Thursday, March 3, 2011


Dear Mom,

Indiana Bee School IX was a success!  The bee school took place in a Presbyterian church large enough to hold over 800 “students” and a couple of hallways full of local and national vendors.  The VERY BEST part about it was meeting up with new friends and acquaintances from my local beekeeping club. Feeling confident again, I purchased a new pair of beekeeper gloves, a frame holder for the hive, and a couple of cute pewter bee pins (one for me and one for my sweet little 8-year old neighbor). 

 The morning classes I chose to attend were just about right for my level of understanding, and, following a satisfying chicken noodle lunch, I ordered two 3-pound packages of Carniolan (Apis mellifera carnica) bees from a well-respected Indiana Apiary.   
Apis mellifera carnica - courtesy of Wikipedia
The afternoon classes, however, challenged my intellect and I began to doubt myself.  Afterwards, as I was mingling with other students and talking with the vendors, I told my friend Melissa that I was feeling overwhelmed and I should leave before I cancelled my order!
Carniolan Bee on Sedum - courtesy of Wikipedia
Now, let me tell you about these bees!  Carniolan honey bees (“Carnies”) developed in the northern part of south-eastern Europe in the area of the Carniolan Alps, including parts of Australia and Slovenia.  The mountainous terrain and unpredictable environment prepared the bees to survive cold winters and to react quickly to changing weather and seasons.  Sounds a little bit like Indiana, doesn’t it?!  The Carnies are a darker color bee, and the Carniolan queen is black and a bit smaller than an Italian queen.    Carniolans, like Italians, are very gentle bees.
Carnies on comb - courtesy of Wikipedia
Of course, my queens will need proper Slovenian names. I can't wait to introduce you to Ursala and Marta, along with their 20,000 workers!  Ursala means “She-bear” and Marta’s name means “Lady” or “Mistress of the house”.  That sounds about right.
Now...I’d better get busy ordering another hive… and cleaning out the old one for the new tenants. The Bee Carnival is coming to town soon!
Love, Bonnie Jo