There are around 10,000 beekeepers in Slovenia, which is a lot considering the fact that there are approximately 2 million Slovenes. There are over 210 beekeeping societies and associations, the majority of those are members of the Slovenian Beekeepers’ Association. We have our own beekeeping centre at Brdo pri Lukovici that was mostly built by volunteers, using contributions from our own pockets. We have every reason to be proud of this centre, because it serves, among other things, as the headquarters of the Slovenian Beekeepers’ Association, under the umbrella of which the Public Beekeeping Advisory Service operates. In the centre, there is also room for carrying out beekeepers’ training, a laboratory for checking the quality of hive products, a library with specialist beekeeping literature, editorial offices of our Slovenski čebelar (Slovenian Beekeeper) magazine, a shop with beekeeping supplies, and a boarding house. In close vicinity, there are also typical Slovenian apiaries, including one designed for apitherapy, a beekeeping nature trail, nectar plants etc.
Slovenia is also a place of origin of CARNIOLAN HONEY BEE, which is present all over the world due to its excellent characteristics. In order to preserve and selectively breed our Carniolan honey bee we have over 30 queen breeders that breed purebred and production queens.
Honey flow in Slovenia is not abundant. Even though our country is small, it has many different regional climatic zones, which is why we are able to gather several varieties of honey; acacia, linden, chestnut, spruce and silver fir are our most recognizable types of monofloral honey. We pride ourselves on the three products that are protected in EU, namely the Slovenian Honey with protected geographical indication, the Karst Honey and the Kočevje Forest Honey. A great majority of beekeepers puts honey in “our” Slovenian honey jars. Apart from honey, many beekeepers gather pollen, some gather royal jelly, while quite a few make honey drinks. Our specialty that we are especially proud of is Sparkling Mead.
Recently we are putting a lot of effort in the development of apitourism. Our first step was the certification of apitourism service providers. We are happy to share our experience with other countries by means of heading the Apimondia Commission for Apitourism.
Special attention is being paid to our youngest ones. For 10 years now, we have held a yearly “Honey Breakfast” event in all kindergartens and schools. Beekeeping circles are organized at nearly half of elementary schools with the intention of educating children about beekeeping and the importance of bees.
In the past, Slovenia “’produced” many world-renowned beekeeping experts with Anton Janša and Peter Pavel Glavar heading the group. Apitherapy also has a special place in Slovenia because Filip Terč, MD, the father of modern apitherapy, worked right here.
Slovenian beekeepers are happy and pleased that the government has also been providing support for our work in the recent years. Especially the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food with Minister Dejan Židan, MSc, at its head supports our projects and, what is more – it helps us realize them in Slovenia as well as elsewhere!