Thursday, 6 May 2010

Plight of the Bumble bee in the Languedoc

The bumble bee in Languedoc

Albert Einstein once said that if the bee disappeared off the face of the planet, man would only have four years of life left. Honey bees pollinate four fifths of the flowering crops, which in turn provide a third of the human diet. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.
OK, Einstein didn’t actually say that – it’s an urban myth. But there is a very
real world crisis in beekeeping that threatens natural pollination of crops across the world.

To bee or not to bee

In the Aude, Narbonne is world famous for its honey, and in the Hérault there are 2,500 hives. But an average of 300,000 bee colonies have been disappearing every year in France since 1995.
Across large parts of North America and Europe, hives have been struck by a mysterious ailment dubbed Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). The spooky thing is that usually no bodies are found near the deserted hive.
CCD is probably due to a complex web of factors, and nobody knows for sure what’s to blame:
  • Pesticides and industrialised farming
  • A blood-sucking mite called varroa
  • A fungal parasite called Nosema cerenae
  • A lack of variety in the sex life of queen bees
Another threat is the Asian hornet, Vespa velutina, which lurks near hives and captures the poor honey bee in flight and devours it.

"The strange silence of the bees", recent book by Hérault science journalist Vincent Tardieu
These insects with their orange heads and yellow feet probably arrived in France on a boat carrying ceramic goods from China in 2004. Since then they have spread rapidly in southern France and could reach other parts of Europe soon.
Then there’s the weather. While 2006 was a good year for honey production in Ireland,  the last three waterlogged summers have been an absolute disaster.

Honey please don’t go

We normally grow dozens of tomato plants in our garden in Dublin, but despite hundreds of flowers very few of them bore fruit this year.
There were reports earlier this summer in Ireland and Wales of bees starving to death because the relentless wet weather prevented them from foraging. Some official sources say numbers have been cut by up to a third.
Similarly, a survey by the British Beekeepers’ Association found that a third of the UK’s 240,000 honeybee hives were wiped out last year. Digg It! Stumble Delicious Technorati Tweet It! Facebook

Enjoy a romp around the Aude, Languedoc

This Aude Languedoc property site is designed to give extra credibilty to buy property and find property for sale in the Aude, Languedoc as a holiday home or main residence.

There is detailed information on all you need to know about buying property in France and especially in the Aude,Languedoc. This can be found on

If you come to the Aude to buy Property, and need a Gite to stay in, have a look here:

Happy romp!!