Paris rooftop hives produce less bee's knees honey due to climate change

By Isabelle Martinetti - RFI
Europe Paris rooftop hives produce less bee's knees honey due to climate change

On the rooftop of Pernod Ricard headquarters in Paris, beehives produce high quality honey harvested twice a year. While bees help promote biodiversity in the capital, the chief beekeeper says climate change has led to a drop in the quantity of honey produced.

Mugo, a French group of landscape designers, which manages a hundred or so beehives in Paris, has installed four hives on the rooftop of Pernod Ricard near Saint-Lazare train station in Paris.

The project – that aims to bring nature back into cities to make them "more resilient and green" – is part of Paris City Hall's urban planning (PLU) strategy for agriculture.

Pernod Ricard, the French company best known for its anise-flavoured alcohol and other cocktail drinks, has leant its rooftop area for beekeeping, as well as for farming and agro-ecology.

Flowering cycle disrupted

Bees contribute to the reproduction of more than 80 percent of the world's flowering plants and cultivated species, but they're falling prey to climate change.

"Although it doesn't impact quality, climate change does inevitably impact the quantity," Pablo Tricarri, Mugo's beekeeper, told RFI.

"The spring, for example, has been very difficult this year. Between the cold and the rain, the flowers didn't bloom properly. The rain washed the flowers, so there was no nectar left in them," he says of France's weather systems.

As a result this year's harvest was heavily impacted and production delayed.

"The bees struggle to find sufficient resources, even just to feed themselves, so producing honey is tougher," explains Tricarri.

Beekeeping in cities

For the time being, the passionate beekeeper doesn't have any miracle solutions.

"If there's a real shortage, we'll have to feed the bees so they don't starve," he says.  

Ticarri explains that to minimise the strain on exisiting resources, beekeepers have avoided setting up new hives.

"There are also limits to the resources available in the environment and [...] a significant number of beehives in Paris today – around 2,000," Tricarri adds.

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Started: 02-07-2024 | Ends: 31-10-2024