New Caledonia is an archipelago located east of Australia and north of New Zealand in the Pacific Ocean, about 17,000 kilometers from the Metropolis.
The main island or "Grande Terre", 400 km long and 50 km wide, with an area of 16,350 km², is crossed in its entire length by a mountain range whose highest peaks reach 1629 m. (Mount Panié) and 1,618 m (Mount Humboldt).
With 18,564 km2, New Caledonia is home to a wide range of landscapes.
Climate, Biodiversity and Honey
The Grande Terre is very narrow and extends over 400 km. A central mountain range which culminates at 1600 m runs through it from north to south.
The climate here is tropical, influenced by El Nino and La Nina. From mid-November to mid-April, the southern summer brings heat to around 30 °. Heavy rains and strong winds can turn into cyclones, all in an atmosphere that is over 70% humid. From mid-April to mid-May the transition season is marked by a decrease in temperatures and rains until mid-September the southern "winter", calmer, tempers the atmosphere before the onset of a short season. dry which makes you fear fires.
Our fellow beekeeper, Arnaud, lives on the rather arid west coast because it is protected from the prevailing winds by the central chain. It offers a landscape of wide and long grassy plains and savannas (whose emblematic tree is the niaouli) which rise towards the mountains through a series of hills and plateaus covered with dry forests. The mangroves remain along the coast. Nature is still preserved because we use no pesticides. The annual production is between 150 and 200 tons of honey with many small apiaries. With this privileged health status and the absence of acaricide treatment in the hives, the local wax is of excellent quality, free of traces of treatment residues. Many beekeepers make their own sheets of liner wax with water-cooled waffle irons or offer this service as a contract.
Beekeeping in New Caledonia is very different from that in European countries. Honey resources are more diversified and overall less important in a given place. There are no major crops such as sunflowers or rapeseed, few wildflowers except the sensitive (Mimosa pudica); on the other hand, the trees bloom and give beautiful honey: Jamelonniers, Niaoulis, Bancouliers, Faux Peppercorns, Tamanous, Sandalwood, Pomme Kanak as well as a multitude of lianas. Likewise, transhumance is almost non-existent. Rare are those who practice it for the flowering of Niaoulis, abundant but short.
Bees used on the New Caledonian archipelago
On Grande Terre where the village of Bourail is located, the place of harvest, we use a mixed bee resulting from natural crosses between apis mellifera mellifera (imported by the Marist fathers in the 19th century) and apis mellifera ligustica (imported from Australia during the 2nd half of the 20th century). In Ouvéa, only Apis mellifera ligustica can be found imported to the island in the early 2000s. Before, the honey bee was not present there. In Lifou and Maré, only apis mellifera mellifera is found. Today, bee imports are banned in New Caledonia.
Place of harvest
Our Savannah honey was harvested on the east coast of Grande Terre, on the edge of the plain and on the edge of the foothills of the central mountain range. The bees have foraged countless varieties of flowers, trees and herbaceous plants such as pepper, blackwood, blue grass, false mimosa, niaouli, Kanak apple, as well as a multitude of lianas.