Paris rooftops abuzz with beekeeping
On storied rooftops and public gardens in the urban jungle of Paris, the bee business is thriving.
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Domesticated bee populations worldwide have dropped significantly since the late 1940s. The causes have been mostly loss of habitat, disease, fungi and invading parasites, says a 2007 study by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.Skip to next paragraph
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And lately the world has been hit by a new crisis, called colony collapse disorder. In 2007-2008, it caused the loss of 35 percent of U.S. bees.
Wild bee populations have also plunged, with disease and loss of habitat being blamed. Last year, 30 percent of Europe's 13.6 million beehives died, according to statistics from Apimondia, an international beekeeping body.
It's not just about honey. The US Agriculture Department estimates a third of our diet comes from sources pollinated by insects, primarily bees. The French beekeepers' union reckons 65 percent of agricultural plants worldwide risk not getting pollinated. The US has had to import huge numbers of bees from Australia to pollinate apple orchards and berry fields.
In the Luxembourg Gardens, beekeeping has been going on since 1856. Today, for around €160 ($230), Parisians can spend several months learning about and participating in beekeeping and honey-extraction.
Volunteer instructor Dominique Castel, has been giving all his free time to beekeeping at the gardens since retiring from his aviation industry job 12 years ago. Asked if he gets stung often, he shrugged and said: "You get used to it."
– AP Science Writer Seth Borenstein contributed to this report from Washington, D.C.
Editor’s note: If you’d like to read more about urban beekeeping, check out this Monitor article.
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