Story about HONEY

BEEKEEPING ON HONEY ISLAND

Few islands or places in the world are named after honey. Were the ancient sages right when saying ‘nomen est omen’? We started a project to revive old beekeeping traditions to see if the island is worthy of its name – the honey island.

Island Molat derives it's name from word 'adj. mellitus, um, a' which is latin adjective for tasting like honey. During Italian reign, name was Melada, and it finally got it's Croatian variant – Molat.

Sitting in the middle of the naval routes, island Molat was frequently visited since the ancient times.

Latin mellitus, mellitum, mellita is adjective for 'tasting like honey' which lead to Italian name Melada and finally Croatian Molat.

Beekeeping since 14th century

Name of the island is similar to man yother Mediterranean islands like Mljet (in Croatia) or Malta. This may indicate that origins of the name may come from pre-indoeuropean cultures - cultures that both Greeks and Croats met when first arriving to these islands.

Island Molat was first mentioned in the 10th century document written by roman emperor Constantine VII (Porphyrogenitus). Another written document from 1381 talks about honey from island Molat being sold at the Zadar market.

Written document from 1381 states that honey from island Molat has been sold at Zadar market.

Farming and livestock - Goat - 01 | Malik Adventures
Farming and livestock - Goat - 02 | Malik Adventures
Farming and livestock changed the landscape of the island and still survive today in a symbolic form – majority are goats.

This decline in beekeeping may be a result of increased farming and keeping livestock in later centuries, which has decreased bee's living space. But then, a landscape of fields, vineyards and little wild vegetation has seen a big change. As farming and number of people on the island decreased, the share of indigenous plants and forests increased, so that today Molat is completely green – looking more similar to what it was like when ancient travelers first discovered it and possibly gave it it's honey related name.

As farming and number of people on the island decreased, share of indigenous plants increased so that today Molat is completely green – looking more similar to what it was like when ancient travelers first discovered it.

Farming and livestock - Land - 01 | Malik Adventures
Farming and livestock - Land - 02 | Malik Adventures
Self grown medicinal plants: lavender and rosemary

Studies have shown that strip of land from Croatian coast to Bosnia is unique for it's climate and soil which favors growth of medicinal self-grown plants. Molat is in the middle of this area and studies of the islands have shown that soil and climate on the islands show equal variety of nectar producing plants.

Simple, organic bee keeping

The result

We brought a couple of hives on the island. As befits a virgin island with no farming, very basic infrastructure, no big hotels and a tradition for simple Mediterranean life, we have kept things simple with bees too.

Bee’s wellbeing first is one of the main principles of organic beekeeping.

Our aim is to keep bee's life as natural as possible:

Static beekeeping

Rather than migrating the hives from one pasture to another, we keep the bees in one place. This creates much less stress for the bees making them healthier at the expense of having less honey.

Organic and raw product

We use exclusively organic wax (if not derived from the bees), organic treatments for varoa* and nosema* and collect the product that is not processed in any way to make sure all nutrients are intact.

Varietal honey

Our honey is varietal honey that consists all locally grown wild medicinal plants like thyme, lavender, rosemary, heather. Honey is made only from the plants that bees choose to harvest.

Organic and unprocessed honey.

The future

We are entering our second year in the project and it seems that bees have adopted very well. We left most honey to the bees to make sure their communities grow strong for next season when we expect to have our first small harvest.

One of our designer friends was moved by the story and made the label. In the spirit of keeping things simple and remembering the ancient tradition on the island we call the honey Mellitus.

Honey is sold exclusively on Molat Island and if you're passing by and would like to sample it, drop us a line or give us a call.

* Varroa destructor is an external parasitic mite that attacks the honey bees Apis cerana and Apis mellifera. The disease caused by the mites is called varroosis.

* Nosema apis is a microsporidian that invades the intestinal tracts of adult bees and causes nosema disease, also known as nosemosis. Nosema infection is also associated with black queen cell virus. It is normally only a problem when the bees can not leave the hive to eliminate waste (for example, during an extended cold spell in winter or when the hives are enclosed in a wintering barn). When the bees are unable to void (cleansing flights), they can develop dysentery

Subscribe to our quarterly newsletter