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What type of bee do you have?


Hi, given we all freely give advice here about our experiences keeping bees I thought it would be useful if we also identified what particular type of bees we all keep, as that can impact the opinions we form and advice we offer.

For those curious about different bee types this is one of many articles you might find useful about different, but commonly kept, honey bee varieties: http://beesource.com/resources/usda/the-different-types-of-honey-bees/

As for my bees: Italian honey bees.


some photo’s would be good so i can tell whats what


Being in Australia, our bee varieties are very limited. I keep italians and caucasions in Sydney. The italians are very attractive bee with their golden abdomens but I have had sporadic success with their honey harvests and temperament. Most of my hives are now caucasions, they are very docile (perfect for backyards where the majority of my hives are located), produce lots of propolis and best of all I get a box of honey over winter, this does not occur with the italians. One of their disadvantages is a slow build up in spring, but from what I have seen this is negligable, they don’t need as much food over winter and to expand in spring, meaning an early honey harvest.


@baldy Some bee ID Charts can be found here: http://www.buzzaboutbees.net/bee-id-charts.html (hit and miss for if it loads though…)


This is interesting… I had a number of caucasian hives (half my hives) and resellers locally have all switched to Italians over the last few years so I only have a few caucasian queens left. I actually found it difficult to find a reliable breeder for caucs, do you have one on the east coast you can recommend that does smaller quantity? (want to slowly switch some over).

I don’t mind the Italians I have… they are very gentle/calm… but I just don’t feel they are as productive… (completely non-scientific… small sample size conclusion)

The caucs definitely like propolis… you can tell which hives have had caucs in them… every last inch is glued shut :smiley:

I still think this is a great chart (originally found it on this forum)

Credit for original source here:


Mine are Italian/Cordovan VSH, with the queen coming from here:



I like the colour but Italians don’t do well where I live. They eat their stores like it’s going out of fashion and don’t know when to stop brooding.
I have Buckfast and Local Welsh black beesand some VSH bees of unknown lineage as the university that supplied them won’t or can’t attest to their origin


Interested to know of anyone is running Ligurians? I have attempted to order them for two seasons and both times they didn’t materialise.


Apparently the nucs and queens sold here at one supplier are Italian/Ligurian cross which is what I have in one hive. They are doing well but are propolising the FF.


Apis mellifera eclectica :wink:


Pretty sure @jeffh uses the same :smile:


I have Apis-mutt-erifus


That would be correct Sam, the times I did requeen, I used Italians. My bees are basically Italian/mongrels. I think the best queens you’ll acquire are the ones your own bees produce through natural selection via emergency queen cells.


Hey, same here. Small sampling over several years. I only have 20 hives so I speak mostly from personal experience where I live in Sydney. I get my caucasions from Briggs Bees down in Victoria. David Briggs is now running the breeding program and he is happy to post small numbers, I regularly order between 2 and 6 queens. You can get his contact details from this site. http://www.aussieapiaristsonline.net/queen-bees-for-sale.html
I do love the chart, a really top idea. cheers Rod


I am sure that I have heard Wilma refer to them on video as “little mongrels”. :blush:


I think credit for that goes to @Valli


howdy- my mums hive is reputedly KI Ligurian stock- and the bees have been good produces, and are pretty calm- not too much bridge comb etc. Good Bees. I have made a split from that hive. I believe some of the other hives I have also have some degree of Ligurian in them. From what I understand of the pure Ligurian strain on Kangaroo Island- they are noted for a generally good nature- but not as being particularly exceptional producers.

I also now have some yellow Italian bees- they seem very gentle and slower moving than the ligurians. They also bring in large pollen balls. S[peaking to a local beekeeper he is weeding them out of his hives- he likes their temperament but doesn’t see them produce as well. For what it’s worth he seemed to suggest that in his experience- unfortunately- it is the more aggressive bees that produce best.

I read an article about the positive aspects of wild caught bees- and it made some sense to me:


it’s complete with a @Michael_Bush style historical quote- just to re-affirm that there is nothing new under the sun:

“Pick the hive model that is best suited to your locale, populate it with local bees, and the results will speak for themselves,” wrote the famous French apiculturist Georges de Layens in his book The Complete Course in Apiculture, first published in 1892."


Wasn’t trying to take credit for it, just remembered I downloaded it off this forum somewhere.

I think it’s interesting the honey collection/storage is 10 for Italian, doesn’t appear to match the general consensus.


Totally agree, they are greedy little bugs… :blush:


I was convinced a hive last year heard me start the extractor up… when I went to pull a full box of honey off… it had been cleaned out!

Really appreciate the recommendation @Rodderick, spoke to David who had heaps of info/experience he was willing to share. Placed an order after mentioning your recommendation… only problem now is that I am parked behind you in the queue! :smile: