Beekeepers' Welcome World Bee Day, Note More Needed to Protect These Vital Pollinators (Interview)

By , 15 May 2018, 10:59 AM Lifestyle
Carniolan honeybee (Apis mellifera carnica) on Hylotelephium 'Herbstfreude' with pollen basket Carniolan honeybee (Apis mellifera carnica) on Hylotelephium 'Herbstfreude' with pollen basket Wikimedia - Frank Mikley Creative, Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

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STA, 14 May 2018 - Slovenia's initiative to have the UN declare 20 May World Bee Day has helped raise awareness of the importance of bees, but a lot more will need to be done to create the conditions for their survival, the Slovenian Beekeepers' Association president Boštjan Noč told the STA in an interview. 

According to Noč, beekeepers are worried when they see farmers mow their meadows before they come to bloom. "We must bring flowers back to meadows. Thus we'll save not only bees, but also bumblebees, butterflies and other pollinators," he said.

He finds it crucial that plants such buckwheat, phacelia and sunflower return to Slovenian fields and that farmers start to rotate crops. "This reduces the use of pesticides and creates a late harvest for bees," he said.

Honey plants should also be planted in urban open spaces, on windows and balconies.

The state is already offering some incentives, such as subsidies for late mowing but more will need to be done to raise people's awareness, Noč said.

It has been proven that bees indirectly bring some EUR 120m to the Slovenian agriculture and nature, while the entire beekeeping sector receives only EUR 1.5m from the state through various programmes a year, he stressed.

He would like the state to support beekeeping with more funds. An average beekeeper - there are some 11,000 in the country - has some 20 bee families (one family has about 60,000 bees in the summer and up to 15,000 in the winter).

This means he has to have 20 beehives, a bee house and beekeeping equipment. All this costs some EUR 15,000.

The state funds the first three beehives and offers free workshops. "Another EUR 300,000 is available a year for equipment, which is absolutely too little."

Noč thinks there should be direct subsidies available for beekeepers, who must provide water to bees in the summer and feed them during the winter.

This is why beekeepers are pushing for bees to be declared an endangered species and World Bee Day is one form of pressure to achieve this.

"By having bees declared endangered, a whole series of measures become accessible ... and both European and state funds are allocated for their protection. The agricultural policy will then also need to be adjusted."

According to Noč, the initiative will be presented to officials in Brussels shortly, including to the European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Carmenu Vella, who will attend a ministerial to mark the first World Bee Day in Slovenia at the weekend.

Noč said the commissioner had informally already expressed his support for the proposal.

"Once the bee is declared endangered, a beekeeper will be eligible for direct subsidies for nurturing bees, which is only fair, as bees are 90% socially and only 10% commercially useful."

Noč is confident that Slovenia as a country with a long tradition in beekeeping could offer know-how to help develop beekeeing also in developing and undeveloped countries.

He also called for more research into the use of bee products for health purposes. Currently, the Beekeepers' Association and the Ljubljana University Medical Centre (UKC) are conducting clinical research into the effects of bee sting on Parkinson's disease.

"The official medicine has finally tapped into this filed. It's a very important thing and a big step forward," Noč said.

He also sees opportunities in apitherapy, apitourism and development of new honey products. He envisages a close cooperation with spas and tourist offices. "Every tourist should leave the country with a honeybee product."

Slovenian bees survived this winter well and there has also been no pesticide-related deaths.

However, because January was unseasonably warm and March cold, bees are unequally developed. There are currently 150,000 to 170,000 bee families in Slovenia.

Slovenian beekeepers meet about 50% of the country's needs for honey. In normal circumstances, 2,000-2,500 tonnes of honey are produced annually. An average Slovenian consumes only two kilogrammes of honey per year.

In the last five years, the annual production has been below the long-term average, mainly due to adverse weather conditions.

"Bees do not cope well with extreme weather conditions such as rapid temperature rise or fall, or storms. These are a major stress for bees. Since there is increasingly a lot of such phenomena every year, nurturing bees is becoming increasingly difficult," Noč said.

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Slovenia Traffic Info

  • The first significant increase in foreign vehicles driving on Slovenian roads before the main summer tourist season is during the Easter holidays.

    We are therefore expecting increased traffic at the end of this week from Austria and Italy in the direction of the border crossings with Croatia and from Italy to Hungary.

    Holidays in certain parts of Europe start on Thursday, 29 March; therefore, we may expect increased traffic from Austria in the direction of Croatia. On Thursday, we also expect heavy freight traffic and long waiting lines at the border crossings with Croatia.
     

    Roads will be heavily burdened on Friday, 30 March. Heavy congestions can be expected on the Lower Carniola motorway at Dobruška vas due to construction works.
     

    Due to the end of the holidays in most European countries, traffic will be significantly increased in the opposite direction on Monday, 2 April, and Tuesday, 3 April. 


    The electronic tolling system is being implemented on 1 April and short road closures are to be expected during the night.

    When and where there will be the most traffic based on data from previous years: info.


    You can view the travel times on certain sections live on the website of the Traffic Information Centre at www.promet.si.

    Limitations for freight traffic

    Please note that limitations for freight traffic in Slovenia also apply on Easter Friday and later on Sunday and Monday. There will be no limitations in Slovenia on Saturday.

    You can view limitations in Slovenia and in neighbouring countries here.

    Expected construction works and road closures


    A2, Ljubljana - Obrežje

    A full road closure is expected in the Dobruška vas - Drnovo section until 21 May, which will be carried out in five stages. Traffic shall run on the other half of the motorway in both directions. Due to the full closure of the section, the Smednik junction will host temporary passage. Due to the closure of junction sections A and B at the Smednik junction (the expected start of the construction works is at the beginning of April), a detour will run on state-owned roads. The Zaloke jug rest area will be closed for the duration of the closure.

    A2, Ljubljana - Karavanke

    From Monday, 16 April to Thursday, 19 April from 8am to 4pm there will be maintenance works in the Karavanke tunnel.
    Traffic will run at intervals with waiting times at each end of the tunnel of up to 30 minutes. The maximum transport width is 3.5m.   à

    A1. Ljubljana - Koper, H4, Vipavska dolina

    As part of adjusting the toll booths for the DarsGo system, there will be a full half hour closure of the Divača - Kozina section on Monday, 2 April between 12am and 1am due to the removal of the signalisation at the CP Videž gantry. There will be a short closure of the Gabrk - Sežana vzhod section on Tuesday, 3 April between 4am and 6am due to the removal of the signalisation at the CP Dane gantry. Traffic will also occasionally be hindered outside the listed dates.

    Within the next phase of a more extensive renovation of the Vipava expressway, the worn roads in certain sections of the Vipava-Ajdovščina and Ajdovščina-Selo expressway in the total length of 7.7km will be renewed in each direction. The contractor will begin the renovation works as soon as the weather allows for it or after the end of the winter service on the motorways and expressways at the latest, most probably in the last third of March.

    A1 Maribor - Ljubljana, A5 Maribor - Lendava

    On the night of 1 April, traffic will be hindered at toll booths on the A1 at CP Vransko, CP Kompolje and CP Pesnica, on the A5 at CP Dragotinci, and on the A4 at CP Prepolje due to the implementation of the new traffic signalisation. CP Vransko will also have a half hour full closure in both directions at around midnight.

    Due to road patching works, traffic will be hindered at CP Vransko on Saturday, 31 March. 

    From Tuesday, 3 April to Saturday, 7 April, road patching works will commence on the A5 motorway at Vučja vas, Murska Sobota.
    On Saturday, 7 April, lines will be painted for the toll booths on the Styria motorway, while road patching works at CP Tepanje will commence on Sunday, 8 April.

    Prevention

    We are already seeing bikers on our roads and numerous national prevention initiatives to increase the safety of bikers are already taking place. The purpose of the initiatives is to make bikers aware of the importance of preparing appropriately at the start of the biker season, of wearing protective gear, of unexpected situations on the roads and of other participants in road traffic. More can be found at the link bikers.

    Speed as a risk factor remains one of the main reasons for traffic accidents and is an important contributor to the severity of consequences and the number of people severely or mortally injured in these accidents. Therefore we urge you to be attentive and to adjust your speed to the conditions on the road!

    Traffic information

    We suggest that you check the status of the roads using:
    - the website www.promet.si,
    - the PIC operator by dialling 1970 (the number is not free of charge) or the responder 080 22 44 (free of charge),
    - the mobile application DarsPromet+,
    - the social media (Twitter @promet_si and www.facebook.com/Vozimo.pametno),
    - the traffic information on radio stations.

    The Traffic Information Centre for Public Roadswishes you a pleasant and prudent drive.

     

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