Monday 16 September 2019

180,000 bees kept on top of Notre Dame cathedral discovered alive

European bees never abandon their hives, he said.

Firefighters walk on a balcony of Notre Dame cathedral (Francois Mori/AP/PA)
Firefighters walk on a balcony of Notre Dame cathedral (Francois Mori/AP/PA)

By Sylvie Corbet, Associated Press

Some 180,000 bees kept in in hives on Notre Dame’s lead roof have been discovered alive despite the destructive blaze at the Paris cathedral.

“I am so relieved. I saw satellite photos that showed the three hives didn’t burn. I thought they had gone with the cathedral,” Nicolas Geant, the monument’s beekeeper, told reporters.

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Carbon dioxide in the fire’s heavy smoke put the bees into a sedated state (Dave Thompson/PA)

Mr Geant has looked after the bees since 2013, when they were installed as part of a city-wide initiative to boost declining bee numbers.

Mr Geant said the carbon dioxide in the fire’s heavy smoke put the bees into a sedated state instead of killing them – adding that when bees sense fire they “gorge themselves on honey” and protect their queen.

European bees never abandon their hives, he said.

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