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

Video Analysts: Beijing Parade a 'Bazaar' of Stolen Technology

Show commemorating victory over Japan in World War II involved long, medium and short range missiles, a range of tanks and 200 fighter aircraft More

Bernie Sanders Surge Reflects US Shift on Socialism

Although most analysts say it is unlikely he will get the Democratic nomination, Sanders' campaign opens up questions and issues that are otherwise marginalized More

Video On IS Frontline, Kurdish Fighters Ready for Offensive

Peshmerga soldiers say although they need more heavy artillery, they are poised to take the fight to the Islamic State extremists on their turf 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.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs