Slovenian Bees in Tallin and New York

The Carniolan honey bee – the second most widespread bee in the world

Since last June Slovenian bees have lived in the garden of Kadriorg Palace, the residence of the Estonian President in Tallinn, Estonia. President Kersti Kaljulaid set up three beehives in the large garden extending in front of the palace, which have  become home to bees originating from Slovenia and southern Austria.

At the end of August last year honey was extracted at the President’s palace for the first time. The beekeepers got to keep one half of the yield and the other half stayed at the palace. The honey was poured into special jars that were distributed as protocol gifts.

Slovenia will gift a beehive with beehive panels to the UN to mark the first World Bee Day; hopefully some bee colonies from Slovenia will make their home in that very hive. Current US legislation only allows the import of bees from Canada, Australia and New Zealand. There are 25 bee subspecies in the world, but the second most widespread bee, the Carniolan bee, is indigenous to Slovenia and protected as such. It is known for its calm behaviour, which is a positive characteristic in times when urban beekeeping and bee tourism are gaining momentum. Carniolan bees are not bothered by people, which is why many Slovenian beekeepers rarely wear protective gloves and veils.

Slovenian pavilion at the UN.

The resolution passed through the UN’s system very smoothly owing to the Slovenian diplomatic team in New York, which attracted 115 sponsors for the resolution.

Studies conducted by the UN and the International Union for Conservation of Nature show that bee populations and those of other pollinators are declining significantly, which is why they are increasingly endangered. This is due to a number of factors, such as intensive farming, pesticides and pollution. Bees are also exposed to new diseases and pests, while the growing global population is reducing their natural habitat. Climate change is another factor that substantially threatens the survival and development of bees and other pollinators.

A very encouraging response

Stanislava Šmon, a New Yorker from Maribor who works for the UN: “The Slovenian initiative received a very encouraging response. Every day people from all over the world are sending messages congratulating Slovenia for the initiative. It seems that people are increasingly aware of the importance of bees in the production of healthy food. Unfortunately they are more and more threatened in areas with intensive farming."

Text by: Vesna Žarkovič
Source: Sinfo
Photo: Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Archives