Honeybee Races

Honeybees have many races, but the most common bees used for raising for the average beekeeper are listed below. The average beekeeper can usually buy the bees online and have them shipped to them. Bees are similar to humans in a sense because of the variety of races that make up each hive. With this, each beehive will have its own identity.


Africanized Honeybees

This particular race of honeybees originated in eastern Africa in the early 1900's. Beekeeper's in Brazil started importing the Africanized honeybees in the 1950's and they started migrating to the north. Now the bees are found all over the world along with many hybrid breeds as well. This particular type of honeybee is more defensive and swarms a lot more than other particular types of honeybees. The first Africanized honeybee colony was discovered in the United States around 1990.

Buckfast Honeybees

The Buckfast honeybee is a hybrid bee that was developed by Karl Kehrle (also known as "Brother Adam" in Germany. This particular breed of honeybee is popular with beekeeper's. The Buckfast breed is a good honey producer and the queen honeybees lay a lot of eggs, thus increasing the hatching of more Buckfast bees. The Buckfast honeybee has a low swarming instinct and is gentle compared to other breeds of honeybees.

Carniolan Honeybees

The Carniolan breed of honeybees is native to Slovenia, parts of Yugoslavia, southern Austria as well as parts of Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania. This species of honeybees is a favorite among beekeeper's because of how their behavior is so calm toward beekeeper's. They are non-aggressive and more resistant to brood disease than most other species of honeybees.

Caucasian Honeybees

The Caucasian honeybees originated from the mountains of Caucasus. This species is gentle and calm while on the honey comb. They usually raise strong colonies, but most colonies do not reach full strength until mid-summer and can cause some unsatisfactory conditions for beekeeper's since most areas have a lot of nectar flowing during the spring time.

European Honeybees

The European honeybees aka "German Black Bee" has been around since colonial times. There are numerous hybrids that have originated from European honeybees. Most have a low-rate of swarming and some hybrids are gentle. This breed of honeybees is very defensive against invaders of the beehive and the queen and worker bees have a higher living rate versus other breeds of honeybees.

Italian Honeybees

The Italian honeybees originated in Italy. They are excellent forager's and thrive in warmer climates. They have a lower swarming rate than other Western honeybees. The Italian honeybees produce white honey caps on the honeycombs in their hives. The Italian worker bees are extremely clean in making sure the hive is in clean. Also, this breed of honeybees produce better combs than compared to other breeds of honeybees.

Russian Honeybees

The Russian Honeybees evolved in Russia. The Russian species of honeybees are resistant to various mites. The honeybees become more aggressive to mites than other species of honeybees. This is one reason that the Russian honeybees were imported into the United States to off-set the decline in the western honeybee population. The Russian honeybees have helped improve the current population of honeybees in the United States. However, much more work and research is needed to build back up the honeybee population within the United States.

There are many varieties of mixed breeds of honeybees in-between these mentioned races such as the Starline, which is a hybrid of Italians. Cordovan's are a hybrid Italian honeybee as well. Then there is the Midnite breed that is actually a hybrid of the Caucasians.