Which Bee is Best for You?

Get a better idea of what kind of honeybee — Carniolan, Russian or Italian — is best suited for your needs and climate.

| August 2019

frozen-bees
Photo from Adobe Stock/vectorass

Are you a Ford or a Chevy kind of person? Or are you more like “as long as it drives, I don’t care what it is”? If you’ve ever been in the middle (or at the end) of this question, you know people can be loyal to their favorite brand. The same goes for honeybee races. Gather a room full of beekeepers and ask them what their favorite bee race is. You’ll have a multitude of opinions — all of them right.

When I started beekeeping, we ordered bees through our beekeepers association and they only had Italian bees, so that is what I got. Depending on your circumstances, you may not have a choice in the type of bee you get. However, you can generally find all three races available for sale online.

Similar to the different beehives, each bee race has characteristics that will appeal to particular types of beekeepers.



For instance, if you want a gentle bee that’s not prone to swarming, then the Italian honeybee would be best for you. If you want really resilient bees that handle the cold well, then the Russian honeybee would be good for you. If you live in an area with a lot of wildflowers and trees, then the Carniolan honeybee might be the one for you. Much of this decision will be based on availability in your area, too.

bee-swarm
Photo from Adobe Stock/Viesinsh






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