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Restoring bee populations in France

Designing a new, natural solution for fighting the varroa parasite

The Air Liquide Foundation is supporting the OFA (Observatoire Français d’Apidologie - French Melittology Observatory), an organization that aims to restore bee populations. The OFA studies bee populations in order to find solutions for fighting the varroa parasite.

Project Identity 

Project initiator: Observatoire Français d’Apidologie Year of support: 2016
Location: Mazaugues, Var, France Sponsor: Mikaël Zafran, Air Liquide France Industries


Curbing the decline of bee populations

According to a report by the IPBES (Plateforme intergouvernementale sur la biodiversité et les services écosystémiques - Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services) published in 2016, certain pollinating species are in decline or even endangered. The decline of bee populations is a threat to biodiversity and agriculture. The OFA's aim is to secure pollination and eliminate the causes of bee mortality. One of the main causes of mortality is the action of the varroa parasite.

5% to 8% of global agriculture is directly dependent on pollination.

Learn more about the Observatoire Français d’Apidologie

Observatoire Français d’Apidologie (in French)

A solution for fighting the varroa parasite

Varroa is a bee acarid that attacks larvae, nymphs and adult bees. However, we have noticed that certain bee colonies have developed a natural defense strategy against this parasite. The OFA therefore wants to study these colonies that defend themselves naturally against varroa. By identifying their genetic characteristics, it will become possible to breed strains of bees that have these characteristics and to generalize varroa resistance in bee populations.

The project's aim is to develop a natural, non-chemical and long-term solution to combat the varroa parasite.


Varroa is a bee acarid that attacks larvae, nymphs and adult bees © Observatoire Français d'Apidologie

The Air Liquide Foundation's contribution

The Air Liquide Foundation is supporting the OFA by financing the acquisition of insemination equipment, an incubator and frames for the beehives.