One in 200 Slovenians is a beekeeper, and they’re fighting the decline of bees worldwide with an unprecedented programme – to make Ljubljana the world’s most bee-friendly capital
by Luka Dakskobler in Ljubljana
A storm is coming over the green hills that surround Ljubljana and it is making the bees anxious. Normally, urban beekeeper Gorazd Trušnovec would call it a day when the weather starts to turn. Instead, he is up a ladder, 12 metres (40 feet) above a city road, facing a squirming mass of bees in a tree top. He will have to shake them, together with the runaway queen bee, into a bucket.
Trušnovec is part of the Slovenian capital’s rapid bee response unit. He and six others are on call, ready to be dispatched through the emergency number 112 if a swarm escapes from an apiary. This can happen in big, thriving colonies when a queen bee, along with a team of workers, decides to strike out on her own.
“Two years ago, the situation was critical. Up to five swarms a day were physically impossible for us to collect, so the city organised a response team,” Trušnovec says.