Before them, Éric and Nathalie Mousquez, members at Loubieng (Pyrénées-Atlantiques), took part in a previous training course in March. Why beekeeping? What did they think of their training? With a few months’ hindsight, they agreed to answer our questions.
Why did you choose beekeeping?
Éric Mousquez: I’ve had a personal interest in bees for a long time. You can’t ignore the biodiversity aspect and the importance of pollination. Without bees, there is no life. Nature is our work. If we take care of it, it will take care of us.
Nathalie Mousquez: We also wanted to diversify, but we weren’t sure how. Coming up with ideas and initiatives is part of our everyday work as farmers. Our advisor had already talked to us a bit about beekeeping. Then, when I read the members’ magazine Le Sens de Terre, I called Maïsadour to sign us up.
How did your training go?
N.M. : We started with the distance learning part, on computer, to validate the different modules. The course is very comprehensive and interesting, and helps you realise that beekeeping is a real profession, with technical aspects.
E.M. : The practical part takes place at Maïsadour’s pilot apiary in Benquet. We’re shown how a hive works and how it’s organised. The hours of training and support are adapted to the constraints of our profession, which is a real plus.
What happened after the course?
N.M.: At the end of the course, there was a real collective enthusiasm among the participants to get started.
E.M.: Once we’d made our decision, we ordered the hives. VEGA* Maïsadour pooled the equipment needs of its members and enabled us to get the right equipment. The Co-operative also supplied us with swarms of bees. We continue to keep in touch with other farmers, with whom we really help each other out.
I think that without this training, and the support and mutual assistance that follow, our beekeeping approach would not have succeeded.
How would you sum up your experience?
N.M. : This course has given us the right foundations. You have to take things one step at a time, do things properly and not get overwhelmed.
E.M. : You need a real interest in bees and a real desire to be trained, because it’s an investment after all.
We can’t wait to produce our own honey. We’ve promised it to our friends, so there’s an obligation to keep! We were told: “You’ll see, you’ll get the hang of it“. It’s true: I visit my hives almost every day!