And now you ask in your heart: "How shall we distinguish that which is good in pleasure from that which is not good?"
Go to your fields and your gardens, and you shall learn that it is the pleasure of the bee to gather honey of the flower - But it is also the pleasure of the flower to yield its honey to the bee. For to the bee a flower is a fountain of life, and to the flower a bee is a messenger of love, and to both, bee and flower, the giving and the receiving of pleasure is a need and an ecstasy.
by Kahlil Gibrain: The Prophet
Kar so pri čebelah piki, to so pri ljudeh - jeziki.
Čebela ne pogine ampak umre.
Zakonska zveza, je z medom namazan križ: med se poliže brž, a križ ostane.
Dedicated in Gratitude to Valentin Lenko for giving names and contact numbers for most of the Slovenian beekeepers in Victoria and sharing his knowledge. Thank you as well to Jožica Gerden, Anica Markič, Martha Magajna and Anton Resnik.
SLOVENIAN BEEKEEPERS IN AUSTRALIA
Slovenians are enthusiastic beekeepers. Migrating to Australia, they brought with them their enthusiasm, passion, respect and love for the little insects that are so revered in their native Slovenia.
Along rivers, coasts, forests, desert and mountains of Australian landscape, over 890 species of the Eucalypts, flowering bushes, field flowers and the home garden all offer different pastures for bees.
Unlike Australian beehives, which are usually painted in basic colours, Slovenian beehives are constructed in such a fashion that a large number of hives are housed together. Hives are stacked on top of each other - two tiers in winter and four tears at other times. Sometimes the hives are kept on a vehicle for ease of transportation. The individual hives are brightly decorated with images that tell the stories of their life, their culture, history and tradition fables.
The Slovenian beekeepers in Australia do not build “Čebelnjaki” – the little beehive construction housing a large number of hives on their properties as it was in Slovenia.
The beehives are stacked on top of each other – sometimes 2 (in winter) and other times four lined up next to each other. Most of the Slovenian beekeepers in Australia show the same affection and caring for their hobby of keeping bees as those in Slovenia. In private city gardens Councils permit two beehives to be kept on the property, as the bees feed on garden flowers, flowering herbs and field flowers; sometimes the neighbouring trees.
At times hives are transported many kilometres to pastures where there is an abundant variety of flowering plants can be easily accessed.
Industrious bees collect nectar and pollen from different varieties of flowers, which give honey its distinctive flavour and colour.
The excellent sense of smell of scout bees enables them to distinguish between different types of perfume and are able to relay to the other worker bees which flower to source.
The bee can also distinguish colours in the blue/green end of the spectrum and their innate sense of timing enables them to determine the best time of the day to harvest when at the height of their flowering season and when to return to the hive. Once back in the hive they continue to manufacture the honey into the night.
Due to the great diversity of floral sources available for honey making, Australia has the widest range of flavours and colours of honey than any other country.
Honeybees are essential for pollination, as yield and quality of crop is significantly increased.
Honeybees “coming” to Australia
Once the colonists settled in Australia many of the comforts and treats of home were introduced into the new land including flora and fauna. As honeybees are not native to Australia there were brought across in 1820’s aboard the ship Isabella. As they adapted successfully to new environment other bee species were introduced from Italy, Slovenia and North America.
Some Australian types of honey:
Blends of golden liquid honey if available from plain yellow to deep rich amber, jellied, creamed and candied honey.
Slovenian beekeepers care for their bees and extract quite large amounts of various types of honey, among them the most loved:
- Blue gum – light amber, choice forest honey from the south.
- Karri – amber honey from the forests of Western Australia.
- Jarrah – Western Australia, the majestic trees can grow more than 400 years and cloak themselves in cream blossom every spring.
- Acorn Banksia found only in Western Australia. It only grows in sandy soil and is usually the dominant plant found in low woodland and scrubland.
- Applebox is a medium to large sized tree and the honey produced by bees feeding on the small white flowers of the tree is of high quality
- Leatherwood – unique honey from the west coast of Tasmania, quick to candy and extra light in colour.
- Lucerne – mild-tasting honey – QLD and NSW
- Yellow box – pale and sweet, aromatic honey from New South Wales, Victoria and Oueensland, a highly concentrated source of many essential nutrients, including large amounts of carbohydrates (sugars), some minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, B-complex vitamins and vitamins C, D and E. It is a healthy natural alternative to processed sugars and artificial sweeteners, Glycemic Index (GI) of 31-39.
- Yapunyah. QLD, growing on the flood plains in the "Channel Country" of Western Queensland. The Yapunyah tree flowers from early April till late October and is a major producer of honey through the winter months.
- Stringy bark – strong flavoured, medium amber honey from the Great Dividing Range.
- Ti-tree – very strong flavoured honey used mainly in manufacturing, from the north and south, with creamy white flowers.
- White clover – extra white honey that candies smoothly.
- White Mallee, light to medium amber colour honey (semiarid areas of Australia, considered one of major Australian vegetation groups)
- Manna Gum, amber in colour, not very dense, and candies rather readily
- Red Gum, a popular Australian honey with a rich golden colour, a savoury flavour and aroma mainly produced from the Heathcote region along the McIvor creek from the single eucalyptus floral variety. The honey is cold extracted and claimed to have a low Glycemic Index (very important for the diabetics) - (GI) of 46.
- Floral – gentle flavoured, light in colour
- Australian Manuka – Active Australian Manuka honey with an NPA rating of 10+ or higher can help heal cuts, wounds, minor burns and abrasions. It is associated with the control of fungal infections, eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis and inflammation. It stimulates tissue regeneration and reduces scarring. And as a cosmetic it smooths, softens and makes your skin glow.
- Iron Bark Honey is a mild and distinct honey from the blossoms of the Ironbark tree. These trees are uniquely Australian and are found throughout Eastern Australia.
Draga Gelt, edited by Lili Eggleston-Tomažič
Robert Owen: The Australian Beekeeping Manual, 2015
James E. Tew: Wishom for Beekeepers, 2013
Cliff Van Eaton: Manuka -The biography of an Extraordinary Honey, 2014
Beekeeping in Slovenia
Anton Janša - THE MASTER BEEKEEPER WHO CONQUERED THE COURT IN VIENNA
For enlargement click on the image
Especially for the International Day of Bee
Children and Bees