Ma Ruche en Ville is the first urban beekeeping practical guide, richly illustrated by Eric Tourneret. The first part let you discover the key points needed to get into urban bee farming. You then enter in “practice”, each step is illustrated by images. The book is accompanied by free-videos produced by Eric Tourneret available at www.ma-ruche-en-ville.fr and Facebook.
More and more, people are talking about the bee and its possible extinction. It is true that Man is harming all these insects, through factors as diverse as insecticides, monoculture and herbicides, as well as deforestation and all the predations we commit on the natural environment.
After having worked for three years in France on the bee nation, I wanted to bear witness to the relation between Man and bees in all stages of its evolution, from the most archaic practices to the industrial exploitation of bees. To carry out this project, I traveled throughout the world to dive into its history and testify to the changes in the methods of beekeeping and harvesting honey.
I wanted to speak out about this very old relationship, which leads us back to the source of our vital link to nature, when Man harvested the honey from wild bees.
Honey, highly regarded in religious traditions, was – and remains for many – the main medicine for man and beast. Imperishable, it was also one of the first traded and sold commodities. And we should not forget its festive role, when the fermented nectar transforms into mead.
Bee colonies cause me to wonder about the choices made in our societies. In observing them, we discover a world of sharing and economy that could serve as an example to mankind, called upon today to confront major challenges. And to solve a complex equation: living on a planet with limited resources, faced with ecological and climatic problems and a constantly growing population.
The scope of the problem brings into question the present economic model. By taking the example of the bees, I want even more to speak out about durable management and sharing. A colony, in the case of a food shortage, will share the slightest drop of honey, even if that leads them to the brink of extinction. The individual or the community? It’s society’s choice. Will Man be able to share the Earth’s free resources and get the most out of them, or will the extravagance of some lead to the destruction of humanity?
To finish on a positive note, I hope that this book will contribute to the preservation of the Apis species, and that you, dear reader, will be touched by the extraordinary vivacity of this animal world. And maybe, you will take the plunge and install a few hives at the bottom of your garden.
As a young New York beekeeper recently confided to me, “I love coming to watch my hives after a day’s work. For me, it’s a sort of meditation: I forget my problems, I forget myself a bit, to feel myself connected to something greater, somehow to the mystery of life.”
the images of honey bees on your book are wonderful. The most engaging image for me is that of the colony entrance. The view from inside of the colony looking outwards at the bees that are returning from foraging is spectacular and is just the way it is - organized and efficient yet a trifle chaotic. We think of bees flying straight, and they do, but they also wobble. I'm reminded of images of damaged planes returning to an aircraft carrier.
Dr. Chip Taylor
Monarch Watch Director
Dr. Taylor is currently a professor of entomology at the University of Kansas