Georgia is a homeland of the world known Mountain Grey Caucasian Honey Bee (Apis mellifera caucasica-Georgia). The complex climate and the vast biodiversity of flora of Georgia has led to the evolution of the breed and has given it extraordinary characteristics, making it unique compared to other honeybee breeds. The breed has the longest tongue among honey bee species, which gives it the ability to reach the nectar tissues, where no other species can. However, this is not the only reason that it is one of the most productive honeybee breeds in the world.
Caucasian honeybees can work under less ideal conditions, such such as rain or cold winter conditions. The breed also produces propolis in larger amounts than others. It also allows them to overwinter better than other breeds. These bees generally overwinter with a smaller cluster and less honey. The queen is very frugal in her egg laying. When the incoming nectar slows down, these queens slow down in laying to have ample storage for the winter.
The Caucasian bee stores honey near the brood, typical for a mountain bee. It also uses a minimum number of combs for storing the honey; in other words, it doesn’t proceed to a new comb until the previous one is completely filled. Thus, at the end of harvesting there are no half or partially filled combs, a great advantage for extracting the honey.
The non-aggressive character makes the breed one of the gentlest honeybee in the world.
The Georgian beekeepers are concerned about preserving the purity of the breed and ardently protect it from the import of other breeds in the country.
All these characteristics have been recognized at international exhibitions and the honeybee received three gold medals at the International Exhibition of Gardening in Erfurt (Germany) in 1961; at the 20th APIMONDIA International Congress in Bucharest (Romania) in 1965; and at the 23rd APIMONDIA nternational Congress in Moscow in 1971.