Meet our Beekeepers

What are your names?
Our names are Jagor and Vibor. Our father’s name is Boris.

Where do you live?
We live in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia.

How long have you been in the profession?
Ever since we were children, we were around beekeeping, because it was a family business.

How did you learn to be a beekeeper?
We learned from our father, and he learned from his father, our grandfather.

How many bees/hives do you look after?
Currently we look after about 60 bee hives.

How many bees are there in each hive?
The number of bees in the hive can vary from 20 000 to 80 000, depending on the hive size, which we also refer to as the ‘strength’ of the hive.

How long does it take for bees to create Propolis?
Depending on the weather and the geographical conditions, bees can produce propolis for collecting within a few days. This happens during spring and summer.

What does propolis consist of?
Propolis components: resin, oil and wax, pollen, minerals, amino acids, sugars, vitamins, phenol, flavonoids, terpenes, hydrocarbons, and these are only the main components :). Propolis is a very complex bee product because bees make it with plant compounds and elements from their own organism.  

Does it affect the bees when you remove the propolis?
No, propolis is harvested with a propolis trap that is placed on top of the inside of the hive, leaving a little bit of open space that bees close using propolis. It is their building material. Bees are not harmed by this method, it just takes a little bit of their time.

What species of bee do you keep?
We keep a Carniolan honey bee (Apis mellifera carnica, Pollmann) which is native to Croatia. This type of bee can be found in the southern part of the Austrian Alps and in the entire northern Balkan region. 

How are these bees special to Croatia?
Carniolan honey bee is an autochthonous breed in Croatia and is favored among beekeepers because it is extremely gentle in its behavior toward beekeepers. 

What local plants do the bees pollinate?
Apples, plums, cherries and peaches, willow trees in spring, and acacia, white clover, red clover, alfalfa, sunflowers, goldenrod and many more.

How far do bees fly to forage?
Bees have a flight radius of 4 kilometers but that depends on the terrain. It is always better if flower pastures are closer to the hives. 

How do those local plants affect the propolis? Are there special qualities derived from those plants? Can you list the plants and how each one affects the propolis?
Although the propolis obtained and collected from different plants will differ, the biological effects tend to be consistent.

What tools do you use to remove the propolis from the hive?
Propolis is collected on plastic nets placed in the interior of the beehive. In order to remove it easily from these nets, we need to freeze it so it becomes hard.

What do you like most about working with bees?
Keeping bees is a very rewarding job because we get to interact with these amazing creatures on a daily basis. At the same time we are helping both our environment and the community we live in. The bees are crucial for pollination and help us produce various healthy food supplies made from honey, pollen, royal jelly and propolis. Not to mention that the work is done mostly outdoors where we are surrounded by greenery, which is definitely a benefit for nature lovers like us.

Do you get stung often?
We don't get stung often because we try our best to make our bees happy. In fact, most of the time we are not even using any protective equipment at all.  If we do get stung we apply Wonder Bee ointment, of course!