From time to time, beekeepers from our community reach out to us and share their stories. We love that we get to talk to amazing people from all over the world and that you trust us with details from your life. We are honored!
Today, we meet Srdjan Dangubic. He lives in a small town, Ljubinje, from Bosnia and Herzegovina and he is an organic beekeeper.
He started beekeeping in 2014, 2 years after seeing a video on Facebook about a bee swarm that developed in a top bar hive. This video must have left a strong impression, because soon after seeing it he began learning and educating himself about bees and beekeeping. In 2014, he bought his first 6 beehives, got a 7th one as a gift, and never looked back.
Apiary Book: What do you love most about beekeeping?
Srdjan: Beekeeping is all about being close to the bees and working in the apiary, outside. Since I love spending time in nature, I also enjoy every minute that I spend together with my bees. They are so fascinating and interesting!
Apiary Book: What advice would you give to beekeepers who are just beginning their journeys?
Srdjan: My advice to them is quite practical: they should start with a minimum of 3 hives, but no more than 6 bee hives. Ideally, they would have swarms caught during spring or summer, this way they can see the whole cycle of bee colony development. It is very important that the hives are not opened or checked constantly, but only once a week, maybe on Sunday.
Apiary Book: In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges of being a beekeeper? Srdjan: Beekeeping is a very expensive hobby to have. So, if you are not prepared to make consistent investments from time to time, perhaps you would be better off choosing a different hobby.
Apiary Book: What are your beekeeping plans for the future?
Srdjan: My plan is to become a commercial beekeeper in 5 years-time. The whole process takes a long time, but I hope that little by little I will get there. Right now, I have 19 bee hives and by next year I want to add 15 new hives.
Apiary Book: How did you find out about Apiary Book? Srdjan: I found it on Google Play Store and downloaded it to see how it can help me.
Apiary Book: What is your opinion about the app?
Srdjan: I started using it because I wanted to select queen bees and I think it helped with determining the strength and health of the honeybee colonies. In this area where I live, beekeepers are mostly older and are not tech savvy, but I will still try to recommend them Apiary Book. I hope that they will start using it and see how it can improve their beekeeping efforts.
Apiary Book: Tell us about what it means to be an organic beekeeper.
Srdjan: To start with, I don't use any chemicals, except for formic acid and oxalic acid to keep Varroa mites under control. Also, my apiaries are very far from any industrial areas. In my country there is a small number of factories, so the closest one to my hives is 200 km or more away. This means no pollution and healthier bees.
Beekeeping in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina has a long tradition of beekeeping and amazing beekeepers whose work stands out. Natural resources of Bosnia and Herzegovina are characterized by unpolluted agricultural holdings, a large number of sources of clean water, diversity of flora species and favorable climatic conditions. On the other hand, although BiH is rich in natural resources, rural areas in BiH are several times poorer than urban areas. About half of the rural population mostly survives thanks to agricultural and farming production.
Diversity of climate and vegetation, clean environment and tradition in beekeeping are good preconditions for the production of high-quality honey in BiH. The main beekeeping products are honey, beeswax, royal jelly, pollen, and bee venom.
There are several varieties of honey produced in BiH, depending on the geographic region. Bosnia, with its continental climate and mountainous terrain, enables the production of several high-value types of mono-floral (chestnut blossom, acacia), forest and meadow honey; Herzegovina, on the other hand, with its Mediterranean climate, is ideal for the production of other types of honey such as heather/winter savory, sage, Jerusalem thorn, Dalmatian laburnum and poly-floral honey derived from the nectar of many types of Mediterranean herbs. In addition to this diversity of climate, BiH honey production also benefits from low population density and large parts of the country without significant industry, enabling the production of premium, natural honey.
The beekeeping sector of Bosnia and Herzegovina is a component of organic farming that comprises almost 1 percent of the total agricultural production. According to a Bosnia and Herzegovina statistics agency, there are almost 350,000 bee colonies in the country which produce around 2500 – 3000 tons of honey per year. Total honey production in BiH cannot cover the needs of the local market.