An East European independent country since the break-up of Soviet Union, Georgia has 5.5 million inhabitants with a land area of 69700 km2. Located south of the Caucasian mountains and north of the Transcaucasus mountain range, it has common borders with Turkey and Armenia in the south, Russia, in the north, and Azerbaijan in the east. In the west, the Black Sea beaches give a bathing touch to the mainly mountainous terrain.
Characteristics of Georgian Bee The distinctive exterior features of Georgian bees are a long proboscis (7.2 – 7.3 mm), which is the longest among the honey-bees available on the earth, and the grey color of the body, though in the low-lying regions in some families there occur individual bees with the yellow color of the first two rings of the abdomen. Queens are much longer than working bees and have a length of 18 – 20 mm. The average weight of a queen is 0.25 g. that of a working bee is 0.10 g. and that of a drone is 0.20 g. By their capacity for work Georgian bees are far superior to Italian bees, which were proved more once by subjecting them to special tests. They are matchless in this respect.
The reason why the Georgian bees are so widespread lays in their useful economic and morphological characteristics which include high honey and wax productivity, fertility of queen bees, resistance to cold winter, a long proboscis, long wings, peace-loving nature, a weak swarming ability, effective collection of nectar and honey even in the conditions of their scarcity, active defense of nests, an ability to work in foggy and drizzly weather, economical consumption of winter food reserves, cleanness of the nest, immunity to infectious diseases, an ability to pollinate red clover, cohabitation of queen bees and many others.
In 1961 at the International Horticultural and Apicultural Exhibition in Erfurt (GDR.) two bee families from Georgia bee-breeding were exhibited. Despite the unfavorable conditions of nectar collections these family collected 97.3 kg of honey leaving far behind all other bees and received The Grand Medal of the Exhibition. Georgian bees received another medal on 1965 in Bucharest. Here, at the international exhibition sponsored by the World Congress on Apiculture they were awarded the Grand Gold Medal. They were awarded the third gold medal in 1971 at the 23rd International Congress on Apiculture in Moscow. To protect the purity of the Georgian bee race the entire territory of Georgia has been proclaimed a reserve – the export of other bee species is prohibited.