Heritage

The Bees Kept on Notre-Dame's Roof Survived the Fire

The cathedral's tiny, buzzy residents made it through-and their beekeeper is over the moon about it.
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Since 2013, three beehives—housing 60,000 bees each—have been kept on Notre-Dame Cathedral's roof. And this morning, CNN revealed that despite the recent fire, the bees are doing just fine.

"I got a call from Andre Finot, the spokesman for Notre Dame, who said there were bees flying in and out of the hives which means they are still alive!" Notre-Dame beekeeper Nicolas Geant said to CNN. "Right after the fire I looked at the drone pictures and saw the hives weren't burnt but there was no way of knowing if the bees had survived. Now I know there's activity it's a huge relief!"

The bees were able to make it due to their particular location: not on the main roof, which went up in flames, but a separate roof above the structure's sacristy, nearly 100 feet below. If they had been in the midst of the blaze, they wouldn't have survived. "The hives are made of wood so they would have gone up in flames," Geant explained. "Wax melts at 63 degrees, if the hive had reached that temperature the wax would have melted and glued the bees together, they would have all perished."

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But what about the smoke? Well, if anything, it likely calmed the bees down. "Bees don't have lungs like us," Geant said. "And secondly, for centuries to work with the bees we have used bee smokers." Beekeepers have found that sending some smoke into the hive will simply keep them inside, calmly snacking on honey or resting.

Geant couldn't be happier for his hardy bees. "I was incredibly sad about Notre Dame because it's such a beautiful building, and as a Catholic it means a lot to me. But to hear there is life when it comes to the bees, that's just wonderful," he said. "I was overjoyed."

*This article originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com

*Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors

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