Notre Dame’s beekeeper has shared vision of the now-famous bees still buzzing after the fire which resulted in severe damage to the 800-year-old cathedral a week ago.
- The beehives were spared from the inferno, having been located away from the cathedral’s main roof
- Beekeepers thought the wax inside the hives could have melted, killing the bees
- However, the bees’ survival was confirmed a few days after the blaze
Nicolas Geant posted footage of the hives to his personal YouTube account on Sunday morning, before sharing it on the Instagram account of beekeeping company Beeopic, which maintains the hives.
“Sneak peak of @notredamedeparis ‘s bees after the fire,” the caption read.
The bees achieved global fame when Beeopic posted a photo of the surviving hives after the cathedral blazed for several hours.
“An ounce of hope,” a translation of the post said.
“The pictures taken by different drones show that the three hives are still in place… and obviously intact!”
Insects could have met grim end
The beehives were lower than the cathedral’s main roof and the 19th-century spire that burned and collapsed.
However, the hives were less than a metre from the blaze, so beekeepers were unsure if the colonies of some 180,000 insects survived.
While other species will flee their hives when threatened by fire, European bees remain behind.
But, as bees do not have lungs, they were not at risk of smoke inhalation.
Mr Geant said the bees could have died if the wax inside their hives began to melt from the heat. (Supplied: Beeopic)
“Instead of killing them, the [carbon dioxide] makes them drunk, puts them to sleep,” Mr Geant said.
“When bees sense fire, they gorge themselves on honey and stay to protect their queen, who doesn’t move.”
“Even though they were 30 meters lower than the top roof, the wax in the hives melts at 63 degrees Celsius.”
He told CNN that, if the wax had melted, it would have “glued the bees together”.
While the bees would have been “drunk” and full of honey, the idea of the insects perishing in a hot, waxy clump was a sad thought for beekeepers.
Our Lady’s bees live on
It was not until two days later that the world learned the fate of the bees, through an Instagram post with the hashtag #miracle.
“Confirmation from site managers,” a translation of the post read.
“Our Lady’s bees are still alive!”
It is unknown how many of the 180,000 bees survived, however the intact hives made for a promising sign.
Prior to the fire, the bees produced roughly 75 kilograms of honey each year, which was sold to Notre Dame employees.
The hives were set up on the iconic cathedral in 2013 as part of a Paris-wide initiative to bolster declining bee numbers in the city.