A beekeeper (illustration) -

Gilles Varela

  • Meil production is in free fall in the region after a drought-stricken summer. 

  • A climatic phenomenon to which is added anger after the reintroduction of insecticides that kill bees in beet fields. 

  • A government decision that does not pass to the producers. 

There is no longer a season for honey.

Traditionally harvested from April to mid-August, the sweet substance produced by bees from flower nectar is becoming increasingly scarce.

In question, the periods of drought which multiply in recent years to the chagrin of beekeepers.

“If there is no water, there is no nectar, therefore no honey.

But as in addition, it is hot, there is also a scarcity of flowers.

For three years, flower honey has been on the decline.

All of this inevitably impacts the harvest, ”deplores Marc Leroy, beekeeper based in Cagnoncles, near Cambrai (North).

Production that has halved in thirty years

This bee enthusiast has noticed a decrease in honey production in the region for several years.

“Thirty years ago, we easily produced 40 kilos per hive.

Today, if we produce 20 kilos, we are happy ”.

Shorter seasons, frequent droughts, advanced flowering, various climatic phenomena have disrupted and gradually reduced production.

Even if the harvests are more or less important depending on where the hives are located.

“These are one-off phenomena.

For example, if the summer was bad this year, the spring was rather good, ”counterbalances Thomas Devienne, beekeeper based in La Madeleine, near Lille.

Government backpedaling on neonicotinoids

Beyond the necessarily worrying climate, what worries honey producers above all is the back-pedaling carried out in the middle of the summer by the government.

In 2018, France decided to definitively ban neonicotinoids, these bee-killing insecticides.

But on August 5, they were again authorized until 2023 in beet fields in order to fight against the proliferation of aphids causing jaundice.

A derogation that does not pass.

“What is happening is catastrophic.

We had taken an extraordinary step by banning neonicotinoids 100% and now we are taking a step back.

One favors one to destroy the other.

If we put neonicotinoid on the beet plant and then change it to another crop, the earth will be polluted no matter what ”laments Thomas Devienne.

“During the night, the plant pumps water and rejects excess water through the leaves.

As the surplus has passed through the roots and therefore through the polluted area, there will be neonicotinoid in the water too.

The bee will then come to pump this water and will poison itself with it, ”continues the one who is also president of the northern beekeeping health group.

In order to protest against these exemptions, beekeepers could mobilize in the coming weeks.

History to make their anger heard at the end of this murderous summer.


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  • Drought

  • Bees

  • Production

  • Planet

  • Lille

  • Honey