A colony of bees next to the Eiffel Tower!
Once upon a time…
Yes, the arrival of bees at the Hotels Paris Rive Gauche group is a sweet story of a encounters. First of all with Michèle and Armand, our happy couple of beekeepers, but also with the BEES. And the story has only just begun…
Corinne Moncelli, owner of the Hôtels Paris Rive Gauche group together with her husband Pascal Moncelli, had the idea of “adopting” a colony of bees after having seen a report about bees and the Paris Opera house. So she contacted the Jardin du Luxembourg Beehive School who gave her the contact details of two Parisian beekeepers: Michèle and Armand, producers of Miel de Paris (Paris honey).
After having visited all the group’s hotels, the only one that was up to the necessary requirements was the Eiffel Park Hotel… a bit of a shame for the others (the rules are mostly about the surroundings, so as to avoid inconveniencing the neighbours).
Then we waited patiently for our swarms to be ready. Some preparatory work was necessary in order to make sure the hotel guests were protected, and above to make sure the bees did not come into contact with the air conditioning motors. It was decided that three hives would be put in place on the roof, with Michèle and Armand looking after their upkeep. Spring was late coming this year, and this held up delivery of our new guests. Finally, they arrived on 17th May, together with their hives. Michèle and Armand went to fetch them at Orly sur Morin, a town in the Seine and Marne area not far from Paris, and called us when they were not far form the hotel so that we would be ready to give a special VIP welcome to our first bees!
Check out the photos:
The hives in the car
A hideaway bee
Everything is ready!
Will the manager of the the Eiffel Park Hôtel become the Queen of the Bees?
The smoke is used to stop the ‘alert’ pheromone, produced by the bees when they feels menaced, from spreading throughout the hive and starting an all-out bee attack!
The first hive
The second hive is put into place by Armand, our bees’ gardian angel
And the third and final hive
Time to put on our protective suits; a bee sting on the face can be very painful
Michèle, our bees’ gardian angel !
Opening the hives
Some of the bees act as scouts and come out to start a sort of ballet in front of the hive, keeping it in view whilst slowly moving further and further away. You can see their abdomens lifted up towards the hive, which gives a pheromone signal meaning “this is our home now!”
Amazingly, despite being surrounded by buzzing bees, we felt completely safe. We had, of course, strictly followed the security guidelines: no perfume (bees hate synthetic fragrances, it makes them aggressive), no standing right in front of the hive, no large sudden movements, no shouting or general noisiness.
The beehives (which will each contain up to 60,000 bees at the height of the season) were installed, and the first supers (racks for honey frames) placed in each. Then we left the bees to get acquainted with their new home. We’ll be back to visit often, and of course we’ll be there for the harvest and bottling of the honey in September. One hive produces an average of 15kg of honey per year, and as we are harvesting just once a year, the honey will be from a range of different flowers (“toute fleur”).
Tomorrow, don’t miss the continuing adventures of our bees. We love them already!