In 1997, I spent a six-month sabbatical in the south of France at ADAPI in the city of Aix en Provence, under the leadership of Pascal Jourdan. As part of that activity I produced an article for Bee Biz Magazine (no longer published) on my experiences.
Beekeeping is an ancient activity in France. Even today one can see the history of the craft as an integral part of the landscape. Much later, I also attended the 41st Apimondia conference in Montpellier, France.
During this 1997 sabbatical, I wrote the following series of Letters about French beekeeping.
February 9, 1997. Account of a pollination meeting hosted by INRA, the French equivalent of UDSA at Montfavet, Avignon for the professional pollinators of the Midi-Pyrenées and Mediterranée GRAPP (Groupement des Apiculteurs Pollinisateurs Professionels). Comments on kiwi pollination and honey bee attractants.
February 11, 1997. Account of the annual meeting in Le Mayons of the SAPP (Professional Beekeepers Association of Provence). Discussions of financing, honey labelling, pesticide application, locating colonies in public forests and Varroa treatment now that resistance to fluvalinate has been found in France.
February 22, 1997. Account of a visit to a beekeeper in the départment of Var. Discussion of management methods including Terramycin® treatment and Varroa control, and the labelling of honey in France according to the 1996 Qualitor–Le guide officeil de la qualité agro-alimentaire.
February 24, 1997. Account of visiting apricot groves pollinated by Mr. Claude Ivert, a member of the Midi-Pyrenées and Mediterranée GRAPP (Groupement des Apiculteurs Pollinisateurs Professionels). Also description of strawberry pollination in greenhouses.
February 28, 1997. Account of the Administrative Counsel Meeting of the Honey Bee Unit of f the Centre National d’Etudes Vétérinaires et Alimentaires (CNEVA) at Sophia Antipolis. Discussion of Varroa treatments and analysis of bee products for the market place.
March 3, 1997. Report on pollination recommendations in France, strawberries emphasized. Includes comment from Australia on pollination in greenhouses in that country.
March 8, 1997. Account of a visit by a group of Corsican beekeepers to the French mainland. Beekeeping methods are discussed, as well as descriptions of products for sale.
March 20, 1997. Account of a presentation to the CETA (Centre d’Etudes des Techniques Apicoles) du Var concerning Varroa managemen in the U.S. Includes an outline of concerns in this area about the labelling process in the U.S. and France. Because Varroa has become resistant to fluvalinate treatments, beekeepers in France have no alternatives but to develop their own control methodologies.
March 23, 1997. Account of the 31st Congress of FNOSAD (Federation Nationale des Organisations Sanitaires Apicoles Départmentales), held this year in the Departement of Bouches du Rhone in the village of La Ciotat, March 21-23, 1997. Discussions of alternative Varroa control methods used in Switzerland (formic and oxalic acid) and studies in finding bees that might be resistant or tolerant.
March 31, 1997. Account of a visit to an apiculture consulting group in southwest France. Coments concerning ETS Thomas Fils, one of Europe’s largest beekeeping manufacturers near Orléans.
April 23, 1997. Account of a visit to Spain and the XVI Feria Apícola (Beekeeping Fair) de Castilla La Mancha in Pastrana near Madrid. Discussion of the activities at the event and talks concerning the beekeeping industry in the proposed European Union.
April 24, 1997. Account of a visit to the vessel, Phalène, Le Bateau Abeille that plies the canal between both seas as the honey (Miel du Canal des 2 Mers) sold off the boat proclaims. Discussion of special management needed to move bees effctively in hot weather and plea for other information on transporting bees by water.
April 25, 1997. Account of a visit to see Mr. Steve Taber, just before he leaves France to take up residence in South Carolina. Discussion of French agricultural policy and how it might relate to beekeepers.
May 30, 1997. Account of a visit to the Ile d’Yeu, one of Europe’s unique bee breeding sites. Discussions of stock introduction, queen rearing and predation by insectivorous birds, a continuing problem.
June 2, 1997. Account of a visit to the French Alps to visit beekeepers there. Discussion of mangement techniques and marketing honey and other products in the region.
June 7, 1997. Account of a visit to a large tomato growing facility in southern France. Discussion of biological control and use of bumble bees as pollinators. Analysis of beekeepers possibilities as beekeeping consultants.
July 6, 1997. Account of the general assembly of ADAPI in Aix-en-Provence, France. Discussion of yearly activities and resources used.
July 9, 1997. Account of a visit to the INRA station at Avignon. Discussion of current research topics and key personnel involved in those efforts.
July 15, 1997. Account of a visit to the historical INRA station at Bures-sur-Yvette and recent developments concerning the status of bee research in France.