Saturday, May 26, 2007

Races of Honey Bees

Honey bees, like other animals, are divided into a multitude of races. Below is a list of the most common races used for hobby and commercial beekeeping. These varieties, with the exception of German Black and Africanized, are easily obtained by mail in the United States and many other countries. Although races share common traits, you will probably find hives that have their own personalities despite the generic description.


Apis mellifera ligustica: Originally from the Italian peninsula, this is by far the most popular honey bee. Italian bees are yellow in color, relatively gentle, overwinter well, and build up quickly in spring. They are easily provoked to rob weaker neighboring colonies and sometimes exhaust honey stores rapidly in winter.


Apis mellifera carnica: These bees originated in the Austrian Alps and the Danube Valley. Gray/brown in color, they are extremely gentle, conserve winter food stores well, and build up quickly in spring. Carniolan bees build new combs slowly and swarm frequently.


Apis mellifera caucasica: These bees originated in the Caucasus Mountains between the Black and Caspian Seas. They are lead-gray in color, very gentle, and swarm infrequently. Caucasian bees overwinter poorly, build up slowly in spring, are susceptible to Nosema disease, and gum up their hives with propolis.


Apis mellifera ?: Russian bees resemble the dark Carniolan strain and use less propolis than typical Italian honey bees. They are not prone to sting. The bees show exceptional winter hardiness, small winter cluster, and a high nectar haul per bee. They are more apt to building queen cells throughout the brood season and may have a higher tendency to swarm.


Apis mellifera hybrid: The Buckfast hybrid bee was a honey bee developed by “Brother Adam.” The Buckfast bee is popular among beekeepers and is available from bee breeders in several parts of the world. Most of their qualities are very favorable. They are extremely gentle, and some authorities rate them higher than the Italians in most categories. Their main drawbacks are that they have a strong tendency to lock combs together with brace combs, and they are very liberal in their application of propolis to inner surfaces of their hives, thus acting to defeat one of the main purposes of the modern beehive–that combs should be easily removable for inspection.

German Black

Apis mellifera mellifera: Originally from northern Europe, this was the first honey bee brought to the New World. They are brown/black in color and overwinter well. German black bees are nervous, aggressive, and build up slowly in spring.


Apis mellifera scutellata and its hybrids: These honey bees originated in eastern Africa. In the 1950s, this race was imported to Brazil and began spreading northward. Compared to European races, this bee and its hybrids are extremely defensive, have smaller nests, and swarm more frequently. The first natural colony of Africaized bees in the United States was found in October 1990 near Hidalgo, Texas. Since then, they have been found in New Mexico, Arizona, and


The above has been adapted from A Year in the Life of an Apiary by Keith S. Delaplane from the University of Georgia, with supplemental information added.

The Benefits Of Using Royal Jelly

When you're ready to indulge yourself in some sort of royal treatment, don't head out to an expensive day spa. Instead, take a moment to learn about the many benefits of Royal Jelly, a product from which people have benefited for centuries. And despite its name, Royal Jelly really is affordable. Before diving right into the benefits of Royal Jelly, it's important to know what it is.

Royal Jelly is a substance that worker bees secrete. Before it was used by people, Royal Jelly was used to encourage and promote the development of a Queen Bee - hence the name, Royal Jelly! Today, bee keepers around the world readily confront the dangers of their profession so that we can reap the benefits of Royal Jelly. Some of these benefits include:

It slows the effects of aging

Royal Jelly is what turns an ordinary bee into a Queen Bee. Since the Queen Bee develops as a result of being fed Royal Jelly and she lives several years longer than worker bees, many people believe that Royal Jelly has ingredients that slow the aging process in people as well. Amino acids are what the body needs to combat the effects of oxidation, a process that damages the cells inside the body. The amino acids found in Royal Jelly help ensure this doesn't happen.

It can be used as a nutritional supplement

Royal Jelly contains many important vitamins such the B vitamins as well as vitamins A, K, D, C and E, and 12 essential minerals including calcium, zinc, magnesium and potassium. Since most of us fail to get the necessary daily requirements of vitamins and minerals from our diets, taking Royal Jelly can help balance these nutritional deficiencies.

In can help the immune system

Royal Jelly contains a high concentration of amino acids which help keep the immune system functioning optimally. Whether you've got problems with your digestive tract or you want to protect yourself from catching a cold, Royal Jelly can help.

It can help balance a person's moods

People who have suffered from such conditions as depression, anorexia nervosa, shock and even anxiety report that Royal Jelly has helped them recover and resume a normal way of life.

It's thought to be an aphrodisiac

Because Royal Jelly contains so many vitamins, minerals and other beneficial ingredients, it naturally increases the energy levels of those who take it without the energy spikes and falls that sugary foods and caffeinated beverages cause. Those with more energy to burn take much pleasure in the realization that they have far more endurance when involved with one activity in particular - love making!

Other benefits of Royal Jelly

There have also been reports that Royal Jelly has helped tumors shrink, has slowed the rate of hair loss, has helped ease the symptoms of menopause, and has even helped lower the levels of "bad" cholesterol inside the body.

When you consider all the benefits of Royal Jelly, it makes sense to consider indulging in this remarkable, all-natural Royal treatment!

About The Author:
Gray Rollins is a featured writer for BeeCharmersWife, a site about beekeeping, and bee products. To learn more about royal jelly, visit and

Using Royal Jelly For Skin Care

If you don't know what it is, you might think that Royal Jelly sounds more like something you'd spread on your toast rather than your skin. However the truth is, a lot of people use Royal Jelly as part of their daily skin care routines. Despite its funny-sounding name, Royal Jelly is for real. In fact it's a 100% natural product that is actually derived from the secretions of male worker bees. If you think you'd rather not put something like that onto your skin, I suggest you keep reading.

A Look Inside Royal Jelly

If you were to break Royal Jelly down into its individual components, you would find that it is made up of mostly water (60 - 70%), protein (about 12 - 15 %), and sugar (10 - 16%). The remaining components include fats, salts, amino acids and an abundance of vital minerals and vitamins. In an active bee colony, worker bees feed these rich secretions to bee larvae.

After a few days of giving over their Royal Jelly, the worker bees begin to focus only on the larvae that exhibit the greatest chance of becoming the Queen. Only one will be lucky enough to continue receiving the Royal Jelly and soon will develop into the Queen.

And that is how Royal Jelly got its royal reputation. There are many ways to use Royal Jelly including using it as part of an effective skin care routine. After all, it makes sense that if Royal Jelly can help produce a Queen Bee that is better and stronger than the rest, then anyone who uses Royal Jelly on his or her skin should be able to reap such royal benefits as well!

Some Royal Jelly Skin Care Uses

Readily available from distributors around the world, Royal Jelly comes in capsule and liquid form. It's available as a chewable tablet and also as a powder and an elixir. When Royal Jelly will be used as part of a skin care routine, you need only massage a small amount into the skin. Within seconds, the skin will begin feeling tighter and fine lines and wrinkles will be much less noticeable. You'll feel almost as if you've just had a facelift, except there won't be any pain and you will have spent only a small fraction of the cost!

If you live in a colder, harsher climate, your skin will benefit from a regular Royal Jelly skin care routine. Dry skin looks dull, red and blotchy. It makes a person appear much older that he or she is. Skin that's hydrated appears more vibrant. Royal Jelly's moisturizing qualities give skin a fresh feeling, one that's soft and smooth.

You can easily spend hundreds of dollars on skin care products, but you won't have to if you let Royal Jelly work its magic on your skin. Apply it all over your body - your hands, legs, back, and anywhere your skin needs a bit of help. When you're done, your skin will definitely thank you.

About The Author:
Gray Rollins is a featured writer for BeeCharmersWife, a site about beekeeping, and bee products. To learn more about royal jelly, visit and