Buying Bees - Which do I pick? Italian or Carniolan??
Getting your hive up and running is sometimes daunting, especially when trying to decide what type of bee to purchase. In the US, there are two main kinds popular with beekeepers, Italian and Carniolan.
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?
Let's break this down to help you decide. Both types of bee do well in the Pacific Northwest and I've had great success with each species. Here is a breakdown
Carniolan (or "Carni's") are acclimated to colder climates of Northern Europe and tend to be hardier when temperatures dip. Some traits are:
- Darker in color
- Medium temperament
- Slower to build numbers in the spring
- Queens brood production is huge
- React well to smoke and calm down
- Higher production of honey / store quickly
- Winter population sees higher number of bees
Italian bees come from more mid-temperature climates of Europe and are suited to mild temperatures that Seattle typically experiences. Some traits are:
- Lighter in color (easier to spot queen)
- Mild temperament
- Early brood production in the spring
- Smaller populations going into winter requiring more attention
- Standard honey production
- Lower swarming chances in first year
WHICH TYPE SHOULD I BUY??????
Both varieties do very well in the greater Seattle area and neither is especially better than the other. If you are newer, you might think about Italian bees as they have a better temperament and are less prone to sting. If you are looking forward to honey, you might consider Carniolans as they build up stores quickly and tend to winter well here.
- Lot's of honey
- Hygienic - take care of themselves
- Less winter maintenance
- Grow a lot of bees
- Bees that sting me less
- Less chances of swarming first year
- Populations that stay smaller
MAKE A DECISION AND FEEL GOOD
As stated, you can't go wrong with either Carniolan or Italian bees. Both are relatively easy to maintain and offer you wonderful experiences with keeping bees. Make your decision and run with it!! You won't be sorry.
We offer bee packages of both varities in our store, please contact us with any questions before purchase, we'd love to help.