Malči Božnar, Božnar House of Honey, Tosama’s supplier of honey

Carniolan honey bees, native to Slovenia, collect nectar and manna in Slovenian forests and meadows to produce honey of prime quality.

As beekeepers, we can and know how to produce different types of honey that differ from each other in terms of botanical and geographical origin. It is worth tasting their diversity.

In his famous work, Glory of the Duchy of Carniola, Johann Weichard Freiherr von Valvasor described the large quantities of honey that were exported from Carniola in the 17th century. He also mentioned special “bee houses”: beehives made from long planks or hollow tree trunks.

The first evidence of man’s interest in bees are numerous prehistoric paintings on cave walls, especially in the caves of Europe and Africa. When the paintings depicting bees were created, man was robbing beehives and demolishing them. Eventually, they realized that it was possible to get honey without destroying the bees. Even more important was the realization that honey can be collected from the same bee colony again if it is not destroyed.



Right there and then, man evolved from bee hunter to beekeeper. From utter robbing of natural beehives in hollow trees and rock crevices, through forest beekeeping, organised backyard beekeeping had developed. Advanced civilizations of the Mediterranean (Egypt, Greece, Rome) invented the first hives made of mud or clay that enabled collecting honey without harming the bee colony.

According to data available online, 1.6 million tons of honey are produced in the world every year. The 11,000 Slovenian beekeepers harvest an average of 2,000 tons, depends on the harvest of each year of course. But Slovenians consume even more honey, up to 3,000 tons every year, so it needs to be imported. As people are becoming more and more aware of the countless and versatile benefits of honey, Tosama – and consequently everyone aware of honey’s remarkable wound healing properties – is becoming an increasingly larger consumer.




Beekeeping on Slovenian territory began with the arrival of the Slavs. They already settled bees in hollow trees and moved them around the forest. Today, this is considered the beginning of the beekeeping forage. In the 13th century, after the first saw was developed, hives also began to be made from sawn wood. Later, a small wooden beehive called kranjič was developed. It was possible to stack these hives into an apiary and breed bee colonies in them, even to transport them to forage.

And it was probably the possibility of transport that enabled the introduction of the Carniolan honey bee (Apis mellifera carnica) to the world that quickly recognised its good qualities. Apis mellifera carnica is native to Slovenia and has excellent ethnological characteristics that are optimally adapted to a moderate climate with a harsh Alpine and Subalpine influence.

The Carniolan honey bee is distinguished by its calmness, collecting zeal, resistance to diseases, and thriftiness with food. On top of that, it is one of the few purebred indigenous species in the world (Resman, 2005).

Slovenian beekeepers Anton Janša and Peter Pavel Glavar gained worldwide fame. Janša (1734–1773) was the first teacher at the Royal Beekeeping School in Vienna and wrote two books in German: Discussion on Beekeeping (1771) and A Full Guide to Beekeeping (1755). Glavar translated Janša’s second book into Slovenian and founded a beekeeping school. Among other things, he discovered that drones fertilize the queen, that it is necessary to change the hive at least after two years, and that by adapting the environment (transporting hives to a certain area) honey production can be increased and improved.

At Slovenia’s initiative, 20 May was declared World Bee Day by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 2017.

“Where bees are at home” – Exhibition on beekeeping at the Slovene Ethnographic Museum, 2018–2019