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Slovenias World Bee Day Initiative

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Slovenia, specifically the Slovenian Beekeepers Association, presented the UN with an initiative to declare a World Bee Day. The Association would like to mark the day on 20th May.

Slovenias World Bee Day Initiative

Slovenia, specifically the Slovenian Beekeepers` Association, presented the UN with an initiative to declare a World Bee Day. The Association would like to mark the day on 20th May, which is the birthday of Anton Janša. This would be an opportunity to raise awareness on the importance of bees and bee products at the international level. Namely, Slovenia is famous for its history of apiculture and painted beehive panels, excellent apitourism capacities and educational presentations of bees in apicultural museums.

The Slovenian Beekeepers` Association (SBA) drafted an initiative to declare the World Bee Day, which is supported by the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology and the SPIRIT Slovenia Tourism Division. Bees and other pollinating insects are crucial to our quality of life. As much as one third of all food produced in the world depends on pollination, and bees are the most important of all pollinators. The day honouring bees would be celebrated in May, which is the most pleasant month in the development of a bee. This is the time when numbers in a hive increase to the point where further reproduction is unimpeded. In the south hemisphere, it is the time when bee products are put into storage and bees are prepared for the winter.

Slovenia would like to use the initiative to raise awareness on the importance of bees, which are increasingly endangered in the areas of intensive farming. President of the Slovenian Beekeepers` Association Boštjan Noč also sees it as a development opportunity for the Slovenian economy and tourism. "I`m sure the realisation of this initiative will help better present Slovenia to the UN Council. We have a great opportunity to show our apiculture practices, which are unique in the world. We should not overlook the facts that bees allow Slovenia to market itself as a "green" country, that the bee could become a recognizable symbol of the "clean and green" Slovenian environment, that Ljubljana is the European Green Capital of 2016 etc. The initiative would also be an opportunity for the production of various themed souvenirs. We could look to the Austrian Mozartkugeln as an example. I ask myself whether we would be able to craft a similar story in Slovenia. My answer is: I`m sure we could! The opportunities are plenty, and it`s up to all of us to prepare and take advantage of them." Together with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia, the Slovenian Beekeepers` Association will host a discussion on the subject: How the Slovenian economy could take advantage of the World Bee Day. The discussion will be led by Jožef Smrkolj, a beekeeper and Chairman of the SBA Economics Committee.

On 20th May, Slovenia marks the birth of Anton Janša (1734–1773), the pioneer of modern beekeeping and one of the best bee experts of his time. He was the world`s first professor of modern beekeeping, personally appointed permanent professor at the then newly established Vienna College of Beekeeping by Empress Maria Theresa.

When in the Upper Carniola, visit the Radovljica Museum of Apiculture. Meet the Carniolan honey bee, or the Grey bee of Carniola, a subspecies which is native to Slovenia. It also lent its name to the first Slovenian poetry almanac. Painted beehive panels are another special feature of the Slovenian Alps and an indispensable part of our cultural heritage. At first, beekeepers fitted them on the hives to be able to tell them apart, but nowadays they mostly serve as decoration. They`re usually painted in simple motifs from everyday life; in the past, the panels often featured images of saints who were believed to protect the bees. Experience something different – choose a honey-coated holiday in Slovenia.

Did you know?

* Bees pollinate over 170,000 plant species.

* Without bees, there wouldn`t be such an abundance of fruits and vegetables or lovely colours in the meadows.

* A bee colony is like a small city. It consists of 30,000 to 60,000 bees.

* The only bee who lays eggs is the queen. She lays up to 2,000 eggs every day.

* The Carniolan honey bee (grey bee of Carniola) is a bee subspecies native to Slovenia and the second most numerous subspecies in the world.

* In 1 minute, a bee`s wings circle 11,400 times, creating the familiar buzzing sound.

* The honey bee is the only bee who dies after it stings.

* To make 1 kilogram of honey, a bee has to visit as many as 4 million flowers and fly the distance equivalent to encircling the world four times.

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