»Bees, bees, you are my friends…« goes the famous song of Slovenian singer Lojze Slak. Slovenia is a country with a long beekeeping tradition. Back in December 2017, this small green country succeeded in something very important on a global scale – general assembly of United Nations, proclaimed the 20th of May for the World Bee Day. This year will mark the 2nd World Bee Day, which is already getting a world recognition.
Shortly after proclamation, the European Union also banned the use of three pesticides that prove to be a major factor in the extinction of bee species. Colony collapse disorder and the problem of extinction are more commonly encountered in the United States of America, where the population of bees is decreasing daily. The main reason for this phenomena is the uncontrolled use of pesticides on a large scale. Approximately one-third of the world`s crop is depending on pollination, 90 % of which is done by bees. Another concern is that 84 % of all plant species in Europe are pollinated by bees, while their population is quickly decreasing. So the possible extinction of bees is also a serious threat to humanity.
So why 20th of May? May is the month of awakening for bees and nature. On 20th of May, pioneer of modern beekeeping was born – Anton Janša (1734-1773). Anton was a Slovenian beekeeper and is widely regarded as a pioneer of modern beekeeping. He shared his knowledge with students of the Beekeeping school in Vienna, Austria. He is considered as the first teacher of beekeeping. After his death in 1773, all beekeepers had to study beekeeping with the help of his written content.
Slovenia has always been considered a beekeeping country, with a long and rich tradition. Today you can find more than 150,000 hives spread around the country. All together we have 10,000 beekeepers engaged in honey production. With an average of 5 beekeepers per 1000 inhabitants, we are at the very top between all members of European Union. Despite the production of more than 500 tons of honey, we still have to import it from elsewhere. An average Slovenian eats 1.4 kilograms of honey each year.
Carniolan honey bee is our autochtonous species of bees and are the only autochthonous protected species in the world. Its roots can be backtracked to Gorenjska region in Slovenia. Carniolan bee is the second most common bee in the world after Italian bee and is considered the most desirable in the world. Its main characteristics are hard-working, resistance to harmful insects, low-aggressive nature, resistance to various diseases, very good orientation, suitable for urban beekeeping, rapid adaption to environmental changes,…
Urban beekeeping is a fairly new phenomenon in the world, which can also be found in Ljubljana. Back in 1925 architect, Jože Plečnik made a beehive in his garden, this made him a pioneer of urban beekeeping in Slovenia. According to the city of Ljubljana, 3% of all Slovenian beekeepers are located in Ljubljana. They take care of over 4,500 bee families. First urban beehives appeared on Cankarjev dom in Ljubljana city center. Today you will find them in shopping center BTC, on the rooftop of cultural center Španski borci, center of urban culture Kino Šiška and on the roof of our B&B Hotel Ljubljana Park.
Slovenia is considered as a green destination and has received lots of praise in Europe and worldwide. Slovenia has a population with a little more than 2 million inhabitants and 9 billion bees. In Slovenia, beekeeping is not an industry, but a way of life for beekeepers.
Apitourism is the last in a line of innovative tourist products developed in Slovenia. Today we have more than 30 registered beekeeping tourisms. Apitourism is a unique and unforgettable experience where we combine education and showing respect for mother nature. Various api-therapies treatments can be found in Slovenia, which already shown positive effects on health. Therapies such as honey massage, breathing the air of beehive through a face mask or just laying in a beehive, observing bees through a glass. Today Slovenia is visited by a lot of young and more experienced beekeepers from all over the world.