ELBA proposes the setting up of a respectful beekeeping while being modern and profitable for the beekeeper.
This “living“ beekeeping makes it possible to obtain hive’s products of a very high quality which will be intended for both food and medicinal use as tradition has always taught us.
History has long validated the health benefits of these products, but current research is increasingly confirming their potential.
The specific objectives of ELBA are:
• Preservation of local subspecies.
• Teaching of apiculture.
• Installation of study and observation apiaries.
• Promotion of apitherapy.
• Protection and development of honey flora.
ELBA carries out these missions through the establishment of:
• Cooperation projects with governments and public bodies.
• Partnerships such as sponsorship or patronage (individual, company, etc.).
History of ELBA
In 1996, Professors Bernard Descottes (1943-2009) and Roch Domerego created the European Association of Apitherapy, fruit of their friendship and collaboration in the U.H.C of Limoges. From 1994 to 1997, Professor Domerego collaborated with Professor Descottes, head of the visceral surgery department and transplantation of U.H.C of Limoges, and his team on the healing power of honey in surgery.
Professor Descottes is a pioneer in the use of honey for the healing of postoperative wounds and pressure sores.
He established and applied during 25 years a protocol for the use of honey on post-traumatic wounds. Professor Descottes’ contribution to apitherapy is invaluable.
Professor Domerego, beekeeper, naturopath, Vice-President of the Apimondia Apitherapy Commission from 1997 to 2011, has been studying the effects of honey products on human health since 1981. Permanent professor of the Faculty of Medicine Calixto Garcia of Havana (Cuba), he taught for 7 years to the students of the Faculty and supervised several clinical studies in the University Hospitals of Cuba.
Since the death of Professor Descottes, the Association has pursued its mission of promoting the virtues of the products of the hive for human health.
The therapeutic efficacy of hive products is strongly linked to an ecological practice of apiculture. The European Association of Apitherapy has been renamed the European Live Beekeeping Association (ELBA) to broaden its field of action. This allows to defend another vision of apiculture. This must be respectful of the bee, its environment, its products, the beekeeper and the consumer.
Biodiversity in beekeeping
A simple law: a unique local bee for a suitable apicultural model.
The ecosystem orders the apiculture model adapted to the local subspecies (90 million years of evolution). It is the biotope of the bee which decides beekeeping techniques applied.
These techniques are determined on the basis of studies on biometrics, cell size, hive size, biorhythms, thermic regulation, environmental chronobiology …
However, no longer respecting the biological needs of subspecies, the so-called conventional apiculture imposes on the beekeepers practices contrary to the life of the colony and the bee. These practices distort the essence of the products of the hive and contribute to the mortality of the colonies by:
– An increase in the stress of bees (sub-insemination, over-harvest, feeding, bee populations too important on a foraging zone…).
– A weakening of the immune system of the bee and the contraction of diseases (dimensions of hives, mixedness of “subspecies” unsuitable …).
– Synthetic treatments, unsuitable materials but also by the remanence of the chemical molecules imposed.
Why is it fundamental to operate according to the laws of nature?
Any project in apiculture that grafts a model and apicultural practices exogenous to the ecosystem is ultimately doomed to failure. It will interfere with local bees and flora and will have negative consequences on both.
The colonies are extremely linked to their biotope, they draw their substance from it and allow it to be perennial.
Experts from AEAV have always taken part in the study of the bee biotope and then put in place the apiculture model corresponding to the specificities of the subspecies.
Since 1980, AEAV experts have studied and worked with the following subspecies:
The bee scutellata in Rwanda.
The bee adansonii in Burkina Faso and Cameroon.
The bee melipona beecheii in Cuba and Mexico.
The different ecotypes of European local subspecies.
ELBA advocates a “living” apiculture that respects the insect, the colony, its biotope and its ecosystem as closely as possible.
The specificity of ELBA is to propose a protocol ensuring the implementation of a complete method that allows a simple and clear teaching of apiculture.
The heart of this protocol:
- Work exclusively with local bee subspecies specific to each ecosystem: total refusal to import subspecies of other countries or even artificial insemination, true rape of the queen.
- Apply apiculture techniques conform to the biology of local subspecies: use of hives proportionate to the size of the subspecies, development of the swarm and then of the colony.These elements are the fundamental principles of a living beekeeping but other principles must be respected:
- Take into account the useful potential of foraging (POF) so as not to saturate the area of bees which could be found in too many.
- Leave sufficient reserves to prevent the bee from suffering during periods of
- Do not transhumance except for short distances to move colonies and distribute them as well as possible.
- Respect the biological rhythm of the bees throughout the annual cycle.
- The non-introduction of foreign waxes to the exploitation.The living apiculture protocol is in addition to the main principles of organic
agriculture and the respect of its specifications. The fundamental elements of which are:
- Quality control of forage areas.
- Exclusive feeding with honey.
- The use of natural materials and biological products during all stages (construction and protection of hives, extraction, packaging, storage of honey).
- Prophylaxis and veterinary care in line with organic certification.
- Compliance with quality standards for hive products and in particular their processing temperature.
The respect of this protocol ensures optimal quality of beehive products both organoleptically (conservation of essential oils) as well as the chemical composition but also in respect of the energies of harmony that the bees infuse into their production. Quality hive products are the first corollary to good health and well-being of bees.
Living beekeeping draws its lessons from the past but is resolutely modern and geared towards a future conscious of the values of each and every link in life and especially of what bees represent. Harmony with nature is not to the detriment of the financial.
Why is living beekeeping profitable despite a significant harvest difference (1/3 less per year on average over 10 years)? Here are the different points:
The selling price of honey to the kilo.
Time devoted to a hive.
The absence of nourishment.
The absence of the cost of transhumance.
The lack of investment in honey farm.
The operating cost differential.
The differential of working hours per kilo of honey harvested without mentioning the quality of the relationship to the bee that has no price.
Reduction of colony losses.
The decrease if not the absence of chemical treatments even those mandatory.
All these end-to-end parameters show that, beyond the harmony that it generates, living beekeeping is not, as some would like to confine it, a beekeeping dreamer but on the contrary a profitable beekeeping.
ELBA regularly organizes training to share our experience and our passion for bees.
Our internships generally take place over 4 days in order to offer the most complete education possible.
Indeed, we offer several types of internships: Live apiculture courses whose approach is to accompany bees in their natural cycle.
These internships are intended to get to know the basics of the operation and needs of the colony to minimize interventions and take only the surplus. Apitherapy courses (reserved only for therapists) to know the bee products, their harvesting method and their therapeutic application.
Mixed courses that combine live apiculture and apitherapy.
UNESCO GEOPARK OF HAUTE-PROVENCE
ELBA partnership with the Geopark of Haute-Provence
United by common values of ecosystem protection and sustainable development, ELBA and the Haute-Provence Geopark have signed a partnership to carry out joint actions on the territories of UNESCO Global Geopark.
ELBA will receive the support and collaboration of UNESCO Global Geopark to act on behalf of:
Protection of native bees and their own ecosystem.
The enhancement of cultural and traditional ties that unite peoples and bees.
The first achievement of this partnership was the Pie Fourcha project (commune of Prads / Le Vernet) where an apiary was set up almost millennium old – located in the heart of the hamlet – and reflecting the evolution of the relationship between the man and the bee.
On the first levels, traditional hives in the trunk and on the others, horizontal hives.
These last ones have an educational role: they are equipped with a pane on all their length which makes it possible to observe the life of the colony, without risk. These hives are exclusively populated by bees of the local subspecies, adapted to their environment and representing a harmonious and therefore successful evolution with their biotope.
These hives respect the reproduction mode of bees by swarming. The colonies are used to produce native swarms that seed nature to find wild bees in its heart. These are sent as true messengers of our conscience as a bridge to the living. This place would become a point of union around a common love for the bee and through it, for Life.
Thus showing that the modern man opens to the necessary and obligatory respect of his environment.
United by common values in terms of ecosystem protection and sustainable development, ELBA and Haute-Provence UNESCO Global Geopark have signed a partnership to carry out actions on UNESCO Global Geopark territories.
ELBA will be supported by UNESCO Global Geopark to act in favor of:
- Protection of native bees and their own ecosystem.
- Emphasizing cultural and traditional ties uniting bees and Native people of the world.
Pie Fourcha project (commune of Prads / Le Vernet)
The first achievement of this partnership was the Pie Fourcha project, in which an almost thousand-year-old apiary was set up – located in the heart of the hamlet – and reflecting the evolution of the relationship between men and bee.
On the first levels, traditional tree trunck beehives and on the others, horizontal behives. These last ones have an educational role: they are equipped with a pane on all their length which makes it possible to observe the life of the colony, without risk.
The purpose of this apiary is to reseed local bees in the area. The hives put in place have as predestination the function of bringing to the natural environment colonies of native bees. These are sent as true messengers of our conscience as a bridge to the living. This place would become a point of union around a common love for the bee andthrough it, for Life.
In the symbol, it is a living museum which shows that modern man, by his change of consciousness, puts himself at the service of nature
Our Provence « Black Bee » conservatory apiary
The conservatory apiary of the ELBA is located in the village of Norante, Alpes-de-Haute- Provence (south of France), a natural setting favored and free of any agrochemical pollution.
The apiary was founded in 2014 and is composed of 18 hives placed in 3 different sites so as not to saturate the foraging areas.
The hives used are horizontal hives, studied to be as closely as possible to the biological needs of the bee. These hives are made of Douglas pine 34 mm thick. They are equipped with a window over their entire length that allows to observe the life of the colony without disturbing them. They are exclusively populated by bees of the local subspecies, the “little Provence black blee”, adapted to their environment and representing a harmonious evolution with their biotope.
Our beekeeping respects the reproduction mode of bees by swarming. The colonies are used to produce native swarms that reseed nature to find wild bees in its heart.
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS
Sustainable development by beekeeping
ELBA proposes the implementation of sustainable development programs by beekeeping with governments and local partners (NGOs, beekeepers’ associations, private companies, etc.).
The proposals are the result of 20 years of experts work from our association and from Apimondia, the International Beekeepers Federation (115 member countries), in education, health and wellness programs through beekeeping and its solutions.
The programs are based on training and adding value support to the countries beekeeping and agroforestry production processes in order to establish standardized natural products production chains.
The overall benefits of this creation of value are achieved through socio-economic integration measures aimed to generate job-creating activities in the area of wellness products, cosmetics and food supplements.
The Rwandese and North-Macedonian projects are examples of projects undertaken by ELBA in this area.