The bees transported each year in Provence in France


Each year in Provence, the beginning of summer is marked by the flowering of lavender fields, to the delight of tourists but especially for bees coming from afar to gather this sacred flower.

Beekeeper Jérôme Payen, based in the Alpes-Maritimes for 19 years, practices the transhumance of bees, which consists of transporting beehives to the Valensole plateau, renowned for its lavender fields that stretch as far as the eye can see.

Among his 150 beehives, Jérôme selects the lucky ones who will make the long journey to the pollen paradise. Equipped with a smoker full of dry herbs, Jérôme seduces the bees so that he can open each hive without disturbing them, then chooses the hives in which the bees are the most numerous and strongest – this year, 30 were selected.

Payen (r) and a colleague Axel, check and select the hives before the summer transhumance in Gourdon (EPA)

Equipment used during the process (EPA)

Take a break in the middle of spectacular views (EPA)

Two days later, at nightfall, when the bees have all returned to their hives, transhumance begins. Illuminated only by a red bulb – red being a color that bees cannot see – Jérôme loads the hives onto his truck away from darkness. Now begins a race against the clock to unload the hives 150km away near the village of Puimoisson located on the Valensole plateau before sunrise.

Illuminated only by a red bulb, the lucky ones begin their journey (EPA)

Payen unloads the hives from his truck (EPA) in a red light

Beekeeper prepares smoker filled with dried herbs (EPA)

The first rays of sunshine announce the start of a busy day for the bees buzzing between the hives and the lavender flowers.

For Jérôme, this is the mission accomplished. He can now hit the road and come back at the end of summer to harvest lavender honey labeled Flowers of Provence.

A bee collects pollen (EPA)

The lavender field on the Valensole plateau (EPA)



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