The Carniolan honey bee
In 1879, Pollmann described and named the bees he received from the Carniola region. One of the subspecies was Apis mellifera carnica, known as the Carniolan honey bee or Carnie for short (Krainer Biene in German). The Carniolan honey bee, also called the “Carniolan grey” because of the wide stripes of grey hairs covering their abdomen, originates in the territory of the Republic of Slovenia.
Today, the Carnie is the second most common bee subspecies in the world. It has some excellent qualities that are prized by beekeepers from around the world.
Chief among them are:
- Non-aggressive, rarely stings,
- Calm and docile behaviour on the comb,
- Rapid spring development,
- High yields,
- Good use of forest pastures,
- Less collection of propolis,
- Excellent sense of orientation,
- A well-developed cleaning instinct,
- Wintering in small families and using small amounts of the winter food supply,
- The Brood is adapted to pasture conditions.
The breeding programme
The Slovenian Beekeepers’ Association, in collaboration with the Agricultural Institute of Slovenia, is conducting a Carniolan honey bee breeding programme.
The breeding programme aims to accomplish the following:
- Maintain the purity of the Carniola honey bee,
- Maintain genetic diversity,
- Maintain the docility of the bees and improve it,
- Increase honey yields per hive.
The breeding programme includes several selection levels. At the first level, the basic selection is performed by the beekeepers taking part in the programme.
This involves monitoring the qualities of the bee families in their hives and replacing the queen bee, if necessary.
The second level includes queen bee breeders, who perform the selection under the supervision of the Agricultural Institute of Slovenia and the authorised breeding organisation (the Slovenian Beekeepers’ Association). The Agricultural Institute of Slovenia also issues licenses for the queen bees.