The beekeeping tradition in Ljubljana and its outskirts goes back to the time of first prehistoric settlements. Even the name of the village Medno is derived from the word medovit (honey-bearing). A bee and a bee nest are on the oldest door sign in the city at the City Savings Bank (Mestna hranilnica) on Čop Street. As many as 3% of all Slovenian beekeepers with over 4500 beehives are active in the area of the City of Ljubljana. They are organised into four beekeeping societies (Barje, Ljubljana Moste-Polje, Tacen and Ljubljana Center).
Urban beekeeping is now flourishing in Ljubljana with the culture and congress centre Cankarjev dom as a pioneer leading the way. Honey produced in the area of the City of Ljubljana is of very high quality. In addition to beekeepers, the City of Ljubljana also takes care of bees by planting perennials with many honey plants among them.
The Bee Path
The Bee Path was created to include all of the above-mentioned topics and a lot of other content. It was designed in October 2015 and is now uniting already 35 members from educational and cultural institutions, from health-care centres to economic entities and, of course, beekeepers and beekeeping societies. It is not just a path, it is a movement of like‑minded people caring for the well‑being of bees in the city with very diverse activities.
Join the Bee Path
Individuals or companies carrying out diverse activities with which they are contributing to the well-being of bees in the city are invited to join the Bee Path.
Bee Path Aims
The Bee Path has set the following aims:
- expansion and development of beekeeping in the wider area of the City of Ljubljana (education of beekeepers, providing support in developing activities, co-financing of the operation of beekeeping societies),
- development of beekeeping in the urban centre (safety, awareness-raising and education of citizens about beekeeping rules in urban space),
- new tourist products presenting natural and cultural heritage related to beekeeping in the city,
- development of new urban apiaries and bee yards,
- development of pedagogical programmes.
How to apply?
Fill in one of the application forms bellow (for individuals, companies or beekeepers) and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are the activities of Bee Path members?
- There are many possibilities for adding new content. As a Bee Path member, you can develop your own activities which are then included into the joint calendar of all members or you can choose between different options (carrying out an activity, financial support, promotion…) how to get involved in activities of other Bee Path members.
- It is desirable for potential members to take part in regular work meetings – there are up to three meetings per year. At the first one, our work thought the calendar year is set out, the second one is a review of what has been done so far and at the third one, we look back at the path we have walked and take stock.
Most bee-friendly municipality
Within the scope of the Beekeeping Tourism Day, we received the recognition Most Bee-Friendly Municipality 2017.
The beginnings of beekeeping on the outskirts of the present City of Ljubljana probably go back to the time of first settlements. The oldest forts from the bronze era can be found in the eastern part of the present City of Ljubljana at Zid, Janče, Kamplov hrib, Molnik, Zagradišče… Based on the remnants we can say that both livestock farming and agriculture were well developed, and the equipment found among artefacts shows that beekeeping was also established. In the forest long hollow trunks were hung and populated with bee swarms. Interestingly, this type of beekeeping was known in the area of Podlipoglav, Brezje and Besnica up to World War II. Beekeeping was of great importance for Ljubljana as reported in various archival sources. In the Jamski feudal book from 1453, it is documented that Lenart Meminger from Ljubljana collected tithe in the villages of Vižmarje, Stanežiče, Dvor and Medno for everything from lambs and piglets to beehives. The importance of beekeeping in the area under Šmarna Gora is also evident in the name of the village Medno, as it is clear from medieval records that it used to be called Medovno – and if we look closer at the village, it is a place where honey is produced, that is, where beekeepers live.
Beekeepers from the eastern part of the City of Ljubljana sold their honey to honey sellers and candle makers. At the beginning of the 19th-century beekeepers were trading in bulk not only with honey and wax but also in bees. The introduction of cheaper industrially produced white sugar and petroleum, which started forcing out the wax, caused a halt in the development of beekeeping in the first half of the 19th century. As well known, it flourished again in the 20th century. Of special importance for the increase of beekeeping was also the choice of the right bread of bees. Our Carniolan honey bee, as the subspecies Apis mellifica carnica was named, has proven itself as best suited. It is distinguished by its adaptation to our climate, disinclination to swarming, good reproductive cycle, gentleness and diligence, and especially high honey yield. At the end of the 19th-century honey wholesale was very lively on Kongresni Trg (Congress Square) and up to the introduction of the tram tracks in 1901 honey retail was conducted on a street alongside the episcopal church which is still called Medarska ulica (Honeysellers’ Street).
How can you help
Plant a bee-friendly garden.
Flowers help feed bees and other valuable pollinators. Not only will you be helping save the bees by planting bee-friendly plants, but you’ll helping your garden as well. Some tips:
- Avoid hybrid flowers, which may be sterile and have little or no nectar or pollen
- Skip the double flowers, which lack pollen
- Make sure you’ll have blooms for bees year round.
- Plant flowers in patches – bees like to focus on one flower type at a time
- Leave an undisturbed plot for ground-nesting bees
- Visit our bee garden page for more information
Bees Need Trees.
Bees aren’t only just interested in perennials! In fact, did you know that bees get most of their nectar from trees? When a tree blooms, it provides bees with hundreds if not thousands of blossoms to feed from.
Trees are not only a great food source for bees but they are also essential to a bees habitat. Tree leaves and resin provide nesting material for bees, while their natural wood cavities make excellent shelters. With deforestation and development on the rise, you can help bolster bee habitats by caring for trees and joining tree-planting parties in your area.
Create a Bee Bath.
A fun activity that can also help save the bees is creating a bee bath. Fill a shallow bird bath or a small dish or bowl with clean water, and arrange pebbles and stones inside so that they poke out of the water. Bees will land on the stones and pebbles to drink the water as they take a break from foraging and pollinating.
Build homes for native bees.
Did you know that, with the exception of honey bees, most bees are solitary creatures? 70% of bees live underground, while 30% live in holes inside of trees or hollow stems. Since many solitary and bumble bees build their nests in undisturbed land, why not keep an untouched plot of land for them in your garden? “Bee condos” allow solitary bees like mason bees to take up residence and pollinate your garden, and are widely available for sale online. You can also learn how to build your own bee condo and create a better space for solitary bees.
Support your local beekeeper.
You can make a difference by supporting a beekeeper in your area. These keepers work hard to nurture their bees and better the local community for bees and humans alike. The easiest way to do this is to buy locally-made honey and beeswax products. Many beekeepers use products from their hives to create soaps, lotions, and beeswax candles. Plus, local honey is not only delicious- it may be made by bees that visited plants in your own backyard! You can also contact your local beekeeping societies to see what kind of volunteer support or donations they might need.
Sponsor a Hive
If you can’t start your own hive, why not help fund new hive installations? The Honeybee Conservancy is working to install stocked honeybee hives and solitary bee homes in communities across the United States and Canada. By sponsoring a hive, you aren’t only helping to save the bees, but to improve communities across the continent. Beehives provide training and learning opportunities for both young and old, and the bees can help establish a better environment by pollinating plants and creating honey that can be sold for profit. Visit our “Sponsor a Hive” page for more on current Honeybee Conservancy hives and information on how to get started as a sponsor.
Become a Bee Ambassador
You can do your part to save the bees on your own, but just like a colony of honeybees, making real change takes strength in numbers! Educate your friends, family, and community on how to help bees by becoming a bee ambassador. Current bee ambassadors engage others by asking for bee-benefitting donations in lieu of birthday gifts, and selling muffins door to door. Get creative with ways to raise funds and get the buzz out on saving bees!
Contacts: Lukas Dakskobler, Gorazd Trušnovec