BMAC, they are good bees. Are they the best, I don't know, that depends on what type of operation you run and what type of bee you like. Beekeepers like them, but I think the best test is to run some in your operation and see if it is a good fit for you. I think it works best when a good bee is paired with the right beekeeper/operation. Some prefer Carniolans, some prefer Italians, some prefer hybrids.
Joe thanks for the reply and please take no offense to the Ford Chevy reference. I mean no disrespect, just want others opinions on them. I DO intend to try them this year. I just wanted some other thoughts on them from beekeepers that may have them in commercial settings. I am one of those sticks in the mud that like Carniolans, however I also like the idea of hybrid Carnis.
So I do have a couple questions for you:
How do they hold up overwintered in 5 frame NUCs in say fairly consistent -5F winters like the one we are coming out of here in NY?
Do they hold the all the time broodiness of Italians?
I guess the big reason for my questions is my current cell producers last Carni is fading away quickly and the only other close one he has is your Canica. I will probably only try out around 150 or so in my operation so i can give them a fair shake on what I think. The rest to include my NUC cells are coming from a friend.
It will be interesting to see how they fare after next years almond pollination run and it comes back to time for splitting.
No worries. I do the same thing and often times suggest beekeepers talk with other beekeepers about my stock before buying anything.
Most commercial beekeepers do not run pure Carnies. Of the beekeepers I directly work with, I do not know of any that winter them, so maybe some that buy queens or cells might be able to share more insight. I winter everything here in Ohio and generally the Carnies winter better than the Italians. This is one of those surprising winters where it is a toss up. The Italians came through really well. I winter some 5 framers in the polystyrene nucs and the Carnies do great, provided they have food going into winter. Last year was such a great year for raising queens, I carried queens over in my mini nucs, which are 10 half length medium frames with a feeder rim on top. About 50% simply froze out, the rest look nice. Beautiful clusters, and food, but not enough mass to make it.
My Carnies have big colonies, but not the broodiness of the Italians. The hybrids Andy mentioned are a great compromise and well like by the commercial operations. But again, it all depends on your operation and management style.
I believe I received some "KARNICA" labeled queens in packages that have been attributed to JSL. We where quite pleased, and considered them on par with Strachen NWC, our favorites. Yes, they are a little more frugal, but appear to be better scroungers when conditions are not perfect. These are not "walkaway" bees, they require due dilligence to get the most out of them. Keep plenty of open frames in front of the queen, they go when they go.
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