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A Sweet Symphony: Bee Hives and Lavender Fields in Provence

A Sweet Symphony: Bee Hives and Lavender Fields in Provence

If you have ever stepped foot in a lavender field, you know it is an all-senses experience. Pure wonder. You also know that the hum of bees is all-present in these fields.

The endless rows of vibrant lavender fields, their fragrance filling the air, with busy bees darting from flower to flower isn’t just a beautiful sight; it’s a symbiotic relationship that results in one of nature’s most delightful products—lavender honey.

Provence is, of course, renowned for its stunning lavender fields. The combination of the Mediterranean climate and the region’s unique soil conditions creates the perfect environment for growing high-quality lavender. Lavender fields and bee hives are a match made in heaven here. Lavender, with its alluring scent and nectar-rich blooms, attracts bees, providing them with a plentiful food source. In turn, bees play a crucial role in pollinating the lavender plants, ensuring their continued growth and productivity.

Bees are essential pollinators for many plants, including lavender. As bees collect nectar from lavender flowers, pollen sticks to their bodies and is transferred from bloom to bloom. This process not only helps in the reproduction of lavender plants but also enhances the yield and quality of lavender essential oils and honey.

The Process of Making Lavender Honey

    1.    Foraging for Nectar: Bees collect nectar from the lavender flowers. The nectar is stored in their special stomach called the crop.
    2.    Returning to the Hive: Once back at the hive, the nectar is regurgitated and passed from bee to bee, reducing its moisture content and enriching it with enzymes.
    3.    Depositing in the Honeycomb: The processed nectar is then deposited into honeycomb cells. Bees fan the nectar with their wings to further evaporate water, thickening the nectar into honey.
    4.    Sealing the Honey: Once the honey reaches the right consistency, bees seal the honeycomb cells with wax, preserving it for future use.

These bee hives are placed on the border of the large lavender field just outside of the beautiful village of Ménerbes (pictured just above) to facilitate the lavender honey process.

The bees dart in and out of the hives toward the lavender and return heavy-laden. The resulting lavender honey is pure magic.

 Photography and writing by Emilie Johnson. She lives in Provence and can be found on instagram at @emilie_joly_johnson