I started with Carnies (dark bees at least they were called that), and I like them. One thing to note is that they put propolis down like crazy, or at least mine do. I had one hive nearly seal an inner cover hole this year and did seal an upper entrance cut in that cover. Working the hives is a mess at times, and I've popped a couple of frame tops off, since it's hard to break them loose side to side, with all the glue everywhere. I also struggle to keep them dressed and together tightly. I like that I've never had robbing out of them though. I've only been through one winter, but 2 of 3 wintered and then they blow up in the spring, as mentioned. Good luck to you next year!