Czech bee breeders for all European bee breeders

What species of honey bee we breed in the Czech Republic? Apis mellifera carnica.

The native dark bee (Apis mellifera mellifera) was bred by our ancestors; however, nowadays it can only be found in remote, inaccessible corners of the country. Thanks to a breeding programme which has been applied since the 60's we have succeeded in pushing the dark bee out from our region. Therefore, we can say that the only subspecies in the Czech Republic is now the Carniolan honey bee in its pure form. It is proved by measurements of cubital index and the length of the tongue. The Carniolan honey bee tends to be silver-grey in colour with white and grey bristles and their body is covered in short thick hair. This subspecies of a honey bee was first classified by Pollmann (Apis mellifera carnica, Pollman 1879).

The Carniolans originally spread out across the south-east Alps, the northern Balkans, the Danube Valley all the way to the Carpathians. The origin of the Carniolan honey bee derives from mountainous north-western Slovenia (Carniola) region called Gorenjska.

Compared with other races, the Carniolan honey bee is suitable for the conditions in Central Europe. It is a gentle bee in its behaviour and suitable for areas with both widespread beekeeping and a high population density. Thanks to its characteristics and a quick spring development it is suitable for creating nuclei which are then purchased particularly by beginner beekeepers or beekeepers who need to complete the state of a colony after winter-related losses.

The weight of a winter generation of bees is usually up to 1-1,5kg. These bees tolerate both moderate and severe winter quite well. A short interruption in brood rearing (in winter) is beneficial as we can carry out the treatment against the Varroa destructor mite. Moderate consumption of winter stores and ability to react to various types of flow are other good qualities of the Carniolan honey bee. They are able to exploit the flow of entomophilous plants pretty well since they can orient themselves well and quickly to various sources of food. The spring development of the Carniolan honey bee is rapid as well as their reaching strength. Strong colonies in season weight 5-6kg.

There are several ecotypes of the Carniolan honey bee – Alpin, Carpathian, Dalmathian and Macedonian. The ecotypes which have been spread in the Czech Republic are as follows:

Alpin ecotypes:               Singer, Troiseck, Sklenar, Peschetz.

Carpathian ecotypes:      Vucko and Vigor (cultivated by combining different ecotypes with prevailing Vucka ecotype)