Distinguishing between Carniolan and Caucasian honey bees
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 32
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Wake Forest, NC
    Posts
    84

    Default Distinguishing between Carniolan and Caucasian honey bees

    Hello. My name is Nathaniel. We raise bees here in North Carolina, north of Raleigh (Granville County). I have noticed that some of our bees (open mated/naturally mated) propolize badly (They propolize so badly that they have made a curtain of propolis along the whole length of the entrance during last late summer.) and are sluggish to build up in the spring (February through early April), and so do not swarm easily. Though they do seem to raise a large percentage of drones during this early spring nectar we get from maple trees in February. They will keep a lot of their cells packed with bee bread and stay partly dormant, though as I wrote they seem to start drone breeding as much as the other breeds of bees (Italian or golden mixture). The other common bees we have (mixture of lighter bees) during this early spring nectar flow will eat up most of their honey stores and use it for brood production and will have a large population ready to swarm and draw out comb during the spring.

    After April these sluggish bees do build-up nicely to a fully populated colony to make honey. So I don't believe that they are just sickly queens running the colonies, but actually genetic.

    I believe these dark queen bees heading these colonies that are sluggish in early spring and that propolize a lot are Caucasian bees. Most likely from the beekeepers that raise Russian bees in our area. Russian bees had a high percentage of Caucasian I have read.

    It seems that these queen bees that head colonies with Caucasian traits have narrower abdomens (will have to actually measure during dearth and nectar flow and compare to thorax width), and have a brighter/richer orange mixed in with the black on the queen's abdomen. While what I think are Carniolans (little propolis, early spring build-up, black queens, gentle) seem to have duller/dusky dark brown mixed in with black on the abdomen. Have you noticed the same with your bees?

    Caucasian bees being from a different lineage (Middle Eastern lineage) from Carniolan bees (Southeastern Europe) should have at least some difference outwardly that could be seen.

    People say that Caucasian bees come from an area that is cold. I have read that around the Black Sea Coast where the Caucasian bees are from is actually a mild winter area with a cool summer (most likely influence from the sea:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humid_subtropical_climate).

    Of course higher altitudes make it colder. But I was wondering exactly how high up in the mountains are these Caucasian bees from in the Republic of Georgia. As you go east away from the Black Sea to the eastern Caucasus mountains, the climate gets dryer and colder during the winter (harsher climate). Armenian bees are from this area in the eastern part of the Caucasus mountain range. So I assume Armenian bees are more cold hardy than Caucasian bees, no?

    The Russian bees were certainly very winter hardy. I read about (http://keepingbee.org/russian-bees/) 1200 out of 1500 colonies dying through an especially cold winter in Mississippi in the year 2000. But only two colonies out of 2000 Russian bees died! That may not even have been from the weather that winter for the two Russian colonies that died, but something else, right?! So it is probably important to get a strain of bee locally adapted rather than the subspecies being a set strain of bee with specific characteristics. Though the different subspecies do seem to have some distinct tendencies. I have read that the wild population of Italian mixed bees in a park up in Ithaca, New York are now well adapted to the cold winters there in the central part of New York State (New York city would have milder winters being on the coast).

    Has anyone noticed any difference in the drones from Carniolan and Caucasian colonies?

  2. Remove Advertisements
    BeeSource.com
    Advertisements
     

  3. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Wake Forest, NC
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: Distinguishing between Carniolan and Caucasian honey bees

    I was told by David at Winter's Apiaries that the Caucasian bee drones have brown hair on their thoraxes, Carniolans would have white hairs. Hurray! One way to distinguish between these two dark colored bees!

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Knoxville, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    654

    Default Re: Distinguishing between Carniolan and Caucasian honey bees

    The main difference is:

    If you find yourself removing the inner cover with a standard hive tool they're Carniolans.
    If you find yourself removing the inner cover with a 6-foot pry bar and/or a jackhammer then they're Caucasians.
    Beekeeping 6 Years - 12 production hives and about 12 nucs - Treatment OAV Only

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,836

    Default Re: Distinguishing between Carniolan and Caucasian honey bees

    With Caucasians you often cannot let go of a frame. It sticks to your hand like flypaper... Caucasians tend to be more silver than brown in my experience.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Wake Forest, NC
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: Distinguishing between Carniolan and Caucasian honey bees

    Yes, I have noticed our suspected Caucasian bees propolize a whole lot more than other bees. They will make a curtain of propolis at the entrance which I love. I have noticed that the suspected Caucasian hives we have have greyer haired bees with more distinct bands than the "carniolan" bees that I think I have. Of course I am still not sure which hives have which subspecies in them, but am getting an idea by just a glance at the worker bees general appearance. They don't particularly go through winter well, which is odd from what I read about them doing well in Siberia.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    3,087

    Default Re: Distinguishing between Carniolan and Caucasian honey bees

    Quote Originally Posted by HaplozygousNut View Post
    ...... Caucasian ....... They don't particularly go through winter well, which is odd from what I read about them doing well in Siberia.
    Caucasians never have been known for good wintering (the LONG wintering like Russian/Siberian wintering version, to be clear)
    Well known fact.
    Check your sources.
    Last edited by GregV; 08-06-2019 at 09:31 PM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    3,087

    Default Re: Distinguishing between Carniolan and Caucasian honey bees

    Quote Originally Posted by HaplozygousNut View Post
    ....
    People say that Caucasian bees come from an area that is cold. I have read that around the Black Sea Coast where the Caucasian bees are from is actually a mild winter area with a cool summer (most likely influence from the sea:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humid_subtropical_climate).

    Of course higher altitudes make it colder. But I was wondering exactly how high up in the mountains are these Caucasian bees from in the Republic of Georgia. As you go east away from the Black Sea to the eastern Caucasus mountains, the climate gets dryer and colder during the winter (harsher climate). Armenian bees are from this area in the eastern part of the Caucasus mountain range. So I assume Armenian bees are more cold hardy than Caucasian bees, no?
    Grey Caucasians are from highlands - adapted to cool and very unstable summers with unstable poor flows.
    But - NOT adapted to long winters.
    They can take the cold; they can NOT take the long cold.
    Armenians are from the adjacent lowlands (pretty much the same latitude) - pretty much a subtropical bee and thus the adaptations for very mild winters and long, hot summers.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
    Posts
    3,018

    Default Re: Distinguishing between Carniolan and Caucasian honey bees

    The mixed genetics here in the U.S. make it impossible to determine much about the race of a given colony. Only where some effort has been put into breeding and maintaining pure lines is it possible to make a statement about genetics. This to say that I cull any colony that propolizes excessively and any that are too aggressive.

    That said, most bees will build a propolis curtain over the entrance of the colony under some conditions.

    As MB said, true Caucasians can't be opened without getting your hands gummed up with propolis. I had some back in the 1980s and promised never again.
    NW Alabama, 50 years, 20 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    3,087

    Default Re: Distinguishing between Carniolan and Caucasian honey bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    With Caucasians you often cannot let go of a frame. It sticks to your hand like flypaper... Caucasians tend to be more silver than brown in my experience.
    Well, I got bees that the frames stick to my fingers.
    NO - I don't have Caucasians.
    I just got mutts.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Anon, Anonymous
    Posts
    135

    Default Re: Distinguishing between Carniolan and Caucasian honey bees

    This is a neat thread.

    I'd had similar thoughts.

    Maybe because in the US the strains of bees aren't as pure and are more mixed its hard to tell the difference between anything anymore. Like recently people will put up videos on Youtube and they'll say stuff like check out my Carniolan bees.

    And I can't tell the difference. They are holding up golden yellow bees that look more Italian than Carniolan.

    So I hope people put up more threads like this.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Wake Forest, NC
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: Distinguishing between Carniolan and Caucasian honey bees

    Aha!! That is what I suspected GregV. Everybody says Caucasian bees are from a cold winter area, but from what I found on the Koppen Climate Classification system is that where the Caucasian bees are from on the Black sea coast, is actually a mild winter climate, but with cool summers (maritime influence from the Black sea I would think.). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C3%B...cation_Map.png

    Fusion_Power very few of my colonies make a curtain of propolis all across the entrance of their hives. I have some colonies with dark bees that consistently do this every fall (I suspect a good percentage of Caucasian in them).

    It does make it very hard to tell which subspecies has which traits because we have a mix of bees here in America. Has anyone noticed that the lighter coloration of Italian bees seems dominant over the darker coloration when breeding queens? From a dusky golden queen with a dark tipped abdomen I can get almost all black queens from her offspring (so I suspect she had more carniolan or caucasian hidden in her genes than I could see, her abdomen being mostly light brown.).

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    3,087

    Default Re: Distinguishing between Carniolan and Caucasian honey bees

    Quote Originally Posted by HaplozygousNut View Post

    Fusion_Power very few of my colonies make a curtain of propolis all across the entrance of their hives. I have some colonies with dark bees that consistently do this every fall (I suspect a good percentage of Caucasian in them).

    .
    Also pay attention to the honey cappings.
    The Caucasian subs will do the wet caps.
    So presence of some wet caps tells of presence of some Caucasian blood.
    The original Far Eastern Russians have some Caucasian blood in them, to be clear.
    In all, talking of pure breed is a misnomer for most all practical purposes (when removed from the geographic origin).
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Wake Forest, NC
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: Distinguishing between Carniolan and Caucasian honey bees

    Hmm... I have heard that about the wet cappings for the Caucasian bees. I will pay closer attention to that when I breed our colonies, so that I might find them consistently doing more wet cappings for the dark bees we have come up every now and then that propolize a lot.

    GregV I have read from this website below about the Russian bees that were brought into the United States were Macedonian honey bees in their morphometric traits.
    https://beekeep.info/a-treatise-on-m...an-honey-bees/

    And here on this Russian website it says that the bees in the Russian Far East are Macedonian honey bees. https://sites.google.com/site/ukrain...orode-pcel/ukr

    But from the Foley's Russian bee website it says that Russian bees that were brought into the United States from Primorye were mostly Caucasian with some Carniolan and Italian mixed in. http://www.russianbee.com/primorsky.htm
    Last edited by HaplozygousNut; 08-10-2019 at 06:59 PM.

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Wake Forest, NC
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: Distinguishing between Carniolan and Caucasian honey bees

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    Grey Caucasians are from highlands - adapted to cool and very unstable summers with unstable poor flows.
    But - NOT adapted to long winters.
    They can take the cold; they can NOT take the long cold.
    Armenians are from the adjacent lowlands (pretty much the same latitude) - pretty much a subtropical bee and thus the adaptations for very mild winters and long, hot summers.
    You are not talking about the Iranian bees (Apis mellifera meda) are you? As you go away from the Black sea the winters get colder temperatures and dryer. I thought that was where the Armenian bees lived in the mountains. On some range maps of the subspecies of honeybees they show the Caucasian bee going across the whole Caucasus mountains, but this range map here shows that the Armenian bees are at the center of the Caucasus mountains east of the Caucasian bees and Caucasian bees around the Black Sea coast west of the Armenian bees:
    https://entomology.lsu.edu/assets/th...intheworld.pdf (page 11)

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Wake Forest, NC
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: Distinguishing between Carniolan and Caucasian honey bees

    Quote Originally Posted by HaplozygousNut View Post
    I was told by David at Winter's Apiaries that the Caucasian bee drones have brown hair on their thoraxes, Carniolans would have white hairs. Hurray! One way to distinguish between these two dark colored bees!
    This picture of German black bees may give an idea on how the hairs on the drone of Caucasian bee thorax would be different from drones of Carniolan bees:
    https://adbkabees.files.wordpress.co...r.jpg?w=700&h=

    I was told that Caucasian bee drones have darker thorax hairs than Carniolans. Though Caucasian bees may not be as extreme as the German black bee drones in the photo above.

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    3,087

    Default Re: Distinguishing between Carniolan and Caucasian honey bees

    Quote Originally Posted by HaplozygousNut View Post
    Hmm... I have heard that about the wet cappings for the Caucasian bees. I will pay closer attention to that when I breed our colonies, so that I might find them consistently doing more wet cappings for the dark bees we have come up every now and then that propolize a lot.

    GregV I have read from this website below about the Russian bees that were brought into the United States were Macedonian honey bees in their morphometric traits.
    https://beekeep.info/a-treatise-on-m...an-honey-bees/

    And here on this Russian website it says that the bees in the Russian Far East are Macedonian honey bees. https://sites.google.com/site/ukrain...orode-pcel/ukr

    But from the Foley's Russian bee website it says that Russian bees that were brought into the United States from Primorye were mostly Caucasian with some Carniolan and Italian mixed in. http://www.russianbee.com/primorsky.htm
    According to my sources, the Far Eastern Russian bee is a mix of - Macedonica (Ukrainian bee), Mellifera (Dark Euro bee), Caucasica (Grey Caucasian), and Ligustica (Italian).
    Some early settles from Ukraine and Western Russia brought their bees along - whatever bees they had.
    Later, the Soviet state brought Caucasians and Italians into the mix.

    Keep in mind that the region itself is large enough (just like Wisconsin) and diverse enough that the are two main sub-types of the Far Eastern Russian bee has formed - Northern Forest Uplands (dark bee) an Southern Grassy Lowlands (yellow bee). The entire place is largely defined by forested mountain ridge going North-South, parallel to the Pacific Ocean, and so there will be many variations of the bees due to the local micro-geography.

    This being said, the actual source of queens imported into the USA could have contained larger proportions of Macedonica blood - entirely possible.
    They only got the bees from one particular place where they had developed some relationships - I am pretty sure.
    They did not really study the bees across the region and not done cross-regional sampling, for whatever reason.

    In any case, the true Far Eastern Russian bee is a mutt and considered a primitive sub-species just as of late (still debated due to its very young age).
    Depending on exact bee yard and exact swarm, you can get any random bee make up (similar to the US).
    To say that the Russian bee is the same as Ukrainian bee - ... is not accurate at the least (especially from the people who supposedly know their stuff).
    The Far Eastern Russian bee is NOT Ukrainian bee.
    To look at the Ukrainian bee - go directly to Ukraine.
    Last edited by GregV; 08-10-2019 at 11:04 PM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    3,087

    Default Re: Distinguishing between Carniolan and Caucasian honey bees

    Quote Originally Posted by HaplozygousNut View Post
    You are not talking about the Iranian bees (Apis mellifera meda) are you? As you go away from the Black sea the winters get colder temperatures and dryer. I thought that was where the Armenian bees lived in the mountains. On some range maps of the subspecies of honeybees they show the Caucasian bee going across the whole Caucasus mountains, but this range map here shows that the Armenian bees are at the center of the Caucasus mountains east of the Caucasian bees and Caucasian bees around the Black Sea coast west of the Armenian bees:
    https://entomology.lsu.edu/assets/th...intheworld.pdf (page 11)
    Not talking of A. m. meda at all.
    We are talking of Apis mellifera remipes.

    OK, here - google translate this:
    https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%96...B5%D0%BB%D0%B0
    There is sub-species of Yellow Caucasian bee.
    In turn it is divided into three sub-populations; one of these sub-populations IS the Armenian bee.

    Keep in mind, ALL of these Caucasian bees co-exist at once over the same large territory AND separated only by the local latitudes AND they cross-mate too when they overlap.
    The Grey bees are highland bees; the Yellow bees are lowland bees; but they obviously overlap as the micro-geography changes up and down.
    Also keep in mind, the Caucasus are high mountains up to 5,642 metres (18,510 feet) - and so the "lowlands" but those standards are just simply higher than my entire state.
    To compare, the US Rocky mountains only go up a tad above 14,000 feet; so you get the idea.

    So, their lowlands would be above and beyond of most of our highlands here.
    So yes, of course by our standards, their lowland bees live in the mountains (except the very edge by the Black Sea).
    Last edited by GregV; 08-10-2019 at 11:05 PM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    3,087

    Default Re: Distinguishing between Carniolan and Caucasian honey bees

    Here is a useful quote about the Far Eastern Russian bee:
    Печатка мёда самая разнообразная - от светлой ("сухой") через целый ряд переходных форм до тёмной ("мокрой").
    It says:
    Honey capping is most variable - from bright ("dry") to dark ("wet") with many different transitional forms in between.
    Digest it for a minute.
    Regardless of the appearance of the bee (the morphometry), the capping behavior shows too well - this is an inconsistent mutt (just like lots of local bee populations in the US).

    What is represented in the USA - several original queens coming from a single administrative district (compatible to a US county)
    From memory, without double-checking - here is the exact source locality - ".....пчёлы Лазовского района Приморского края с однородной серой окраской".
    The uniformed grey coloring suggests these could be interpreted in the US later as if A.m.macedonica, by the looks of them.

    Source (I find this paper a very good review of the current status of the Far Eastern Bee and worth translating for those who are interested):
    "Зимостойкость и медовая продуктивность дальневосточных пчел в различных природно-климатических зонах Приморского края диплом 2011 по ботанике и сельскому хозяйству , Дипломная из Ботаника"
    https://www.docsity.com/ru/zimostoyk...kraya/1802980/

    Anyway, people selling the Russians in the US (not I) should be educating the customers of the entire story if they are well informed and honest enough.
    Last edited by GregV; 08-11-2019 at 01:26 PM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Otsego County, NY, USA
    Posts
    55

    Default Re: Distinguishing between Carniolan and Caucasian honey bees

    Regarding the climate in the caucaus region. In an around Sochi there are tea plantings. In March they showed some winter damage but not much at lower altitudes. I was suprised to find some tea fields high in the mountains north of the city, although they showed much more winter damage. Georgia is between the Caspian and Black Seas and so has weather moderated by both. On the coast of Crimea, in Sevastopal and Yalta, Palm trees have been planted and most seem to survive. In late December they were replacing trees that had been damaged. In early March in Sochi the weather was considerably warmer then here in New York (upstate),only a bit of snow in shaded north facing areas high in the mountains north of the city, and it was considerably warmer than Moscow.
    It's probably colder in the northern caucauses but I doubt that it gets as cold as we get here in New York. Russian's tend to be overly proud of how brutal their winters are, but in my experience of northern European Russia it is no colder than here and they don't get as much snow as here, at least in my experience. Siberia is another story, it's brutal.

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    3,087

    Default Re: Distinguishing between Carniolan and Caucasian honey bees

    Quote Originally Posted by John_M View Post
    Regarding the climate in the caucaus region. In an around Sochi there are tea plantings. In March they showed some winter damage but not much at lower altitudes. I was suprised to find some tea fields high in the mountains north of the city, although they showed much more winter damage. Georgia is between the Caspian and Black Seas and so has weather moderated by both. On the coast of Crimea, in Sevastopal and Yalta, Palm trees have been planted and most seem to survive. In late December they were replacing trees that had been damaged. In early March in Sochi the weather was considerably warmer then here in New York (upstate),only a bit of snow in shaded north facing areas high in the mountains north of the city, and it was considerably warmer than Moscow.
    It's probably colder in the northern caucauses but I doubt that it gets as cold as we get here in New York. Russian's tend to be overly proud of how brutal their winters are, but in my experience of northern European Russia it is no colder than here and they don't get as much snow as here, at least in my experience. Siberia is another story, it's brutal.
    Speaking of the Caucasions - like I said - the differences in the latitudes are so severe just over the short distances that you can see palm trees and snow standing in the single spot. Subtropics and alpine meadows within the same visible range.
    Naturally, the eco conditions very a lot. And bees.


    Speaking of the winters...- you should take a train and travel West to East in that region. In Winter.
    Pretty soon you will notice that traveling along the same latitude produces stark differences (no snow changes to lots of snow overnight) - the deeper into the continent you move - the more severe/more continental the climate becomes (not surprising - the same phenomena in the USA is also visible).
    So, you just need to know the context and not mix the facts up.

    Russians of many regions are not exaggerating much.
    But you must know the geography and related context.
    Some places are cold; some are not too cold; some places have terrible, cold and rainy, useless summers; other places have subtropical summers - the place is bigger than the USA by expanse.
    The Russians non-stop bicker between themselves on this exact topic.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •