Montreuil sur Mer is situated just a little south along the coastline from Calais. Should you visit this lovely, ancient hill top town, take a walk around the medieval ramparts associated with their Citadel. The uninterrupted elevated circular stroll, embracing stunning countryside, will take about 30 minutes. Look below to observe a 21st century local approach offering a solution to a contemporary world scale danger. Beekeeping and the preservation of insects represent Montreuil’s recent contribution to the fundamental essentials for the continuance of all life forms on our planet.
The expanding existence of beehives and insect cabins in this setting are there due to sponsorship by the town’s local authority. The contribution that these tiny creatures make to the fine balance of nature is essential. In our modern world, their continued and fragile presence is constantly under threat. Few people seem to take notice of these small creatures or appreciate their essential importance. Albert Einstein once said that ‘Without their presence, humanity would last no more than four years’.
The disappearing bees
Bees pollinate more than a third of everything that is eaten. Humans globally consume roughly 400 different types of plant life. More than 85% of them depend on bees and other insects for pollination and their continued reproduction. Most types of fruit, vegetables and nuts depend on the process. So does coffee, tea, rape seed and the cattle fodder that supports other food that we eat and drink. The global economic value of food pollination is estimated to be around 170 billion dollars.
In March 2016, a survey of bees by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature assessed all of the European wild bee species, 1,965 of them. One in ten of these species faces extinction due to modern farming. In 2007, a major collapse of the honeybee population took place in the US due apparently to parasites, viruses, poor nutrition and pesticides but the reasons are still not completely understood. In the US, 40% of all surviving bee colonies are dying out each and every year.
In Britain, in the last 70 years, 97%of wildflower meadows have disappeared due to commercial development. This has resulted in a drastic decline of the pollination of vegetation and the honeybee population of their sustenance. Around the world, some 250 bee species are facing extinction.
There are about 25,000 different bee species across the world and all contribute to the balance of nature and the food chain in their own special way. Modern life climate changes and the agricultural use of chemicals and toxins threaten their existence. Montreuil-sur-Mer is doing its own little bit to publicise the dangers and protect the bee and insect colonies.
Bee hives of Montreuil
The town Administration in Montreuil set aside a solid quantity of communal land for local beekeeper Fabian Lokaj to set up a large number of beehives. You can see them below the town’s high rampart walls providing a protected environment for bees to gather and increase in number.
Along the pathways surrounding Montreuil sur Mer, local officials have set up a number of ‘insect hotels’ to protect insects whose numbers are also fast falling. Visitors will be able to find the ‘four star’ versions scattered along the route. The wooden shelters with their internal, vegetation based corridors provide the perfect environment for insects to survive in and multiply
A great example of investing in the future to make a contribution to nature and man’s well-being in Montreuil-sur-Mer. You can buy Monsieur Lokaj’s honey at the Saturday morning market in the town square…
Bob Lyons is a former airline pilot turned travel writer who loves France.
More on Montreuil-sur-Mer
The fabulous annual summer flea market of Montreuil-sur-Mer
The annual Painter’s Day at Montreuil-sur-Mer – when the town gets painted all colours!
Les Miserables at Montreuil-sur-Mer in the town that inspired Victor Hugo, the townspeople put on a show in his honour each year
The lovely Saturday market at Montreuil-sur-Mer