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Carniolan Queen bee

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The Carniolan honey bee (Apis mellifera carnica) is a subspecies of Western honey bee. It originates from Slovenia, but can now be found also in Austria, part of Hungary, Romania, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia.

The bee is the subspecies of the Western honey bee that has naturalized and adapted to the Kočevje county (Gottschee) of Carniola (now in Slovenia), the Southern part of the Austrian Alps and North Balkans. These bees are known as Carniolans, or short Carnies, in English. At present this race (i.e., subspecies) is the second most popular among beekeepers (after the Italian honey bees). It is favored among beekeepers for several reasons, not the least being its ability to defend itself successfully against insect pests while at the same time being extremely gentle in its behavior toward beekeepers. These bees are particularly adept at adjusting worker population to nectar availability. It relies on these rapid adjustments of population levels to rapidly expand worker bee populations after nectar becomes available in the spring, and, again, to rapidly cut off brood production when nectar ceases to be available in quantity. It meets periods of high nectar with high worker populations and consequently stores large quantities of honey and pollen during those periods. They are resistant to some diseases and parasites that can debilitate hives of other subspecies.
[edit] Anatomy and appearance

Carniolan honey bees are about the same size as the Italian honeybee race, but they are physically distinguished by their generally dusky brown-grey color that is relieved by stripes of a subdued lighter brown color. Their chitin is dark, but it is possible to find lighter colored or brown colored rings and dots on their bodies. They are also known as the ‘Grey Bee’.
Carnica bee on Sedum telephium with pollen basket

Carniolan bees are nearly as big and long as the Western European black bees, though their abdomens are much slimmer. Furthermore, the Carniolan bee has a very long tongue (6.5 to 6.7 mm, which is very well adapted for clover), a very high elbow joint and very short hair.

Character and behavior

Beneficial

* considered to be gentle and non-aggressive
* can be kept in populated areas.
* sense of orientation considered better than the Italian honey bee race
* less drifting of bees from one hive to a neighboring hive
* when compared to the Italian race, they are not as prone to rob honey
* able to overwinter in smaller numbers of winter bees; honey stores are conserved.
* able to quickly adapt to changes in the environment
* better for areas with long winters
* rhythm of brood production very steep. Brood rearing is reduced when available forage decreases
* small use of propolis
* resistant to brood diseases
* for areas with strong spring nectar flow and early pollination
* forage earlier in the morning and later in the evening, and on cool, wet days.

Not beneficial

* more prone to swarming if overcrowded
* low ability to produce wax and build comb (not uniformly accepted as fact)
* low ability to thrive in hot summer weather
* strength of broodnest more dependent on availability of pollen
* dark queen is difficult to find
 

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As they control the amount of brood to the amount of food, (put very basically,)
would they be more suitable to a single national brood box than, for instance, Italians ?
 

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The Carniolan is a splendid bee. There are a number of different natural strains, two of which are the "Alpine" and the "Pannonian". They have been selectively bred for longer than any other sub-species, but can they swarm!!!!
There is an individual here closely involved with the Irish Native Honey Bee Society who takes advantage of this characteristic to supply nucs.. :rolleyes:
The name Carniolan dates to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, being the name then given to the native area of these bees
 

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As they control the amount of brood to the amount of food, (put very basically,)
would they be more suitable to a single national brood box than, for instance, Italians ?
I would say no. The carniolans I work with are very prolific and can fill a double Langstroth brood area with brood at the height of the season.
If you were to try to keep any race of bee in a box that is too small, it would eventually swarm, so, my advice would be at least a double National brood area
 

Quis Custodiet 

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Aye, bees will swarm if kept in a restricted brood area. But Carniolans kept in double commercial boxes will still s w a r m........ :cuss: They have to be split and their build up has to be seen to be believed. In a good year the return is substantial; in a bad year one has to feed them!
 

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I would say no. The carniolans I work with are very prolific and can fill a double Langstroth brood area with brood at the height of the season.
If you were to try to keep any race of bee in a box that is too small, it would eventually swarm, so, my advice would be at least a double National brood area
That was made me ask the question, I remembered that you had said that the queen you sent was on a double lang, but above it seems that they don't need as much room.
It can get confusing.

.
 

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It can get confusing.

.
Anything above those two boxes would contain honey. By mid June last year I had anywhere up to 4 additional deeps ontop. There is variation even within a group of pure island mated sister queens though. You will always find the odd colony that fails to perform as well as the others. Some colonies might only need 1 or 2 extra boxes for honey. That is why I test them to see which perform the best.
 

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I read somewhere, danged if I can find it now, they can get a bit aggressive in her majesty's second year if the colony is very big but re-queening clears it.

Is that anyone's experience?
 

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I read somewhere, danged if I can find it now, they can get a bit aggressive in her majesty's second year if the colony is very big but re-queening clears it.

Is that anyone's experience?
This makes no sense to me. The semen in the queens spermatheca is thoroughly mixed so you don't get "batches" of fertilised eggs being laid from specific drones. Consequently, any time delay shouldn't affect the behaviour (unless, perhaps, due to her running out of semen but this would be evident in the brood pattern).
By "second year" do you mean her third year of life (emergence/mating/build up in the first year, then two more years of laying)? If so, it is possible that she is running out of semen and the workers sense the need to supercede her.
 

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Was five now four. Grrrrr
It didn't make any sense to me either so maybe he was saying the average passive colony of one type will be more aggressive than an aggressive form of another.
I will try and find the article.

As one cannot control which species of drone her mag mates with and how vigorous over time the sperm are it may be a question of hybridisation causing changes to the nature of her offspring over time.

Searching on 'comparing carniolan bees' you get various opinions.

One guy says they are gentle and the next says they aggressively defend the hive.

All seem to agree they tend to swarminess (is that a word?). Hence the confusion and my question.
 
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B+. 

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As one cannot control which species of drone her mag mates with and how vigorous over time the sperm are it may be a question of hybridisation causing changes to the nature of her offspring over time.
Not so. You can control mating by island mating or instrumental insemination (https://youtu.be/b_vcpRnYhHg)
I am not sure what you mean by the changing nature of the queens offspring but this doesn't happen. As I said previously, the semen are mixed in the spermatheca so it can't happen.
 
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Probably talking more about Carnie hybrids?
 

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My only hive to survive AFB was a third generation carnie. Not at all aggressive. But still swarmy...
 

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That was made me ask the question, I remembered that you had said that the queen you sent was on a double lang, but above it seems that they don't need as much room.
It can get confusing.

.
Carniolan is very similar to keep as Italians. Their need of room is similar.
 

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One guy says they are gentle and the next says they aggressively defend the hive.
.
That is true.

It is same with Italians, you meet wide scale of stocks.

If hive is agressive, it is bees' natural habit. If you do not select calm individuals, you get what ever. Bees have sting, that they use it.
 

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It didn't make any sense to me either so maybe he was saying the average passive colony of one type will be more aggressive than an aggressive form of another.
I will try and find the article.
Prof. Kaspar Bienfeld did publish a paper a long time ago that showed inbreeding of the queen produced swarmy colonies while inbreeding in workers produced a calmer, more productive colony (https://www.researchgate.net/public...and_workers_on_colony_traits_in_the_honey_bee)
Accordingly, it is not so much the race that determines swarming tendency but the degree of inbreeding and whether it occurs in the queen or the workers.
 
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#12

One can can but how often does that happen?

Semen is only the fluid containing individual sperm and as the mating comes from different males and a single sperm inseminates each egg then their DNA is different and they may well pass on different traits to the offspring from the same queen.

Trouble is there are thousands of possible gene combinations.

Presupposing the behaviour trait is entirely nature and not nuture but that seems wrong too.

I'm not suggesting your wrong just trying to understand a complex subject.
 
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Motobiman 

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#17

That's statistical analysis of data that cannot be verified and appears highly subjective.

Not saying it's wrong just unverifiable by controlled experimentation so maybe should be treated with some caution.

I don't know enough to hazard an opinion so am seeking enlightenment as I mean to concentrate on breeding naturally rather than by artificial insemination.
 

Quis Custodiet 

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Prof. Kaspar Bienfeld did publish a paper .............
Thank you for the link, it is an interesting paper.
However if the good Kaspar could visit here, it would be possible to introduce him to some colonies which would prompt him to revise his hypothesis.
It has long been established that inbreeding reduces aggression. I recall Professor Len Heath lecturing on the subject many years ago. It no doubt is also how the gentleman of the Irish native honey bee society, referred to above, has calmed his Carnica x AMM crosses!
I cannot accept that the strong swarming instinct of Carniolans is caused by inbreeding.
 

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