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The Carniolan honey bee

Photo: Leon Vidic/Delo

The Carniolan honeybee is an indigenous Slovenian bee variety. Anton Janša was the pioneer of modern beekeeping and the first beekeeping teacher in the Austrian imperial court.

Of all of Slovenia's indigenous, domestic animal species, the one that is most widespread in geographical terms is the Carniolan honey bee.The Carniolan honey bee , also known as the Carniolan Grey or the Kranjica (scientific name: Apis mellifera carnica), is an indigenous bee of the Balkan Peninsula whose home, for historical reasons, is recognised as being in Slovenia. 

We Slovenians are a nation of beekeepers. Our countryman Anton Janša is hailed as a pioneer of modern beekeeping and one of the world's greatest bee experts. An Academytrained painter, he served as the first teacher of beekeeping at the imperial court. He became famous for his lectures, at which he displayed his great and very detailed knowledge of bees. He wrote two important books: A Treatise on the Swarming of Bees (1771) and A Complete Guide to Beekeeping (published posthumously in 1775). After his death, Empress Maria Theresa ordered that all teachers of beekeeping should study these works.

Beekeeping in Slovenia enjoys international recognition, thanks in part to characteristic features such as unique decorated beehive panels  and distinctive traditional hives. As enthusiastic beekeepers, we Slovenians are also working hard to have 20 May proclaimed as  World Bee Day. 

Text by Tanja Glogovčan