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Bees in Paris


Franco Zecchin

While bees all over the world are dying in hoards, hives are sprouting up all over Paris’s rooftops, balconies, parks and gardens. Fewer pesticides and a wider variety of plants and trees are helping bee colonies thrive here. Jean Paucton has kept bees on the roof of Paris's opera house for about 25 years. The retired opera house accessory artist said that the hives, which overlook the Galeries Lafayette department store in central Paris, are healthier than the ones he keeps in the country. Paucton's city hives produce 450 kilograms of honey a year. He sells little jars of it to the opera house gift shop for about €4, which are resold for €14.50. Paucton, 75, said losses in the countryside can be as much as 50 percent, while the number in the city doesn't even approach 5 percent. Some years, he doesn't lose any in the city, he said. "The harvest is worse and worse in the countryside," he said. "There aren't farmers anymore. There are only agricultural companies and they use pesticides." Bees are thriving in cities because flowers and plants are changed constantly and there aren't pesticides. The success of a three-year-old French program to encourage beekeeping in cities, the largest such project in the world, is sparking hope of a revival among their country cousins. Global agriculture, valued at € 153 billion, or $214 billion, relies on pollination by bees, according to the French National Institute of Agricultural Research, or INRA. As in the United States and in Britain, where bee colonies are dying, about 300,000 to 400,000 French hives have disappeared every year between 1995 and 2007, victims of pesticides, pollution and disease. In Europe, about 84 percent of crop species depend directly on insect pollinators, especially bees, according to a June report co-authored by Bernard Vaissière, the head of research at the INRA. France is Europe's biggest agricultural producer. "There is mounting evidence of pollinator decline all over the world and consequences in many agricultural areas could be significant," the report said. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C03E6D7103BF935A15755C0A9659C8B63 http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/10/01/healthscience/parisbees.php


 

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Paris, Jean Paucton is busy with bees atop the Opera Garnier.

Paris, France - 00/00/2003

 

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Paris, the urban beekeeper Jean Paucton removing frames from the hive atop the Opera Garnier.

Paris, France - 00/00/2003

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Paris, the urban beekeeper Jean Paucton removing frames from the hive atop the Opera Garnier.

Paris, France - 00/00/2003

 

Franco Zecchin / Picturetank ZEF0188157

Paris, the urban beekeeper Jean Paucton removing frames from the hive atop the Opera Garnier.

Paris, France - 00/00/0000

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Paris, the urban beekeeper Jean Paucton smoking the hive atop the Opera Garnier.

Paris, France - 00/00/2003

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Paris, the urban beekeeper Jean Paucton removing frames from the hive atop the Opera Garnier.

Paris, France - 00/00/2003

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Paris. A hive frame on the Opera Garnier roof.

Paris, France - 00/00/2003

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Paris, Jean Paucton is busy with bees atop the Opera Garnier.

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Paris, Jean Paucton is busy with bees atop the Opera Bastille.

Paris, France - 00/00/2003

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Paris, the urban beekeeper Jean Paucton removing frames from the hive atop the Opera Bastille.

Paris, France - 00/00/2003

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Paris, the urban beekeeper Jean Paucton removing frames from the hive atop the Opera Bastille.

Paris, France - 00/00/2003

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Paris, the urban beekeeper Jean Paucton removing frames from the hive atop the Opera Bastille.

Paris, France - 00/00/2003

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Paris, the urban beekeeper Jean Paucton removing frames from the hive atop the Opera Bastille.

Paris, France - 00/00/2003

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