The Carniolan bee is geographically the most widely distributed, for it is bred on all continents. In
Europe, the following four breeds of bees are mainly known: (1) the Italian (A. mellifera ligustica), which
was originally distributed largely on the Apennine Peninsula, (2) the Caucasian (A. m. caucasica) in the region of
Caucasus, (3) the Black (A. m. mellifera), which was originally distributed in some parts of central, western and northern
Europe, and (4) the Carniolan or Grey bee (A. m. carnica), its original home being the territory of Slovenia as well
as neighbouring Carinthia and countries east to Romania and Bulgaria. The Carniolan bee's chitinous abdominal rings are dark,
with light grey to yellowish hairs. Amongst the European breeds, it is the greyest (hence the name Grey). Economically most
important in world apiculture are the Carniolan and the Italian bees.
And why is the Carniolan so highly esteemed by the beekeepers? It is known for its great gathering
zeal and therefore high honey production. As it is not aggressive, it is easier to work with than with other breeds. Bee's
gentleness is today a very important quality, for many beekeepers raise honey bees in the vicinity of their homes, in settlements
where aggressive bees could cause much trouble. The Carniolan is also known for its resistance to illnesses. It overwinters
in relatively small families, while the spring development is very tumultuous, which is why such families can take advantage
of early pasture. Its only fault today could be its excessive swarming. In the past, this very characteristic used to be in
fact appreciated by beekeepers, for with swarming they wished to get as many families as possible, which they eventually led
to the main pasture, to feed on buckwheat, which begins to bloom as late as in August.
of cross breeding (hybreeds) results in the fact that the Carniolan bee is increasingly greater in it's aggressiveness
which is in total contrast to our trend to raise as gentle bees as possible. And the Carniolan certainly is.