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6 Best Type Of Honey Bees To Start Beekeeping

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Best Type Of Honey Bees To Start Beekeeping

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When you have made up your mind to start beekeeping, you might have the most confusing thing in your mind. That is “What is the best type of honey bees to start beekeeping as a beginner“?

Remember there are different honey bee types available for beginners. But how do you decide which one is most suitable for you?

Don’t worry this blog post will remove your every confusion. So, the primary objectives of this beekeeping starter guide are:

  • The 6 best types of honey bees that are most suitable for beginners.
  • A comprehensive guide for deciding the most suitable honey bee type to start your first colony.
  • Answers to the commonly asked questions related to the best honey bee type for beginners.

 

 

 

What Are The Different Types Of Honey Bee Species?

These 8 species of honey bees have been recognized all over the world. Those are:

  1. Western Honey Bee (Apis mellifera)
  2. Asian Honey Bee (Apis cerana)
  3. Giant Honey Bee (Apis dorsata)
  4. Apis koschevnikovi
  5. Apis andreniformis
  6. Philippine Honey Bee (Apis nigrocincta)
  7. Apis florea
  8. Apis laboriosa

These 8 species of honey bees have 43 subspecies. But beekeepers do not keep all of them for beekeeping. Only a few of them are most widely used for beekeeping.

 

 

 

6 Best Honey Bee Types To Start Beekeeping As A Beginner

Well, as I already told you not all of the honey bee types are used for beekeeping, there are 6 best types of honey bees that beekeeper often uses. You can choose any of them to start your beekeeping journey.

But don’t go with a random one. You should select the right one considering the overall condition for bees in your region. So, let’s uncover the 6 best honey bee types that are suitable to start your beekeeping journey.

 

 

 

1) WESTERN HONEY BEE (Apis mellifera)

I keep this bees list in no. 1 because these are the most widely used in the whole world. This one is actually mostly famous in the United States and similar regions. They have black and yellow marks on their body.

Western Honey Bee
Western Honey Bee

 

They are famous because of their high pollination capabilities. Beekeepers who earn money by providing pollination services, mostly prefer this honey bee type. Because Western honey bees provide better pollination than other bee species.

 

Advantages Of Western Honey Bee

  • Excess honey production.
  • Suitable for beginners as they are comparatively less aggressive.
  • High reproduction rate.
  • Creates large colonies.

 

Disadvantages Of Western Honey Bee

  • Highly vulnerable to varroa mites and other diseases.
  • In large colonies mite treatment is difficult.
  • More susceptible to environmental changes and disease.
  • Often dependent on human care and management.

 

 

 

2) Eastern Honey Bee (Apis cerana)

Eastern honey bees are famous for their highly adaptive capabilities. They have the capability to adapt to longer winter seasons and harsh environments. They are mostly found in India, Bangladesh, and other parts of Asia.

Eastern Honey Bees
Eastern Honey Bees

 

They are not often found in the United States and other countries. However, they are widely used for beekeeping in eastern and southeast Asian regions. 

 

Advantages Of Eastern Honey Bee

  • They can efficiently manage their resources for longer duration.
  • Require less maintenance.
  • High resistance to varroa mites and many bee diseases.
  • Can easily adapt to environmental changes.

 

Disadvantages Of Eastern Honey Bee

  • Highly Aggressive.
  • Less availability in the Western region.
  • They are more prone to swarming.

 

 

 

3) CARNIOLAN HONEY BEE

Carniolan Honey Bee is an excellent type of honey bee to start beekeeping. Because they are nice and gentle. They are most suitable for beekeeper due to their calm temperament. They have more excess honey production compared to Eastern & Western Honey Bee types.

CARNIOLAN HONEY BEE
Carniolan Honey Bee

 

This honey bee species is widely used for beekeeping in Slovenia, Austria, Croatia, Romania, Italy, and some other regions. They have effective brood-rearing characteristics.

 

Advantages Of Carniolan Honey Bee

  • Can easily adapt to cold temperatures.
  • Less aggressive.
  • Excess honey flow.
  • High foraging & pollination capabilities.
  • Efficient brood rearing.

 

Disadvantages Of Carniolan Honey Bee

  • Prone to swarming.
  • Volatile to various bee diseases.
  • Finding the queen in a Carniolan honey bee colony is somewhat challenging. 
  • Less productive during excessive warm season.

 

 

 

4) ITALIAN HONEY BEE (Apis mellifera ligustica)

Italian honey bees are most widely discovered in Italy but are famous to beekeepers in most parts of the world. Beekeepers in the USA also love this honey bee type to start beekeeping. 

Italian Honey Bee
Italian Honey Bee

This one is especially my favorite species of honey bee. Because they are not very aggressive. On the other hand, they are very good at brood management. They are one of the most productive types of honey bees which makes them popular among beekeepers.

 

Advantages Of Italian Honey Bees 

  • Gentle and calm in nature.
  • Capable of creating large colonies.
  • Very high production of honey compared to all other honey bee species.
  • Very less likely to swarm.

 

Disadvantages Of Italian Honey Bees

  • They have a large brood cycle as a result large resources are needed.
  • Volatile to various brood diseases.
  • Require high maintenance. During winter needs to provide more food.

 

 

 

5) Russian Honey Bees

This honey bee species was first discovered in Russia in the Primorsky Krai region. It is often found in some other parts of the world too. Russian honey bees can also be a good choice for a beginner to kick off their beekeeping journey.

Russian Honey Bees
Russian Honey Bee

 

They are popular with beekeeper due to their hygienic behavior. This means they regularly remove dead bees and strangers that is mites, beetles, and viruses from their colony. Keeps the colony clean and hygienic. As a result, there is a very low chance of mite attack in a Russian honey bee colony.

 

Advantages Of Russian Honey Bees

  • High resistance to varroa mites and other bee diseases.
  • Excess honey production.
  • Highly adaptive to colder climates.

 

Disadvantages Of Russian Honey Bees

  • Highly aggressive.
  • Less availability in some parts of the world.
  • Productivity decreases during warmer seasons.

 

 

 

6) Himalayan Honey Bee (Apis laboriosa)

They are the world’s largest honey bee species, widely found in the Asian region. They are dominating the beekeeping industry in India, Indonesia, Japan, Bhutan, China, Vietnam, and many other countries.

Himalayan Honey Bees
Himalayan Honey Bee

 

They are the only honey bee species that has the capability to renew wax brood crumbs. They are suitable for beginners due to their high resistance to bee diseases. They are also capable of adapting to almost any climate in any region of the world.

 

Advantages Of Himalayan Honey Bee

  •  Efficient resource management.
  • Excess honey production.
  • Resistance to most honey bee diseases.
  • Capable of foraging in large plants where other honey bees may not be able to reach.

 

Disadvantages Of Himalayan Honey Bee

  • Prone to swarming.
  • Highly defensive.
  • Require more maintenance.

 

 

 

How To Select The Best Type Of Bees To Start Your Beekeeping Journey

Well, the above-discussed 6 types of honey bees are suitable for beginners to kick off your beekeeping journey. When you have a list of honey bee types and can not decide which one to choose, you have to consider a few things first.

  1. Environment type in your region.
  2. Your beekeeping resources.
  3. Availability of pollinating plants in your region.
  4. Your aim.

If you have the answer to these 4 things, you will easily be able to select the right type of honey bee for your beekeeping journey.

If you are living in the United States and in the Western American region, I would suggest you go with Italian Honey Bees. Because they are docile and have high honey production. As they are less likely to swarm, they can manage small space for large colonies.

So, you can easily go with them. Actually, Italian honey bees are suitable for the USA, UK, Australia, & Asian regions too.

For the USA, Australia, United Kingdom, Italy, and Switzerland, Western Honey Bees are also good to go for beginners. Make sure to provide sufficient resources to the bees to survive the winter.

Himalayan Honey Bees And Eastern Honey Bees are most suitable for Asian beekeepers. But still, if you wish you can use this honey bee type no matter where you live. Because these honey bees can adapt to almost any climate. Also, they have a high resistance to diseases.

But be careful, because these bees are very aggressive and prone to swarm. So, for beginners, you should learn first how to treat aggressive bees.

If you are living in the Russian Federation you can easily go with Russian honey bees. You can also go with Western honey bees and Italian honey bees.

If your main aim is to make maximum profit from beekeeping you must go with Italian honey bees. Carniolan honey bees are also beginner-friendly bee type that has high honey production. So, yes you can go with this type of bee too if your main aim is to make money through beekeeping.

I have started my beekeeping with Eastern honey bees. Currently, I have a lot of Italian honey bee colonies. Because Italian honey bee colonies are my favorite type of bee. I also have some Western honey bee colonies.

So, from my experience will suggest you, go with either Italian Honey Bees or Western Honey Bees to start your beekeeping journey. But your choice can vary depending on the options available in your region.

Whatever type of honey bee colony you have, you should winterize your hive properly before the winter. Also, follow proper hive inspection rules for better hive maintenance. You should choose a reliable source for purchasing bees for your apiary.

 

 

 

What Is The Easiest Bee To Raise?

Italian honey bees are the easiest bees to raise as they are less prone to swarm. Also, they are efficient in resource management. As a result, they require less maintenance and care. You just have to provide enough food for their survival.

 

 

 

What Is The Most Productive Bee?

Himalayan Honey Bees are the most productive type of honey bee. They have efficient brood-rearing capabilities. They have also efficient resource management capabilities.

They can manage their large population in a small space. They are also able to survive long with small food storage. Their productivity doesn’t hampered much by the environmental conditions.

 

 

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Which bee gives more honey?

Italian honey bees are famous due to their high honey production rate. They give plenty of honey compared to other honey bee types. Besides Italian honey bees, Carniolan honey bees also give high excess honey production.

What are the best bees for new beekeepers?

Italian honey bees and western honey bees are most suitable for new beekeepers in the Western region. On the other hand, Himalayan honey bees and Carniolan honey bees are most suitable for Beekeepers in the Asian Region.

What are the friendliest bees to keep?

Carniolan Honey Bees are often considered the most friendliest bees to keep. Because they are very nice and gentle. They are friendly to humans and not much aggressive.

 

 

 

Final Thoughts & Helpful Resources

Hopefully, now you can easily decide the best type of honey bee to start your beekeeping journey. Just consider the environmental conditions in your region, availability, and resources. Then you can easily choose the suitable honey bee type to kick off your first honey bee colony.

In general, Italian Honey Bee, Western Honey Bee, and Carniolan Honey Bee are the most beginner-friendly honey bee types. But depending on your location you should select the most suitable honey bee type for your apiary.

Make sure to contact local beekeepers in your region. If possible try to take a beekeeping course for best practice.

 

Helpful Article & Researches

 

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