News / Science & Technology

Rooftop Bee Hives Create Buzz Above French Parliament

FILE - Detail of bees on their hive on the rooftop of the Tour d'Argent restaurant overlooking the River Seine in Paris, September 24, 2010.
FILE - Detail of bees on their hive on the rooftop of the Tour d'Argent restaurant overlooking the River Seine in Paris, September 24, 2010.
Reuters
The roof of France's National Assembly is ready to buzz with activity after the arrival of three large bee hives this week as part of a project to promote pesticide-free honey.

The bees are expected to be moved in once the weather warms up, should produce up to 150 kg of honey a year and help pollinate flowering plants around the capital at a time of worldwide decline in bee numbers.

The project is part of a new trend across Europe to put bee colonies on city rooftops, taking advantage of the fact that bees adapt well to urban living and can target the many varieties of long-blooming inner-city greenery.

"This is a great symbol for us," Thierry Duroselle, head of the Society of French Beekeepers, talking to Reuters about the new hives perched atop part of the grandiose 18th Century palace on the Seine River that houses the lower house of parliament. "We think it's a nice opportunity to educate people - the public and politicians - on the role of bees."

Despite their reputation for painful stings, bees are vital for human existence. A global decline in their numbers, the reasons for which are baffling scientists, is alarming everyone from farmers to European Union policy makers.

The loss of habitat due to urban expansion, and, in France, an invasion of bee-eating Asian hornets, is adding to a phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder.

More than two-thirds of the 100 crop species that provide 90 percent of the world's food are pollinated by bees, including  fruit, nuts and grains. A 2011 United Nations report estimates the work done by bees and other pollinators to help food crops reproduce is worth 153 billion euros ($196.57 billion) a year.

The EU is still battling to agree on a ban of farm pesticides linked to the decline of honeybees, but studies show the insects adapt well to city living as the plants they encounter there have been treated with fewer chemicals.

While bee colonies adhere to a firmly royalist system, the hives have been painted in the post-revolutionary French flag colors of red, white and blue in a nod to the swarm of lawmakers below in the Fifth Republic's lower house.

Six volunteer beekeepers from among the National Assembly staff will tend the hives, which are nestled together on a raised platform on the roof of a rear palace building.

Despite their enviable Parisian vista, the bees will be packed tightly into their windowless homes, with each of the hives housing up to 50,000 bees in the summer months, a population that will drop to 15,000 in the winter.

Left-wing lawmaker Laurence Dumont said estimated annual honey production should fill around 800 pots a year which would be given to schoolchildren on educational visits or charities.

Sheep are seen in a 2000m² green space owned by the French capital’s archives service as part of an ‘eco-grazing’ experiment with a group of Ouessant sheep in the 19th district in Paris, April 3, 2013.Sheep are seen in a 2000m² green space owned by the French capital’s archives service as part of an ‘eco-grazing’ experiment with a group of Ouessant sheep in the 19th district in Paris, April 3, 2013.
x
Sheep are seen in a 2000m² green space owned by the French capital’s archives service as part of an ‘eco-grazing’ experiment with a group of Ouessant sheep in the 19th district in Paris, April 3, 2013.
Sheep are seen in a 2000m² green space owned by the French capital’s archives service as part of an ‘eco-grazing’ experiment with a group of Ouessant sheep in the 19th district in Paris, April 3, 2013.
The farm ministry is working to revive beekeeping and reduce a dependence on imported honey, and Paris already sports bee hives atop other prestigious buildings including the Garnier Opera and the swanky Tour d'Argent left-bank restaurant.

Meanwhile another species began doing its civic duty in the city this week as four fluffy black sheep were unleashed in a public garden under a new plan to use grazing animals, rather than machines, to trim city lawns.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More