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A memorial to the Carniolan honeybee unveiled in Višnja Gora

Višnja Gora, 18 May 2018 – At the Višnja Gora town square, a memorial to the Carniolan honeybee was unveiled tonight by the Beekeepers’ Association of Slovenia and the Municipality of Ivančna Gorica as part of the first observance of World Bee Day. The interactive sculpture was made by designer Robert Kuhar, and in the years to come the birthplace of the Carniolan honeybee also plans to open a museum dedicated to this bee.

The ceremony was attended by the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food, Dejan Židan, among others, who commented: “Bee-keeping has had a long tradition in Slovenia and it is one of the rare branches of agriculture in which we can consider ourselves as a major force. Slovenians are well-aware of the significance of bees and the urgency of taking action in order to conserve them. We have also proved this by taking measures to protect our indigenous Carniolan honeybee, which is the second most widespread bee sub-species in the world.” 
The Minister stressed that Slovenia was the first country in the European Union to protect its indigenous bee by law, and in 2011, three years before the EU, it prohibited the use of neonicotinoids. A bee breeding programme and a resolution on the protection of the Carniolan honeybee have also been adopted, and a Slovenian bee-keeping excellence programme is currently being prepared, which will set the standards and guidelines for bee-keepers.  


“Today, the Carniolan honeybee is a part of the Slovenian national identity, and Višnja Gora holds a special place in the history of Slovenian bee-keeping. By erecting a memorial, the Municipality of Ivančna Gorica have paid tribute to our bee, and I am convinced that the project will significantly contribute to the raising of the awareness of the general public concerning the importance of bees.” 


According to Dr Peter Kozmus, the Professional Manager of the Carniolan Honeybee Breeding Programme at the Slovenian Beekeepers’ Association and the President of the Bee-Keeping Council of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food, bee-keepers hold the Carniolan honeybee in very high regard. “The Slovenian Carniolan honeybee is known for its diligence, longevity, a modest consumption of its winter food stock, and an excellent sense of orientation. Bee-keepers around the world particularly appreciate it due to its docility, as it is considered to be one of the most peaceful bee species.” In the second half of the 19th century, bee-keepers from Višnja Gora took the Carniolan honeybee into the world, and today their work is mainly continued by queen bee breeders. “Within our Carniolan honeybee breeding programme, which was launched in 2004, we breed around 40,000 queen bees, which are sold in Slovenia and around the world.”

 

According to the Mayor of Ivančna Gorica, Dušan Strnad, in Višnja Gora, which is celebrating its 540th anniversary of gaining its town privileges this year, this project is intended to revitalise the old town centre. In cooperation with the Slovenian Beekeeper’s Association, a Carniolan honeybee apiary has already been installed, which will be taken care of by two local bee-keepers, and a local school plans to open a Carniolan Honeybee House in the next two years. In addition to an interactive museum, this House will also have a Tourist Information Centre, a café, exhibition space, and a hostel. 


In the 19th century, the Rothschütz bee-keeping family was actively involved in bee-keeping in Podsmreka Castle near Višnja Gora. One of the most important members of this family was Emil Rothschütz, a bee trader and one of the most prominent European bee-keeping experts of his time. His work substantially contributed to the naming, prevalence, recognisability, and reputation of the Carniolan honeybee in the world. 


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