Tuesday, 19 April 2022

Concern as Medjimurje Bees Dying in Huge Numbers, What's Happening?

April the 19th, 2022 - Medjimurje bees, as well as those living in Podravina and Slavonski Gorje, have been dying en masse and causing great concern as to the reason why.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, millions of dead Medjimurje bees, as well as bees from Podravina and Slavonski Gorje, are a massive cause for worry. For some reason, ten entire bee hives are full of dead inhabitants in the apiary near Prelog alone, where 700,000 bees flew away, presumed dead.

Bees dying in their millions across the Republic of Croatia are making many suspicious, as some farmers are either behind the times and treat their future crops with insecticide without realising the damage they're causing, or simply don't care that they're harming bees at all. Insecticides kill bees in great numbers and there are some farmers who have evidently been living under rocks and who are unaware that if there are no bees, there are no crops to be sold or a living to be made either.

''Bees don't die at home, they go away to die. A bee won't die at home if it can go somewhere else,'' one worried Croatian beekeeper told Dnevnik Nova TV.

Two years ago, 57 million bees were killed, and the culprit was never identified. Although an investigation by the State Inspectorate is currently underway, the exact cause of this is unknown. Nobody knows what went on exactly, and they won't until the situation is properly determined,'' said Nervin Grabant, a concerned beekeeper from Prelog.

"We've seen great damage from the death of Medjimurje bees, which still remained on the agricultural land," said Zdenko Radikovic from Sveti Kriz. “Some farmers are spraying the fields in broad daylight. They should be sprayed two weeks before flowering, but they're late and they just spray them when part of the rapeseed starts to bloom, which is when the bees are present and doing their jobs,'' he added.

Beekeepers have avoided public appearances in order not to lose any customers, but now, with the deaths of millions of Medjimurje bees, they unfortunately have nothing to lose now, as even having honey to sell in the first place is being called into question.

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Saturday, 9 October 2021

Honey Bottling Plant Opens in Vukovar

ZAGREB, 9 Oct, 2021 - The Api Green company opened a honey bottling plant in the eastern town of Vukovar on Saturday, the first such plant to be operating according to the HACCP standard in Vukovar-Srijem County.

The plant was opened in the Vukovar Business Incubator as part of Honey Days.

"Beekeepers will now be able to increase the number of beehives and sign a contract with Api Green on honey delivery. The honey delivered to the bottling plant will be analysed and labelled as honey from Croatian apiaries," the head of the Vukovar 91 beekeepers' association, Ivan Dumenčić, said.

HACCP is a system that helps identify and control food safety risks in the food processing industry.

The plant has a maximum bottling capacity of one tonne per day, and Api Green invested nearly €25,000 in it.

"In order to improve the quality of honey, Api Green will purchase honey from registered beekeepers, check it and put it on the market," the company's CEO Božena Miličević said.

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Thursday, 17 September 2020

OPG Narandja: Croatian Family Honey Business Succeeds in Europe

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Lucija Spiljak writes on the 16th of September, 2020, ten years ago, beekeeper Marijan Narandja, the owner of OPG Narandja, acquired his first 20 or so hives in Veliko Trojstvo near Bjelovar, where he later founded what is now his OPG in which up to two tonnes of honey are produced annually in about 85 bee colonies. He is assisted by his wife Vlasta and his daughter Ela, an "intern beekeeper" who told spoke in more depth about the family business.

''OPG Narandja's dominant product is acacia honey, we also have linden and flower honey, and every year we send samples for analysis to the Central Laboratory for Honey Quality Control and we achieve the highest marks. Acacia was awarded a gold medal for quality, and linden honey got a silver medal in 2017 and in 2018 from the Beekeepers' Association of Bjelovar-Bilogora County. Our Super Honey is also really popular, it's an ‘immunobomb’ of three types of honey, propolis and raw pollen. We also sell honey in honeycomb, propolis, pollen, pure beeswax, and handmade wax figurines,'' stated the young beekeeper.

Markets, fairs, but also Facebook...

The products are sold at the Bjelovar market and in the City of Zagreb, they're also present in Bjelovar's primary school system through the Med programme which takes place in schools and of course on School Honey Day, as well as on several websites for family farms, on Facebook, Instagram and even on LinkedIn. OPG Narandja accepts orders online from Zagreb, and sends larger quantities by bus throughout Croatia.

"We're at fairs several times a year, in Bilogora and Medjimurje. This year we decided to drive our honey down to Dalmatia. Our honey is also present all over Europe thanks to friends who buy it from us - from Markaryd in Sweden where honey is eaten from the honeycomb, through to Munich and Neunburg vorm Wald in Germany - they love linden and flower honey, all the way to Klagenfurt and Ljubljana where classic acacia does best, as does our Super honey,'' they stated from OPG Narandja. This Croatian family company advises people to buy honey from proven Croatian honey producers.

When it comes beekeeping, Ela says, there are large investments, from the constant renewal of the number of bee colonies, the purchase of equipment and new hives, the replacement of queens, the treatment for the bees, preparations for strengthening the bees' immunity, the purchase of national jars, printing labels, down to sending honey away for expert analysis…

Many give up...

Therefore, as Ela explained, people who start beekeeping unfortunately tend to quite quickly give up because they don’t realise it’s not a temporary job or hobby.

"During the season, a beekeeper should be out in the apiary every day, he should be constantly educated, he needs to follow trends, be active in beekeeping associations, be present at fairs, on markets… The challenges are also external - recently there was a case of bee death in Medjimurje because a negligent farmer treated his crops with an agent that harms bees,'' they explained from OPG Narandja, whose family doesn't have such problems, but they do heavily depend on the weather conditions.

If there has been a frost or too much rain occurs in May when it comes to the acacia honey, the amount of honey obtained can drop by more than 50 percent.

''The worst was back in 2019, and the best was in 2018 when we got almost two tonnes of honey. This year is roughly somewhere in between,'' they state from the family business. Although they sell less at the Bjelovar market because the number of customers has decreased, they are doing excellently in Zagreb because people, as they say, have turned more to purchasing Croatian products.

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