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Bees living on Notre Dame’s roof survived the fire that wrecked the cathedral

The bees that live on the roof of Notre Dame are alive and buzzing, having survived the devastating fire that ripped through the cathedral on Monday.

The beekeeper Nicolas Geant confirmed to CNN saying “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 added that “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!”.

Notre Dame has housed three beehives on the first floor on a roof over the sacristy, just beneath the rose window, since 2013. Each hive has about 60,000 bees. Geant said the hives were not touched by the blaze because they are located about 30 meters below the main roof where the fire spread.

While it is likely that the hives were filled with smoke, that doesn’t impact them like it would with humans, Geant explained. “Bees don’t have lungs like us. And secondly, for centuries to work with the bees we have used bee smokers.”

A bee smoker is a box with bellows which creates a white, thick cold smoke in the hives, prompting the bees to calmly gorge on the honey while beekeepers do their work, Geant said.

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