CAUCASIAN HONEYBEE – THE TREASURE OF GEORGIAN NATURE

The gray Caucasian mountain honeybee (i.e. Georgian honey bee), one of the world’s oldest ecotypes of honeybees, is the most gentle race and has a legendary ability to produce large amounts of honey despite cold weather and bad conditions. Georgia is the central homeland for the species. Caucasian honeybee’s proboscis length is about 7.1 - 7.3 mm, therefore it can reach nectar that its competitors cannot.

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Caucasian queen bees export

Our mission is to support beekeeping globally, in any region of the world and offer pure line Caucasian queen bees (Apis mellifera caucasica) for any interested companies or individuals directly from their motherland - Georgia. Caucasian bees are the most gentle bees species in the world, they are winder-hardy and very productive, thanks to longest tongue and ability to fly in cool temperatures and even in light rain, that other races of bees will not dare. With all these characteristics the Caucasian bees are probably the best bees on the market today. The problem is that pure breed Caucasian honey bees are rare even in Georgia, as well as in other countries. Exported bees over the decades lost many of their standards characteristics due to the homogenization. Hybrid species also became distinct from autochthonous Caucasian bees. After the collapse of Soviet Union and several military conflicts in Georgia, bee breeding became difficult in the country, but thanks to our researchers pure Caucasian bees were saved and preserved in special apiaries supported by Government and few beekeeping companies. At GOLDBEE we tried to do our best to maintain pure Caucasian bees and still continue preservation and breeding. Our quality control service assures that all exported queen bees are specially selected from breeding stock, maintaining blood lines to assure highest quality available. For almost 6 millennium Caucasian bees proved their ability and today they are considered as one of the best choice for many beekeepers in the world. Hope our queen bees will greatly boost your production and strengthen your colonies.
The world's oldest honey

Georgia has a long history of beekeeping. So far, the oldest remains of honey in the world have been found in Georgia, Borjomi region. Archaeologists have found honey remains on the inner surface of clay vessels unearthed in ancient tomb, dating back some 5,500 years. The oldest honey before that finding was considered honey found in Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamen's tomb (1500 BCE). Based on the Archaeological excavation Georgian honey is some 2000 years older than Egyptian one and is considered as oldest honey in the world.

The honey vessels and other artifacts were found in the tomb of an apparent female noblewoman, which was discovered in 2003 during the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline.

Apis Mellifera Caucasica

The Caucasian (Georgian) honeybee (Apis mellifera caucasia) has a long history of importance to beekeeping worldwide. The scientists were amazed by its ability to out-produce other bee types, even in non-native habitats. Konstantin Aleksandrovich Gorbachev (1864-1936) - famous Russian researcher for the first time in the history of beekeeping gave a scientific description of the gray mountain Caucasian bees. Thanks to his works, the Caucasian bee gained worldwide fame. The bees were first sent to the United States for commercial production in the late 19th century. Caucasian honey bee was a subspecies that came to have enduring interest to U.S. beekeepers. There were reports of importation in the 1880’s and the subspecies was clearly present by 1890 (Hoffman, in York 1906, Tefft 1890). Direct importations of Caucasian honey bees were made into Colorado in 1903-1905. Famous american beekeeper and researcher Frank Benton (1852-1919) greatly supported the import of Georgian honeybees to the United States. Benton visited Georgia in 1905 and met with one of the leading local entomologist and beekeeper Ilarion Kavtaradze.
Frank Benton and Ilarion Kavtaradze, Georgia, circa 1905

Communist revolution in Russia and occupation of Georgia by the Soviet Union in 1921 led to the country isolation. Georgian honeybee was studied and cultivated primarily by Soviet entomologists. The scientists were amazed by its ability to out-produce other bee types, even in non-native habitats, and by its long tongue, or proboscis. A Soviet-era report found that honey production by Georgia’s Caucasus bees exceeded that of the Russian Krasnopoliansk bee by 30 to 40 percent, rendering a sweet total of 25 to 30 kilograms of honey per season. Soviet officials were so concerned about preserving the purity of this Caucasian species that they outlawed any transport of Caucasus bee colonies without special permission.

3 gold medal awards to caucasian georgian honeybee 3 gold medal awards started a new era of popularization of Georgian grey honeybees. First Gold Medal was given to the Georgian honeybee in 1961, at the International Exhibition of Gardening in Erfurt (Germany), next time, the Georgian honeybee was awarded a Gold Medal at the jubilee celebration of the APIMONDIA 20th International Congress of Agriculture in Bucharest (Romania) in 1965, and the third Gold Medal was received at the jubilee celebration of the APIMONDIA 23th International Congress of Agriculture in Moscow in 1971.

According to Sunday Mirror a newspaper published in UK: "GOLDEN BEE the grey mountain bee of the Soviet Union has been judged the best in the world and awarded a gold medal. The grey caucasian bee is distinguished for its industry and it collects honey, even when it is raining. Many foreign beemasters have requested for the Golden bee and as many as 200 000 have been sent to Europe, Asia and America this year." (Sunday Mirror June, 1 1969)

Pure-strain Caucasian grey mountain queen bees were spread in more than 40 countries of the world, including: Germany, France, Switzerland, Poland, Belgium, USA, Austria, Australia, India, Brazil, Japan, England, Bulgaria, Cuba, Finland, Algeria and etc.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Georgia regained its independence in 1991. USSR disintegration process and a series of military conflicts in Georgia hindered the breeding as well the exportvprocess greatly. From 2000s Georgian entomologists and beekeepers started revival of apiculture in the country. An export of Caucasian queenbees, honey & hive products slowly renewed mainly to Turkey and CIS countries.

We at GOLDBEE are determined to develop and support beekeeping in Georgia and offer to our customers abroad pure strain Caucasian queen bees. We are in position to export queen bees to any interested companies or individuals in the world and support governmental beekeeping programs in different countires.



AMAZING FACTS ABOUT CAUCASIAN HONEY BEES

Main advantages of the Caucasian honeybees:

  1. Longest proboscis (7.1 - 7.3mm)
  2. Most gentle
  3. Most agile
  4. Winter hardy. Caucasus mountains have very harsh climate and is home to highest peaks in Europe (5642 m; 18,510 ft).
  5. Very productive
  6. Produces highest amount of honey in years with poor nectar supply
  7. Highest effective flight range among other honeybee races
  8. Collects honey from different plants simultaneously
  9. Able to fly in light rain
  10. Able to fly in fog
  11. The only bee race with a highly effective pollination index of all legumes
  12. Superior vision. Caucasian bees have 10-12,000 facets in each eye (other bees have only 6-9,000 facets)
  13. More productive in places and seasons with scarce nectar sources since it has the longest tongue allowing it to utilize well the deep-tube flowers like Clover, Lucerne (or Alfalfa) etc.
  14. Form strong colonies
  15. Low inclinations towards swarming or swarm very little.
  16. Queens bees are good tempered, gentle, calm and non-aggressive. At most 1-2 h after colony control it conforms to the new arrangements and are set to the normal working conditions. In some European honeybee races this can only be achieved in 2 or 3 days
  17. Cohabitation of two queen bees in the single hive is not uncommon for Caucasian bees.
  18. Produce more propolis than any other bee race (Propolis is one of the most powerful wide spectrum natural antibiotics used in medicine from antient times)
  19. Hardier to American Foulbrood (AFB) disease than standard bee races
  20. Protect food supplies well and use frugally
  21. Low or insignificant aggression on horse sweat, geese or other animals
  22. Bee venom doesn't cause nearby bees to sting simultaneously as a reaction to apitoxin
  23. As a most gentle, non-aggressive bee race it is very suitable from the juridical point of view, as with the Caucasian bees there will be no or minimal lawsuits against beekeepers from neighbours
  24. Most suitable race for urban beekeeping (great orientation in city buildings, an urban version of mountains & cliffs, beside is gentle and non-aggressive to humans and animals and collects honey from wide variety of plants.)

Goldbee apiaries, Georgia, Caucasus







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