Honey bee of Carniola

Pastime of beekeeping

The “Carniolan honey bee” originates from Slovenia and is the autochthonous bee of Slovenia. It is known in Slovenian as “kranjska sivka” from the region Kranj in Slovenia (in Latin Carniola region). In 1875 it was given the name Apis mellifera carnica. It is a sub species of the Western honey bee. It is a famous bee in Europe and USA, one of the most popular varieties in the world. Since 1857, over 170,000 queen bees have been set around the world and the export market increases yearly.

Kranjska sivka is prized among beekeepers for several reasons, specially for its ability to defend itself successfully against insect pests while at the same time being gentle in its behavior toward beekeepers. Due to Its characteristics of gentleness, diligence and an excellent sense of orientation, people began to keep beehives close to their homes. In Slovenia beekeeping is a favoured pastime where one in every 250 residents keeps bees. Most beekeepers in Slovenia are hobbyists, forming two hundred bee societies.

The pioneer of modern apiculture was Anton Janša (1734-1773) of Breznica, Slovenia. His two books " Swarming " (1771), and his " Complete Treatise on Apiculture " (1775) were important and are still used today. As an expert in the field he was the first professor of imperial and royal apiculture at the school of Vienna. With news of the gentle nature of the grey bee, it soon spread, initially in Central Europe. The end of the nineteenth century was the beginning of trade in live bees and swarms. Merchants took the bees in wagons to apiarists of Central and Western Europe. 

There are numerous quality honeys: honey of fir, spruce, sweet chestnut, lime, maple and wild cherry, honey liqueurs and wines. Bee products for health and well-being are: pollen, royal jelly, and propolis. Interesting gift products are made from: bees wax and honey: honey cakes, candles, honey in ceramic ware.

To ensure the quality and selection of the bee the Office for the Carnica selection was formed in 1984 in Ljubljana, under the permanent control of the Slovenian Agricultural Minister. Since 1992, all the queen bees have been listed and tested regularly in selected hives.

Photo album: Anton Janša

Further reading:
Anton Janša, Slovene apiarist

Learning activities

1. Write a profile of the bee
Text-type: profile (profil)
Linguistic element: proper noun
Write a profile of its origin and appearance

2. Write a description of the beehive
Text-type: description, list, diagram (opis, seznam, shema)
Linguistic element: noun, adjective - agreement
List parts of beehive, and label diagrams of a beehive

3. Design a brochure
Text-type: brochure, description (brošura, opis)
Linguistic element: noun, adjective
Write a brochure on benefits of honey

4. Conduct an interview
Text-type: interview (intervju)
Linguistic element: adjective, complex sentences
Script a web interview with a member of the Association about bee products

5. Write a tour program
Text-type: tour program (potni program)
Linguistic element: compound sentences
Write a program of a visit to Beekeeping Museum of Radovljica

6. Write an article
Text-type: article (članek)
Linguistic element: compound sentences
Write article on contribution of the pioneer of apiculture, Anton Janša



In Slovenian

Čebelarstvo v Sloveniji
Čebelarstvo Augustin
Čebelarstvo Božnar
Slovenski čebelarji
Družinsko Čebelarstvo Plut

In English

Carniolan Bee
Slovenian Beekeepers' Association

Cevc, Dr. E., Grilšak, I, Pripovedi s panjev, Muzej radovljiske občine Čebelarski muzej, Radovlica, 1992
Dermastia, A, ed. Et al., Enciklopedia Slovenije 2 Ce-Ed, Mladinska Knjiga, Ljubljana, 1988
Grilšak, I, Pripovedi s panjev-2.del, Muzej radovljiske občine Čebelarski muzej, Radovljica, 1995

Updated: 10 January 2011

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