treatments, ask them how clean their brood comb is in their breeder and starter colonies. Ask them if they have clean comb in their drone mother colonies.
If you don't get a clear and satisfactory answer or the person appears not to understand the link between contaminated brood comb and queen fertility, hang up and move on to another queen producer.
Carniolans build up rapidly in spring and produce huge honey crops. They tend to reduce brood rearing in late season and fall or when pollen and nectar is in short supply unlike the Italians which often go into winter with massive populations.
Italians are warm weather and migratory bees. Most strains have little resistance except for selection for hygenic and VSH traits.
Beekeepers who are stationary and in the north would be better served in finding a good source of fertile carniolan or russian stock.
Sue Colby is at UC Davis now doing what she has always done with NWC Bees.
I have bought Strachan's queens for several years now (probably since about 2000) and have been really happy with them. I haven't had any supersedure problems that stood out. I have more of that problem with August requeening, but Strachans usually don't have queens for me then.
Re: Here I am
Full Bloom in CT. has some good Carnies And Alan has great customer service.
Re: Here I am
I recommend for this question, and many on the forum is to try both yourself and compare hives side by side in your area. The climate is probably not exactly the same as others on here. First hand experience trumps online "research" many times
Do a mite count