Italian queen: mated and marked laying queen in 3-hole cage with queen candy and attendants.
From the commercial and breeding point of view the value of the Italian honeybee lies in a happy synthesis of a great number of good characteristics. Among these we must mention industry, gentleness, fertility, reluctance to swarm, zeal for building comb, white honey-cappings, a willingness to enter supers, cleanliness, resistance to disease, and the tendency to collect flower honey rather than honey dew. The last-named trait is of value only in countries where the colour of the honey determines the price. The Italian has shown that she is able to produce good crops from the red clover.
shows strong disposition to breeding and very prolific
uses little propolis
superb comb builder
covers the honey with brilliant white cappings
shows lower swarming tendency than other Western honey bee races
for areas with continuous nectar flow and favorable weather throughout the summer
a willingness to enter supers and fill them up
tendency to collect flower honey rather than honey dew
inclined to excessive brood rearing
susceptibility to disease
high consumption of stores
more prone to drifting and robbing than the other principal races of Europe.
the strong brood rearing disposition often results in large food consumption in late winter or early spring that causes spring dwindling and hence slow or tardy spring development
brood rearing starts late and lasts long into late summer or autumn, irrespective of nectar flow
tends to forage over shorter distances than either carnica or mellifera, and may therefore be less effective in poorer nectar flows