The range and spread of the carniolan honeybee (aka carnica honeybee) is unmatched throughout the world. It can be found in nearly every European country, and because of its characteristics - for example its good overwintering capabilities - it is also used in the northern states of the USA and in Canada.
Characteristics of the breed are shown by the bees of Slovakia, Southern-Poland, the Carpathian Mountain bees as well as the bees of the Carpathian-basin (Pannonian-basin). Today the Carniolan region includes both dry steppe and moist forests. The region is characterised by continental climate with a long, cold winter and a warm, dry summer with quick transition.
The appearance of the carniolan honeybee is a grey, brownish or light grey base colour with broad hair. The length of the tongue is 6.5 mm, the value of the cubital index varies between 2.3 and 3.0. Based on the data from international professional literature this value can be as much as 4.0. The tergites are dark, yellow patches can occur to 20 % of the first and second abdomen segments on the sides.
- The behaviour of the carniolan honeybee is calm, non-attacking.
- At examination they do not walk from the picked up frame.
- It has a moderately swarming nature.
- In spring they start the brood early, they develop quickly.
- Cold winters have no particular effect on overwintering of the carniolan bee.
- They overwinter in a relatively small winter cluster and with moderate honey consumption.
- In Central-Europe the average honey consumption during the winter is 5.2 kg.
Carniolan honeybee hybrids
By hybridising with most breeds the heterosis effect occurs, which can result in strong, vital families with exceptional honey producing capabilities. However cross-breeding can enhance other unfavourable characteristics as well, such as swarming, attacking, etc.