The Life of Bees
Bees play a key role in the cycle of life and health of the environment. 12 beehives, kept by expert beekeeper Cyril Antunes, make their home at Dolce Frégate Provence. We’re pleased to offer our guests the opportunity to learn more about these extraordinary creatures firsthand.
Discover the inner workings of a beehive. A wonderful opportunity to understand how bees live in their hive and produce honey, this activity begins with a lesson on the survival of bees, their importance to our planet, and to our lives. Our beekeeper, Cyril Antunes, will share information about the various bee species and explain honey production. He will then show you the beehive, and you, in a beekeeper’s outfit, will watch him smoke the bees to open the hive.
Workshop lasts approximately 90 minutes.
Welcome and teaching workshop followed by the visit to the Frégate beehives, located on the edge of the golf course
From 2 to 6 guests
Protective clothing provided
Participants must wear long pants (which totally cover the legs), socks, and closed shoes. All clothing must be light colored.
From € 35 per person (rate estimated with a 6-person group)€ 100 for two persons/€ 120 for three persons/€ 150 for four persons/€ 180 for five persons/€ 200 for six persons.
Born in Toulon, Cyril Antunes spent much of his career in the French Navy. After 18 years on navy fighter planes and helicopters, he spent eight years as a commander in the navy pilot training unit at the naval training center in Saint-Mandrier. In 2010, he made the decision to fulfill a personal ambition close to his heart. A nature lover, Cyril wished to do his part to ensure a healthy planet and decided to take up beekeeping. Trained at the CFPPA school in Hyères, he has kept several thousand bees since 2011. He now has 40 hives and is committed to running his business with the utmost respect for the environment, the bees, and the consumer.
Bees & Life
Bees’ role in the natural cycle of life is extremely important. In order to reproduce, most flowers need to have pollen from their stamen deposited on the pistil of another same-species flower. The wind can carry the pollen to the pistil, but to greatly increase the chance of fertilization plants have developed an effective ploy, they produce nectar to attract insects. When the insects dive into the flower to get the nectar they become covered in fertilizing pollen, and carry it from one plant to another. Of the 100 most cultivated food plant species, 71 are pollinated only by bees.
Why Dolce Frégate Provence?
Pierre Sancho, General Manager, feels that one way the resort can do its part to help protect the environment is through beekeeping, hence the installation of 12 beehives. Luckily, our location meets the criteria necessary for both bees and beekeeper.
Good sunshine and good exposure:
Bees love the sun. A south or southeast exposure is ideal, encouraging the bees to forage early in the day. Additionally, a sunny location, especially in the winter when the sun is lower, guarantees a good winter harvest, and an earlier start in the spring.
Good protection against prevailing winds:
Bees don't like the wind because it disrupts their flight and keeps them close to the ground. It also cools the hive’s heart, which must maintain a constant, year-round temperature of 35°C.
Abundant melliferous flora:
Bees can forage within a 3-km radius of their hive to collect necessary nectar and pollen, but the closer and more abundant these resources are, the better. Especially when it comes to producing honey for a beekeeper. The bees need sufficient stock for themselves, and need to produce a surplus for the beekeeper to harvest.
There must be several varieties of flowers available throughout the year in sedentary beekeeping. Intense urbanization and systematic clearing of all roadside areas and wild space (fire prevention, extermination of harmful insects, public space cleaning) makes it difficult to maintain the necessary variety of wildflowers.
Avoid exposure to human-generated pollutants, including insecticides and pesticides:
Toxic products create extreme, sometimes fatal, damage to the colonies. Beyond damage to the bees, cleaner, healthier honey is produced in locations farther away from human pollution.
Optimal conditions for the beekeeper:
Flat ground where it is easy to move and work (working with equipment that limits field of view, loading and unloading the hives at night) is preferable. A vehicle and a trailer that allows turning maneuvers. Additionally, land that can guarantee the safety of the beehives from theft. Ideally an isolated and discreet location, hard-to-reach land, or an area protected by a fenced enclosure.
Good characteristics of the Dolce Frégate Provence location:
Sunshine and exposure: 5/5
Protection against prevailing winds: 4/5
Melliferous flora: 2.5/5 (lack of nectar and pollen needs to be compensated for)
Exposure to pollutants: 3/5 (kept as far as possible from potential risks)
Work of the beekeeper: 5/5