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Here at C-A-L Ranch we offer Italian and Carniolan Bees. These are some of the most popular bee varieties and are known to thrive in the climates and areas of Utah, Idaho, Arizona, and Nevada. Beekeeping is a relatively easy pastime that rewards hobbyists with local raw honey and pollination for gardens, fruit trees, and flowers.

The Italian Bee

Brought to the U.S. in 1859 Italian Bees quickly became a favorite bee stock in this country and remain so to this day. An Italian hive will build its population early in the spring and maintain strong numbers throughout the summer, but their hive will dwindle in the winter. Don’t let this scare you. What it means is that your bees will build a strong store of honey and hive population earlier in the year and maintain it through the summer, therefore requiring less food to keep them alive during winter.

With their early build up, Italians can seem aggressive during the spring but tend to calm down later in the year—they’re known as one of the gentler bee species. They are less defensive and less prone to disease than their German counterparts, and they are excellent honey producers.

Italian Bees are very lightly colored, ranging from a light tan to an almost lemon yellow—a trait that is sought after by many beekeepers for its aesthetic appeal.

Italian Bee Stats

  • Spring Build up - Normal
  • Swarming Tendency - Normal
  • Honey production - Normal
  • Gentleness - Assertive in Spring, then Mild
  • Mites Resilience - Normal
  • Ability to Winter in Cold Temps - Maintain smaller colonies going into winter, meaning less food consumption

  • Good option for a first-time beekeeper - Yes!

Also worthy of note, the Italian Bee line we carry is sourced from Harvest Lane Honey who has been influenced over the years by queens purchased from breeders Art Banta, Homer Park, Lloyd Penner, and John Tollett. The best traits have been identified and bred into the Harvest Lane Queens. They choose their breeder queens based on the hive’s performance in honey production, gentleness, brood rearing viability, and overall ability to overwinter healthy and heavy. Harvest Lane takes special care of their Italians—they are the best of the best.

A potential drawback to the Italian honeybee family—they wander. These bees have poor orientation, meaning they will drift to other colonies to steal honey. This wandering, honey-stealing tendency can spread disease between hives.

The Carniolan Bee

Carniolans from middle Europe have been a favored bee stock in the U.S. for several reasons—they are known for their hardiness in the colder climates, explosive spring build up, and above-average honey production. Generally gentle towards beekeepers—they can be worked with little smoke and protective clothing. They show good resistance to tracheal mites and are great wax comb builders.

Carniolans have explosive spring build up and carry a large, active population through the season. This leaves them prone to swarming. Carniolans have a tendency to stay close to the hive—which means they are much less prone to robbing other colonies of honey, lowering disease transmission among colonies.

Carniolan Bees are generally a dusky brown/grey color with stripes of a lighter brown. They have very long tongues, between 6.5 to 6.7 mm—making them well adapted for clover.

Carniolan Bee Stats

  • Spring Build up - Very Quick
  • Swarming Tendency - Above Normal
  • Honey production - Above Normal
  • Gentleness - Easy Going
  • Mites Resilience - Above Normal
  • Ability to Winter in Cold Temps - Maintain larger colonies going into winter, meaning food will need to be checked and perhaps provided in colder months

  • Good option for a first-time beekeeper - Yes!

Also worthy of note, our Carniolan Bees are sourced from Harvest Lane Honey. Their breeders are mated in an isolated area and observed for a year prior to use in our breeding program.

A potential drawback, because of rapid buildup Carniolan Bees tend to have an above average tendency to swarm—in an effort to relieve overcrowding. What does this mean for the beekeeper? Well, it may leave a poor honey crop for harvest. Vigilance with Carniolan Bees can prevent swarms, by providing them with more food throughout the cooler months, it will aid them in wintering with a large population.

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