A French beekeeper who cooperates with local winemakers is optimistic about a “change of mentality” as he educates pupils about the efforts of pollinators.
Jean-Pierre Torrentelle was introduced to apiculture by his late father. Today, he manages 115 hives in the region around the small town of Cruzy near Beziers, southern France.
The owner of La Miellerie de l’Abeiau told the local newspaper Midi Libre: “I’m informing schoolchildren about the capabilities of these fascinating insects, just like my dad once told me. I’m hopeful about the development of a different mentality.”
Jean-Pierre is offering outdoor lectures to anyone interested to convey his principles.
He said: “I’m inviting everyone to join me as I check on my hives. This way, I might be able to emphasise the importance of protecting bees. They play an essential role in nature.”
Reflecting on the past harvesting season, the beekeeper told Midi Libre: “I lost four out of 10 colonies due to the drought, several Asian hornet assaults and the application of insecticides.”
Jean-Pierre – whose online shop features honey, propolis and cosmetics – also teamed up with two local organic viticulture businesses.
He explained: “I’ve installed some hives on their premises. Thanks to the flowers between the vines, my bees are foraging. This way, they are improving the pollination there. Eventually, the local ecosystem benefits.”
France is one of Europe’s leading providers of honey.
Around 1.8 million beehives can be found all over the country. This figure helped France to fifth place in the European Commission’s 2021 survey
Only apiarists in Spain, Romania, Greece and Poland produce more honey than their French counterparts.