Some honey in the bag!
The “welcoming pack” is a long-standing tradition at T&S.
Each new recruit receives a “welcoming pack” containing everything they need to get their T&S adventure off to a good start. Among these gifts are always the essentials: a mug, a notebook, a stress buster etc.
But for 2023, ous communication team has taken the initiative to update the list of items in its “welcome pack”. The focus was on sustainable and good quality items. Modifications have been made in that sense.
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The container, formerly a T&S tote-bag, is now a robust T&S backpack, which allows you to carry your computer equipment
But that’s not all!
T&S is very proud to have added to its “welcoming pack”, a 250g jar of honey harvested and potted by our colleague and beekeeper Henrique Waxin.
Henrique, can you summarize your academic and professional background before T&S?
My career path is quite classical, but interspersed with more exotic experiences. Preparatory school, engineering school (ENSMM, now Sup Microtech), then leaving my comfort zone by going to do humanitarian work for a year in an NGO in Brazil. When my mission was over, I became a prosthetic engineer in Switzerland and then a research engineer at a university. Quickly, I felt the need to do things with my hands. I then did shorter missions in the building industry, before finally finding a balance by combining my mission in quality at T&S with my passion for beekeeping in my spare time!
How did you meet T&S ?
On the recommendation of a friend who worked there.
Can you tell us about your internal career at T&S?
I joined to help obtain a certification as well as to ensure quality on customer projects. Today, in addition to that, I am in charge of system quality at ENGLAB.
How did you become a beekeeper? How did you get involved in this adventure?
A friend of mine needed someone who was willing to get up at 3am on a weekdays to go and transhume the hives. I quickly got a taste for sunrise in the valleys of the Vosges early in the morning before going to work, especially when it turns into honey pots soon after! I gradually took on more responsibility, and today we are two employees.
How many hives and bees do you have? How much honey do you produce in 2022?
9 Hives, if they all survive the winter! In 2022, we produced just over 350 kg, of which 250 kg was for the T&S welcome package.
Can you explain to us, without going into details, the work of an amateur beekeeper?
In spring, we run around, between the hives to transhume from a spot of acacia to a spot of chestnut to a sport of fir, all before dawn, and without forgetting the beginning of the harvest!
In summer, we don’t transhume anymore, but we regularly go to harvest. We must slowly extract the honey and put it in pots, check that the bees do not swarm, gauge each time, at the sight of the flight of the bees and the combs, the state of the hive to know if it is the good moment to collect.
In autumn, we quietly finish the honey extractions. We start looking for customers for the honey except, of course, when your employer offers to buy almost all our stock. It’s a little time-saver!
We treat the hives against parasites and bring them back to the wintering place.
In winter everything goes more smoothly. You have to scrape the supers of the hives to clean them, melt the wax of the old honey frames, prepare the frames for the next year, go and feed the bees if they have nothing left in stock for the winter.
And, whatever the season, we look for new places to put our hives. Walking in the mountains, we look for hazel trees, willows especially for the start in February. New chestnut forests with a south and a north side to spread the flowering.
One must unexpectedly think about being inaccessible enough to avoid looting or vandalism, but be able to access by car to make regular visits. Ask yourself about sunlight in summer and winter, etc.
That’s a lot of parameters to consider!
I’ve never been more aware of where north or south is at any given time in my walks 😊
Are you already feeling the impact of global warming?
Yes. This summer’s drought has prevented the chestnut trees in the Vosges from producing nectar, so no honey. The storms destroyed the fauna that creates honeydew for forest honey in the middle of the season. But, the biggest cause of hive death is pesticides. We quickly stopped having hives near corn, wheat, rapeseed, and vineyards, because almost every other hive died from the treatments. The hives are either in the city, as pesticides are forbidden there, or in the forest, where no one goes to spread them.
What did you think of this initiative to offer your honey to the employees who join the T&S adventure?
There are several points of view to answer that:
For me, it’s a chance to be able to talk to lots of people about my passion, and to know that I can count on the support of my company to buy me several jars at once to free up time to prepare serenely for the coming year.
Secondly, I think it’s also a great opportunity for T&S to put something ethical, local and ecological at the heart of its welcome gifts.
And, finally, I think it’s a chance for newcomers to T&S, who in addition to starting a new adventure, will be able to enjoy themselves!
If 250g is ever not enough, how do you get a second jar?
Just email me at email@example.com, or come by the quality office at T&S headquarters on Tuesdays or Fridays 😊