Busy Breton bees – helped by busy Breton bobbies – have produced honey in a police station in Rennes, with hives on the station roof producing 10kg last season.
The bees were the idea of urban beekeeper Pascal Auclert who suggested the commissariat roof was ideal for hives with the courthouse lawns and private gardens nearby.
He persuaded the police it was a good idea – and that there was no danger to the officers – and they tested it last year.
Commander Yannick Trotoux of the Police Nationale PR department said they wanted to show a different side to the officers’ work, more than just men and women on duty.
“It is an approach that is good for both the environment and our department.”
But there were doubts about bees buzzing the busy Hôtel de Police: “Certainly, we were worried about our officers, so we agreed to install only two bee hives to try.”
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In all, the 80,000 bees produced 10 kg of honey and Mr Auclert labelled it ‘Véritable miel de la Police Nationale’.
But he said weather conditions were not good last year and they hoped to install more hives and increase production so the honey can go on public sale.
Urban hives are becoming more common in France with the police HQ at the Ministry of the Interior in Paris having hives on its roof but tests have shown that about 10% of the honey sold in supermarkets is not what it seems.
Checks found cheaper honeys were often a mixture of honey and syrup while 30%-40% of honey sold is from outside France, mostly China.
The best way to be sure of the origin of your honey is to buy from a local producer – at the market – but, otherwise, check the label.
Look for the Miel de France sticker or a label saying 100% Pyrénées or similar but beware ‘miel de montagne’ because that does not mean Pyrénées or Alps but perhaps the Andes.
The average consumer in France eats 600g of honey a year and only one in four does not eat any at all.