Carniolan bee (Apis mellifera Carnica) in Slovenia

Janez GREGORI

Janez POKLUKAR

Janez MIHELIČ

Historical review of the development and recognition of the Carniolan bee

The Carniolan baron Emil Rothschütz (1836 -1909; also known as Ravenegg or Rožic) from Podsmreka near Visna Gora, was the first person who informed the world about  this special  type of bee. In an article published in 1857 in the magazine from Eichstedt, called Bienenzeitung and titled "Aus Unterkrain",  ( "From the Lower Carniola" - Gorenjsko) he talked about  a local bee which he called "krainische" , (which means Carniolan). The news arroused great interest on this newly discovered bee inspite of negative opinion of baron Berlepsch, who was in those times the undisputed German authority on beekeeping and one of publishers of the above mentioned magazine. The beekeepers all over Europe started to show great interest for this bee. On first favorable experience they literary bombarded Rothschütz with orders. They were more than satisfied with the bees they had received. Approximately 1863 parish priest Morbitzer from Moravia on the basis of his own experience reminded the Moravian Beekeepers’ Association on the bee from Carniola.                                                   

Dr. Ziwanski from Brno recommended the establishment of a commercial beekeepers center in Podsmreka near Višnja Gora which happened very soon. During the first three years of its existence they distributed some 3000 colonies with queen bees.  The association distributed in total more than 100.000 colonies of bees. The basis for this successful trade was a simple rustic beehive later named "kranjič" (the Carniolan beehive). It was suitable for stacking and transportation.

2 -  Two traditional Carniolan beehives called 'kranji'č with illustrated beehive front boards

Foreign experts became interested in Carniolan bees. In 1879 Pollmann published the booklet "The value of different breeds and their variations according to reputable beekeepers" (Wert der verschiedenen Bienenrasen und deren Varietäten, bestimmt durch Urteile namhafter Bienenzüchter). In this book he talks among other things, about the Carniolan bee and refers to it by the scientific name Apis mellifica carnica and german one Die krainische Biene or Die krainer Biene. Presenting it, he quotes different contemporary experts on bees and their opinion, being almost without exception favourable. He came to the conclusion that baron von Rothschütz supplied the best Carniolans.

Summary ou  Continue page 3