Slovenia has declared May 20, “World Bee Day” to draw attention to the importance of bees in our ecosystems and agro-ecosystems. Why May 20? May 20 is the date of baptism (his birthday was not recorded) of Anton Janša, a pioneer in beekeeping and author of books about bee biology. He lectured in Austria during the 1700s, and was recognized as the leading authority on bees. Anton Janša specialized in the Carniolan bees and is credited with changing the shape of beehives to rectangular boxes that could be stacked. Anton Janša also recommended placing hive in fields where bees could forage more efficiently rather than located for the convenience of the beekeeper.
Anton Janša started work as an artist, but switched to beekeeping and the study of bees as a career. He used his artistic talents to paint his beehives. Slovenia is known for its “bee hive art”. Traditionally, the boards of the hives were painted as a form of folk art. The practice has mostly discontinued, but some of the boards are preserved in Slovenia museums.