Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Saving bees: France's thriving city hives offer token help

August 11, 2016 by David Courbet

Beehives in the French countryside are showing a distressing rate of "dead-outs"—deserted honeycombs pointing to dwindling bee populations

Urban rooftops are buzzing across France, but the fad for beekeeping from Montpellier to Lille to Paris—including atop AFP's headquarters—will do little do reverse declining bee populations, experts say.

The northern city of Lille was a pioneer in efforts to defend the bee by providing pesticide-free environments, and it was among the first to sign on to a national public awareness campaign, "Bees, Sentinels of the Environment", back in 2007.

Since then, 80 species of wild bees that had disappeared from the Lille area have returned.
"In terms of diversity, 2015 was a good year," says Lise Daleux, the city's top environmental official, noting that three rare wild bee species were spotted.

Lille's free course on bees at the city's rail station, with its 10 hives, has a two-year waiting list, and in 2008 it became the first French city to appoint a municipal apiculture pointman.
The southern city of Montpellier also caught the buzz early, installing beehives on the roofs of many high schools.

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