You could almost say that he fell into it when he was a child. Fascinated by the busy lives of bees, he got his first hive, aged 12.
Today, at 19, he manages more than fifty colonies. Mathieu has become more than “just” a beekeeper. As well as producing delicious honey, in the Tarn region, Mathieu also rents out equipment for beekeepers and teaches at his “hive school”, offering beekeeping courses for individuals and businesses. He has also authored a book (the passion of a young bee-keeper) and writes for the beefeed.com blog. Mathieu radiates passion. He is certain that taking care of the bees can change everything. He can't tell us enough that we should let flowers grow. Among other things. And I think we’d better listen to someone who'd have us adopt a swarm of bees.
Bees are the catalyst for biodiversity.
I started very young; I was 12. And I wanted to set up my own hive. It didn’t run in my family or anything, I was just really excited to discover bees, to observe them in my garden. My first objective was not to make honey, but really just be in contact with the bees. It was a child's whim I suppose, which in the end turned into something bigger. Little by little it grew, and today I have around fifty hives.
We're already dependent on them: 80% of pollination is carried out by bees. And without pollination there are no more flowers, fruit or vegetables, even meat isn't safe. It affects every sector, everyone’s food, no matter their diet. Bees are the catalyst for biodiversity. They join the whole ecosystem together. If you take them out of the picture, there is nothing left.
They’re not doing well, unfortunately. On average, over 30% of colonies are lost every year nationwide. The first thing that impacts them is the lack of flowers. Each hive needs more than 21 million flowers per day! It's a number that we struggle to even imagine...
There are also diseases and parasites, such as the hornet and the varroa. And then, of course, us humans, pesticides and other chemical products...
We’re raising awareness. To make sure people are educated. Starting with children in schools. Then with individuals and companies who take part in courses to discover the inner workings of the hive. Then, they share their new knowledge and interest in bees with those around them. New hives are being created, and we are supporting them. Three years ago, we even launched a sponsorship programme for beehives across the entire country with great success.
We launched a sponsorship programme for beehives across the entire country
Fortunately, bees can fly up to 3 km to find flowers- a decent distance. But there is a lack of natural resources in certain places. We are launching flower meadow projects alongside companies that have installed hives, for example, to help our bees and, in turn, biodiversity in general.
Flowers are important in many ways, and especially important for all insect. One piece of advice I would give would be to avoid cutting your lawn too short. This is to let some flowers bloom, even if only clover, daisies or dandelions, it will all help increase biodiversity. And it’s just as nice. It’s a simple first step for anyone who is lucky enough to have a garden!
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