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

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Annual festival showcases the region's harvested agriculture, fine wines and offers opportunities to experience the gentle breeze in a hot air balloon flight

    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.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora