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Mikela Untsain, advocate of hyperlocal beekeeping and protector of the black bee

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Spring honey reserves a wave of luminous and gentle aromas. “Ezti Eztia” warns the honey label that this farmer’s daughter has been making since 2002. “It means honey sweetness or very sweet. The production of Mikela Untsain, by the workers of her 250 beehives, is not just about sweet, friendly. It manifests itself in local life.

The first spring honey was extracted and then filtered on Tuesday 14 June


The first spring honey was extracted and then filtered on Tuesday 14 June

Emanuele Ferè

“My maternal aunt had some hives. I wanted to do a life-based activity that was really consistent with the nature around me. “After a red herring as an educator, Mikela Untsain obtained a professional certificate for agricultural operations manager (BPREA) and went on to work on a beekeeping company in Ordiarp, with a queen breeder in Argagnon, then a mission of three months in Uruguay. , to save, with imported queens, a colony devastated by the American plague.

“Smallest possible footprint”

The frames of the hive on which the wax combs are built by the workers.  In the body of the hive, the queen lays eggs and the bees store honey and pollen


The frames of the hive on which the wax combs are built by the workers. In the body of the hive, the queen lays eggs and the bees store honey and pollen

Emanuele Ferè

Back in her neighborhood, Mikela Untsain knows what she wants. “A small farm on a human scale, working locally, without international ambitions, knows the flora, with local bees, sells quality local honey to the people around me” A modest practice, in the means. «An extractor, a pick-up, about thirty swarms and hives will have been enough to start. “Beekeeping is an accessible agricultural activity, it allows you to have the smallest possible footprint on the planet. “

The training room where the Askaindar beekeeper in turn transmits knowledge


The training room where the Askaindar beekeeper in turn transmits knowledge

Emanuele Ferè

Azkaindar’s local approach would not have been complete without the black bee, “Apis mellifera mellifera”, which Mikela Untsain started breeding in 2014. “From the beginning I wanted to work with black bees, but at the time I didn’t want to work with black bees. “It was a network of beekeepers organized around the breed, it’s a somewhat separate profession. The black bee is present from the Pyrenees to Belgium, but it was almost lost. Many beekeepers work with hybrid breeds, for their productivity and kindness,” he explains. . “With the black bee we raise the best queens so that the daughters take over the following year.”

Part of the hives are installed on family lands in the Dorrea district of Ascain


Part of the hives are installed on family lands in the Dorrea district of Ascain

Emanuele Ferè

Black bees adapted to the medium

Mikela Untsain is part of the Erbel association which from Zaldibia, to Guipúzcoa, brings together beekeepers for the genetic improvement of the local dark bee. His DNA is being studied by a specialized center in Bilbao. “Our goal is to act so that the characteristics of the breed (aggressiveness, resistance to diseases, etc.) are sought by beekeepers in order to increase the survival margin of the breed and fight the tendency to introduce foreign breeds” defends the association. “I chose to work with these bees because for millions of years they have adapted perfectly to the environment, this is the basis. “

Mikela Untsain produces honey, royal jelly, propolis and soaps


Mikela Untsain produces honey, royal jelly, propolis and soaps

Emanuele Ferè

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