180,000 Bees Lived On Top Of Notre Dame de Paris When The Fire Broke Out And They Survived!
The unseen residents of Notre Dame, roughly 180,000 bees, were currently living on its' roof when the fire broke out.
Beekeeper, Nicolas Geant, who tend to them was worried they wouldn't survive the blaze but when he returned to assess the damage, he was relieved to find out they survived!
Three hives were placed on the roof in 2013 to help boost the population as the numbers were dramatically declining. Since the hives where installed, Geant has been overseeing them and sharing updating on his Instagram page.
"An ounce of hope!" beekeeper Nicolas Geant wrote on Instagram, sharing a drone photo of Notre Dame's scorched roof. "Drone photos show that the 3 beehives are still in place and seem to be intact!"
"Smoke, heat, water... we'll see if our courageous bees are still with us as soon as we have access to the location, which will likely take a long time."
And just a day after the fire, Grant was able to give an update, "The bees of the Notre-Dame Cathedral are still alive! Those responsible for the site have confirmed!" He shared a photo of some of the bees huddling in a crevice of a gargoyle sculpture on Instagram, hashtagging the moment - "#miracle."
How were they able to survive?
In an interview with the Associated Press, Geant explained how the bees survived the fire, "Instead of killing them, the CO2 (from smoke) makes them drunk, puts them to sleep."
"When bees sense fire, they gorge themselves on honey and stay to protect their queen, who doesn't move," Geant continued. "I saw how big the flames were, so I immediately thought it was going to kill the bees. Even though they were 30 meters (about 100 feet) lower than the top roof, the wax in the hives melts at 63 degrees Celsius (145.4 Fahrenheit)."
Smoke is often used by beekeepers to sedate a bee colony when they need to get inside their hives, they can't die from the smoke due to the fact they don't have lungs. They can, however, die from the heat. And unlike other bees, European bees don't abandon their nests during danger, the AP reports.
Luckily, it all worked out as the bees and the hives remained fully intact.