Humans aren’t the only ones busy rebuilding the Notre-Dame Cathedral--the church’s resident bees are also getting back to work.
On the evening of April 15th, a fire broke out at Paris’s historic Notre-Dame Cathedral. The fire burned into the following morning, seriously damaging the landmark and causing the destruction of countless pieces of antiquity. Most of the wooden roof and stone vaulted ceiling dame down along with the timber spire.
While billionaires and companies from across France are already donating the church’s restoration, there is at least one part that won’t need the help of humans: the church’s beehives.
It may surprise you to know, but the roof of the Notre-Dame is actually home to roughly 180,000 bees. The hives were installed some time ago as part of a larger Parisian effort to ensure pollinators keep the city’s greenery blooming and the location seemed ideal due to Notre-Dame’s roof being far away from pedestrians.
Priests typically harvest around 25 kg (55 lbs) of honey per year that’s mostly sold to Notre-Dame staff.
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Une once d'espoir ! Les photos prises par différents drones montrent que les 3 ruches sont toujours en place... et visiblement intactes ! Pour ce qui est des occupantes, le mystère reste entier. Fumée, chaleur, eau... nous verrons si nos courageuses abeilles sont encore parmi nous dès que nous aurons accès à l'emplacement, ce qui risque de prendre beaucoup de temps. Vous serez bien évidemment informés. Nous souhaitons vous remercier pour tous vos messages de soutien, qui nous touchent énormément. 🐝 🤞❤ #Beeopic #NotreDame #NotreDameDeParis #apiculture #abeilles #ruches #espoir #paris #battantes
Notre-Dame beekeepers were appalled at the fire not just due to the destruction of a historic landmark but also for the loss of their beehives. Luckily, the beehives were closer to the forward structure of the church and seem to have survived the fire relatively unharmed.
Speaking to CNN, beekeeper Nicolas Geant confirmed that the hives were still operational after spotting a few drones flying in and out. "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!" Geant said. "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!"
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Nos abeilles de la Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris sont toujours en vie !! Confirmation de la part des responsables du site !! ❤🐝❤ Notre-Dame's bees are still alive !! #Beeopic #apiculture #abeilles #ruches #NotreDame #Notredamedeparis #cathedrale #ambroise #saintambroise #stambroise #miracle
Geant further explained that the hives are made out of wood and definitely would have gone up had the fire reached them. Further, beeswax melts at a temperature of roughly 63 degrees C (145.4 degrees F) which would have also resulted in the bee’s demise as it would have coated their wings but also destroyed their food stores.
Miraculously, neither of those things happened, and the bees are happily buzzing in the bright sunshine of spring.
"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. I was overjoyed," Geant added.