Share a part of the life of our consultants by discovering their hobbies! This month, let's talk about Sebastien SAUVAGERE and his passion for beekeeping.
What is your passion?
I have had a hive for 4 years in Cachan (France), in which live tens of thousands of honeybees (Apis mellifera). Beekeeping is more of a quiet practice than a real passion for me, even though my rural and entomological childhood has contributed to my involvement in this activity.
When and how did you start?
I had never been particularly interested in bees before. I came to have this hobby by chance thanks to meeting someone with this passion! One day with two neighboring friends, we asked ourselves "why not trying? ".
One must not improve without taking the time to know the bees' way of life, without understanding how we humans could interfere with them, without knowing what to do and not to do, or how to do it. And what better way to do that than to turn to experienced beekeepers to have some advice?
We have therefore joined the “Association des Butineurs du Val-de-Bièvre”, which offers private individuals the opportunity to set up a hive in collective beehives in urban areas and provides theoretical and practical training.
What do you like about this activity?
Sometimes, although protected by a bee suit, people unfamiliar with bees feel an irrational fear when you bring them near a hive. On the contrary, their contact inspires me to be calm and serene.
I like to hear their buzzing, the result of an intense, permanent and laborious activity, yet quiet and regular.
I like to think that I am contributing to ensure that this insect, which is essential to the natural environment, to other plant and animal species, can itself survive in it despite the poisons that man spreads in agricultural areas.
And the honey harvest, when possible, is a very pleasant moment.
And in your daily life, how does your passion fit in?
On a daily basis, it's the pleasure of having a spoon of honey in the evening.
But not all year round... the harvest is not systematic, and the stock ends quickly! I would also advise against going on the adventure if your only objective is to fill jars with honey.
Taking care of a single hive does not require daily attention. Apart from surveillance and the few essential seasonal gestures, it is all a question of assessing the degree of freedom that we want to give bees.
They are not "my" bees: they are bees (wild although called domestic), who in exchange for a little honey occupy my hive if they want.
Have you acquired any skills through this activity that you use in your professional life?
When you open the hive, its inhabitants don't necessarily appreciate it (it can be understood) and if you scramble things, you can quickly find yourself with a cloud of furious bees capable of planting a few stings in the tender flesh of passers-by in the surroundings (the hive, although closed, being open to the public space). It's no laughing matter, especially if you run into an allergic person.
To work on a hive, you must define the objectives and stick to it:
The best thing is that it never goes exactly as planned: you always come across something new, because the bees are so surprising. You must be able to improvise, find solutions in the moment... or not. Be able to measure risks quickly and know how to stop the operation if necessary.
Thank you Sebastien!