The Italian Bee

History

The Italian Bee, also called the Ligurian Bee, is believed to have originated from Continental Italy, north of Sicily. It is highly adaptable and is the most widely found species of honey bee. It's Latin name is Apis Mellifera Ligustica.

They are able to colonise most areas from subtropical to cooler climates, but tend to dislike the very harsh winters and cold wet springs of northern climates. Italian bees were first introduced to America in the 1800's and soon became a popular choice for beekeepers. They are a docile breed which produce large quantities of honey and seem to be more disease resistant than the established British Dark Honey Bee. Keepers of this bee say they rarely use smoke to calm the bees when harvesting honey. They were introduced to the United Kingdom in 1854.

Behaviour

The Italian Bee is very prolific and produces large colonies, but they tend to rear excessive brood late in the year, resulting in increased honey consumption. They are excellent foragers, but tend to roam and 'rob' honey from other colonies. This is seen as one of their major faults. They produce big combs with a large capacity and cover the honey with brilliant white caps. Their house keeping is excellent, which is why many believe they have good disease resistance.

Problems only arise with second generation bees or with cross breeding with another queen; the resulting colony becomes more aggressive.

The Italian Bee is also much less likely to swarm than many other varieties.

Varieties

There are 3 distinct colour varieties; The leather, the bright golden and the pale lemon.

Status

Common

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