kranjska sivka
Mojca Mežek
20. 05. 2021

World Bee Day and a picnic area for bees

The Fourth World Bee Day is taking place this year in the light of a special appeal not to mow public areas and lawns around houses due to the frost, which has severely affected fruit trees. The destination Kranjska Gora also joined this appeal.

In Slovenia, beekeeping has a long tradition and is one of the most important industries. The country with a population of just over 2 million has 11,000 registered beekeepers, so it is not surprising that the initiative to mark the World Day of this proverbial diligent animal came from Slovenia. The procedure was lengthy, but the president of the Slovenian Beekeepers’ Association, the father of the idea of ​​World Bee Day, strongly emphasized in all interviews that there was no state, organization, that did not support this noble proposal. Thus, on December 20 this year, four years will have passed since the solemn proclamation of May 20 as World Bee Day.

Why May 20? On this day in 1734, Anton Janša, a Slovenian beekeeper, a pioneer of modern beekeeping and one of the greatest experts on bees, was born. He was known as one of the greatest experts on bees in the 18th century.

Anton Janša from Breznica in the Gorenjska region proved his knowledge of beekeeping and the Carniolan bee already during the time of Imperial Austria. His “Debate on the Birth of Bees” of 1771 is considered a pioneering work in the field of beekeeping around the world. He was even appreciated by Empress Maria Theresa. According to the Slovenian master, she prescribed beekeeping for the entire empire. World Bee Day is celebrated in May for another reason, as the lush development of bees and nature in the northern hemisphere takes place during this month.

World Bee Day has become a global movement for bees and pollinators. According to Boštjan Noč, the world is competing on this day to celebrate this day more innovatively. He is happy to add that with the proclamation of May 20 as World Bee Day, Slovenia has become highly recognizable worldwide as a beekeeping destination and is also strengthening the recognition of Slovenia and developing boutique and green tourism. In beekeeping tourism, the president of the Slovenian Beekeepers’ Association Noč also sees an opportunity for the development of Slovenian tourism, as our hives with painted hive extensions and beehives are a recognizable symbol of Slovenia. With the development of apitourism, we would upgrade the already diverse offer of experience tourism.

ohranimo čebele

Beekeeping has been an important economic activity in Kranjska Gora for centuries

If in the 18th century Breznica in Gorenjska had Anton Janša, a good century later we had beekeeper Mihael Ambrožič in Mojstrana. With his work and knowledge, he contributed a lot in the field of knowledge of the Carniolan bee and the expansion of its hives around the world.

Thanks to him, the Kranjska Sivka breed has spread greatly around the world, as it first traded with the surrounding beekeepers, and later also with beekeepers from abroad. In doing so, he provided both expertise, as well as a hive and other beekeeping tools, which he made in his own workshop, where a so-called lying hive was created, which was used to transport bees over long distances.

During the active trade in Carniolan lavender, he exported tens of thousands of beehives on most continents of this world. He has received more than 140 awards and decorations for his work, the first at the Vienna World’s Fair in 1873.

Ambrožičeva hiša
House of beekeeper Mihael Ambrožič in Mojstrana.

Beehives, bees and hives can be found at the destination at every turn. In Rateče – Carniola Siberia, as Josip Lavtižar called it, a special form of “extreme beekeeping” was formed due to the special microclimate that prevails in the village. This winter in particular was very generous with snow and low temperatures, and the final blow to the bees was contributed by a strong cold front that struck just under a month ago when frost destroyed most of the fruit tree’s flowers. Thus, the main source of food for bees will be meadow flowers in public areas, spacious meadows and lawns around houses. The Chamber of Agriculture and Forestry therefore appealed not to mow public areas and meadows, but the latter also emphasized that there is fodder for animals on agricultural land and that it is necessary to mow them in order for the fodder to be of good quality.

Psnak Janko
Beekeeper Janko Psnak, in the background a beehive with painted hives showing the history of the village of Zgornja Radovna.
Toni Zupančič
Toni Zupančič, beekeeper from Rateče
AŽ panj
Kranjska Sivka in "Kranjska Siberia".

Apis Mellifera Carnica is the Latin name for Kranjska Sivka, which originates from Slovenia and is the second most widespread in the world, while in Europe it is the leading breed of bees. It is considered to be the most diligent among bees, as it is very frugal with food in winter, and in summer it grazes on average ten days longer than other bees.

The bee is so valued in our country that, unlike other animals, it does not die, but dies. Ever since the times when our ancestors searched for beehives in the trunks of trees with an ax in their hand, the saying remains that when something good happens to us, the ax falls into our honey.

The painted planks that close the hive and were created from the 18th century onwards are typical of Gorenjska and Slovenian Carinthia. They spread throughout Slovenia. Around 50,000 different religious, secular and imaginative motifs adorned the hives of various beekeepers, and hive extensions became a Slovenian specialty.

čebelarska učna pot
In Rateče you can take a walk along the beekeeping educational trail.

“Every dandelion flower will count this year”

The destination Kranjska Gora also responded to this appeal, so on the walk you will come across nice signs in the shape of a bee, which inform visitors of the destination and tourists that we did not mow the meadows because “bees have a picnic”.

Sympathetic signs were placed in five different locations in the destination, on a meadow next to the Slovenian Mountain Museum, along the Romantic Trail along the Pišnica River, on a meadow in front of the Podkoren fire station, a meadow along the road leading to Korenski Sedlo and at a vantage point above the village Podkoren.

How each of us can help bees

We can also take care of the preservation of bees ourselves by planting honey plants on our balconies, window sills, gardens, fields or in public areas. Honey plants include spices and condiments such as peppermint, valerian, sage and good thought. We can also plant honey trees such as linden, wild cherry, hazel and flowers such as American Strawberry, which is extremely healing. By planting these plants, we help bees and other pollinators, and we also take care of our health and well-being.

 “If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.”

 Albert Einstein

piknik prostor za čebele
We also joined the appeal of the Chamber of Forestry and Agriculture at Tourism Kranjska Gora.
Srednji Vrh

Sources:

Logo Let’s preserve bees: Beekeepers’ Association of Slovenia

Text: Website of the Beekeepers’ Association of Slovenia, Slovenian Biography, Marjan Papež (facebook)

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