CarniolanIn an effort to find a bee that could overwinter better in cooler climates, people next brought bees from the Carniolan Mountains in Eastern Europe. These bees are darker than the Italians and are more prone to swarming. However, they keep a small brood in the winter which meant they needed to store less than their Italian counterparts. They also began gathering earlier than the Italians along with being very gentle.
Russian/EasternAfter the introduction and subsequent devastation of American bees due to the varroa and tracheal mites, American beekeepers searched for bees who had had the longest natural exposure to the pests, hoping to crossbreed to our bees their natural resistance. It turned out that the Russian honey bee, as far as we can tell, has been living with these pests for thousands of years, and the Russian honey bees have developed some resistance to being infected, most likely due to their very hygienic behavior of removing any infected brood cells. In the United States, these were introduced in the 1990s to combat the rapid spread of mites in commercial bees. They can be purchased here as purely the Russian subspecies or often crossed with the Carniolans or another subspecies.
So as you can see each type has their advantages and disadvantages. For us we are going to start with two hives of Carniolans and see how we come out. What type of bee do you like working with and why?