Slovenian Beekeeping Home Page

German version



Beekeepers' Association of Slovenia, Cebelarska zveza Slovenije, is supported by the government, beekeeping companies and beekeeping expert organisations. We would like to invite you to the 38th International Beekeeping Congress Apimondia in Ljubljana, 2003. On this occasion we will celebrate and remember three important events 1) Anton Janša, Slovene world known beekeeper and the first court teacher of beekeeping in Vienna, 2) the 130th anniversary (1873) of the publishing of the first Slovene beekeeping magazine and 3) the 222nd anniversary of the establishment of the first beekeeping association (1781).

We applied as a candidate for the organisation of the international beekeeping congress Apimondia 2003 at the Apimondia congress in Switzerland in 1995.

Our beekeeping tradition including world known painted bee hive fronts, well developed beekeeping and manufacture of bee products, success of queen breeders and scientists on the field of breeding and selection of the Carniolan bee as well as the establishment of the Academia Operosorum (1693) that used a honey bee as its emblem. Such rich heritage has encouraged us to announce the candidacy for the organisation of the 38th International Beekeeping Congress Apimondia in 2003.

Slovenia fulfils all the conditions for the preparation of an interesting congress. The congress centre Cankarjev dom in Ljubljana as the recognised performer of many successful international events offers the most modern equipment and enables good organisation of congresses. Beside natural beauties (Postojnska jama, Lipica, Bled, Bohinj etc.), the participants could also visit the beekeeping museum in Radovljica, the bee hive of Anton Janša in Breznica, breeding station of Carniolan queens, major beekeeping farms and several other interesting places. Slovene beekeepers thank to all who supported us in the candidacy for the organisation of the Apimondia congres 2003 in Ljubljana.

See you in Slovenija on the occasion of the 38th bee-keeping congress.

Lojze Peterle

President of Slovenian Beekeeping Association

Top of the page

Slovenian Beekeeping Home Page

German version



Slovenia is a middle European country situated among the Pannonian and Po lowlands. Slovenes are a beekeeping nation, which is proved by our rich beekeeping heritage and tradition.

Trade of honey and beeswax was in full swing in 15th century which was also documented. The Slovene countryman, Anton Janša, became world famous for his contributions to the beekeeping science. He was the first teacher of beekeeping at the court of the Empress Maria Teresia in Vienna. He wrote two books which gained wide recognition in the world and are based on his extremely rich practical knowledge and experience. First he wrote ''A Debate on Bee’s Swarming'' (1771) in German. More extensive is the book ''Complete Teachings of Beekeeping'' (1775) which was also written in German and issued posthumously.

Beside Anton Janša, the Slovenes have become famous for a lively trade with honey bee queens in the 19th century. In the middle of the 20th century our autochthonous bee, Apis mellifera carnica, named the Carniolan bee or the grey bee, was exported all over Europe and to overseas countries. Even though that both world wars strongly affected this trade, Carnica became the leading bee in several countries of the world, especially in the central and Northern Europe. The Carniolan bee excels in calmness and good yield of honey.

Because of the originality the Slovene folk art deserves some special attention, namely painting of beehive fronts which was widely spread in 18th and 19th centuries. One of the Slovene apiculture characteristics is also saddle roof beehives which cannot be found anywhere in the world.

The tradition of the organisation of Slovene beekeepers is very rich. The first association of beekeepers named ''Beekeepers’ Fraternity'' was established already in 1781. This was also the first association founded according to the nowadays requirements (a name, seat, regulations, annual membership fee). The association was very strong and hard working. In 1781 membership fee was collected from 397 members.

A forerunner of the present organisation was established in 1898. Its main task was advanced training of beekeepers. Nowadays, the Beekeepers' association issues the professional apiculture magazine - Slovene Beekeeper. Over 7000 beekeepers joined in the 210 beekeeper's associations, financially support the association. The membership is voluntary. The Federation assists the members in the sale of honey which recently has become very problematic due to the import of honey from other countries.
In the last few decades Slovene beekeepers have made great progress in the exportation of bees, keeping quality of Carniolan bee, manufacturing good and inexpensive beekeeping equipment.

Janez Mihelic
Editor of the Slovene Beekeeper

Top of the page

Slovenian Beekeeping Home Page

German version




The old tradition of beekeeping in Slovenia continues also in present times.

Slovenia is a country of beekeepers who keep only the Carniolan bee, Apis mellifera carnica. The average annual crop of honey ranges from 12 to 20 kg per hive. Many beekeepers manufacture also pollen, royal jelly, and propolis.

7,292 beekeepers keep 164,429 bee-hives. An average bee house has 22.5 beehives. 87.3% beekeepers are members of the Beekeeper's associations including all beekeepers in their mutual activities.

Density of bee colonies is above the European average (8.2 bee hives per square meter). Like in neighbouring countries bee houses are mostly concentrated in the urban environment, so transport of bees to forage, especially to the forest is widely spread. 13% beekeepers or owners of 38% bee colonies in Slovenia transport bees on regularly basis.


Carniolan Bee in Slovenia

The Carniolan bee is famous for its variety of production, physiological, and morphological features. It has been a result of special beekeeping climate and spontaneous selection in the last centuries. It is a very calm and non-aggressive bee. Hygienic behaviour of the Carniolan bee, which indirectly influences a good resistance to bee diseases, is expressed in an excellent way. The Carniolan bee has a very good sense of orientation that enables beekeeping with a large number of bee colonies in stacks of transportable bee houses. In contrast to the neighbouring population of the Italian bee (Apis mellifera ligustica), the Carniolan bee is not inclined to robbery. It reacts very strongly to the stimulations from the environment. Intensive brooding of the queen results in an increased food intake in a hive. Spring development of the bee family is usually very fast and it can convert into a swarm if a beekeeper is inattentive.

The Carniolan bee is an excellent producer of honey. Comparative tests have shown that selected families of the Carniolan bees regularly exceed honey production of the commercial lines and bee crossbreeds. In such cases the specific environment on which domestic bees are properly adopted is of essential importance.

Soon after the end of the Second World War, great effort was made in the organisation of selection of Carniolan bees in Slovenia. Occasionally this work was fruitful, but only after 1984 it developed to the right extent. At that time Slovenia established a unified selection service at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food. The production of honey bee queens has shortly increased to 30.000.

Since 1992 honey bee queens of all registered beekeepers have been regularly tested in specially selected apiaries. Every year data on over 1,000 queens is collected and consequently used by queen breeders. There are 10 - 15 commercial queen breeders, the number depends on the fulfilment of legally required criteria for the registration of a mating station. In this way consumers can obtain useful information on the quality of queens. A third of queens from the registered queen producers is sold on the Slovene market and two thirds are exported. The present number of queens kept can be doubled if the demand increases.


Knowledge of Beekeepers (see also Beekeeping in Slovenia Home Page)

14 experts are professionally engaged in the counselling and research work in apiculture in Slovenia. One expert, researches ways of communication among bees at the Biotechnical Faculty, department of biology, another manages the project ''Selection of the Carniolan Bee and Organisation of Pasture Cadastral Register'' at the Agricultural Institute of Slovenia and two researchers work on bee diseases at the Faculty of Veterinary. All researchers are joined in a research team which is not of a closed type and occasionally includes researchers from other scientific fields.

There are seven veterinarians in the field who work as counsellors in beekeeping and bee disease control. An advisor for bee forage is responsible for the complete territory of Slovenia. Publishing the professional magazine Slovene Beekeeper belongs also to professional work.

Besides the training of beekeepers in Beekeepers' associations, some special knowledge on beekeeping can be gained in the scope of the agricultural education programme. Investment in knowledge is systematic and is foundation for the future increase of professional beekeepers in Slovenia.

Janez Poklukar, Ph.D.
Agricultural Institute of Slovenia

Top of the page

Slovenian Beekeeping Home Page

German version