20 May is recognised as 'World Bee Day', testimony to Anton Janša, the individual who is regarded to be 'The Father of Modern Beekeeping Techniques' and one of the pioneers of apiculture (the technical term for beekeeping) on a global scale.
Anton Janša was an artist, a renowned apiarist and a designer — he designed hives as well as the houses to keep them in.
Born in 1734 in present day Slovenia, he came from a long line of beekeepers and published two very significant works in German: one on beekeeping in general and one on swarming.
He had the distinction of being appointed the world's first full-time, Beekeeping Lecturer by the Empress Maria Theresa, and in 1770 he was promoted to the position of Imperial and Royal Beekeeper and kept hives in the Royal Gardens.
His inventive approach and good sense of observation led him to revolutionise the craft of beekeeping by introducing several novelties that had a considerable impact: he invented a new beehive design; perfected techniques for the production of buckwheat honey, defined the role of drones and queen bees and wrote books on apiculture.