Drunk on smoke: Notre Dame’s bees survive cathedral blaze

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The hives have been on the roof since 2013 as part of a Parisian biodiversity project that placed bee colonies around the city, in parks and on iconic landmarks. (File/Getty Images)
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Drone photos appearing to show intact beehives on the cathedral's roof. (Instagram/Beeopic)
Updated 20 April 2019

Drunk on smoke: Notre Dame’s bees survive cathedral blaze

PARIS: Hunkered down in their hives and drunk on smoke, Notre Dame’s smallest official residents — some 180,000 bees — somehow managed to survive the inferno that consumed the cathedral’s ancient wooden roof.
Confounding officials who thought they had perished, the bees clung to life, protecting their queen.
“It’s a big day. I am so relieved. I saw satellite photos that showed the three hives didn’t burn,” Notre Dame beekeeper Nicolas Geant told The Associated Press on Friday.
“Instead of killing them, the CO2 (from smoke) makes them drunk, puts them to sleep,” he explained.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Beeopic (@beeopic) on


Geant has overseen the bees since 2013, when three hives were installed on the roof of the stone sacristy that joins the south end of the monument. The move was part of a Paris-wide initiative to boost declining bee numbers. Hives were also introduced above Paris’ gilded Opera.
The cathedral’s hives were lower than Notre Dame’s main roof and the 19th-century spire that burned and collapsed during Monday evening’s fire.
Since bees don’t have lungs, they can’t die from smoke inhalation — but they can die from excessive heat. European bees, unlike some bee species elsewhere, don’t abandon their hives when facing danger.
“When bees sense fire, they gorge themselves on honey and stay to protect their queen, who doesn’t move,” Geant said. “I saw how big the flames were, so I immediately thought it was going to kill the bees. Even though they were 30 meters (nearly 100 feet) lower than the top roof, the wax in the hives melts at 63 degrees Celsius (145.4 Fahrenheit).”




Notre Dame Cathedral’s three beehives — home to more than 180,000 bees  — survived the destructive fire. (Instagram/Beeopic)

If the wax that protects their hive melts, the bees simply die inside, Geant explained.
Smoke, on the other hand, is innocuous. Beekeepers regularly smoke out the hives to sedate the colony whenever they need access inside. The hives produce around 75 kilograms (165 pounds) of honey annually, which is sold to Notre Dame employees.
Notre Dame officials saw the bees on top of the sacristy Friday, buzzing in and out of their hives.
“I wouldn’t call it a miracle, but I’m very, very happy,” Geant added.

 


Don’t abandon us, we don’t transmit coronavirus, say Cairo’s dogs and cats

Updated 27 May 2020

Don’t abandon us, we don’t transmit coronavirus, say Cairo’s dogs and cats

  • Doctors at the clinic decided to let the pets spread the message
  • Pets looked after at home are highly unlikely to spread any disease

CAIRO: The dogs and cats of a Cairo veterinary clinic have an important message, and they are taking it to the Internet.
Don’t abandon us. We don’t spread the coronavirus.
“We started this campaign after noticing that there were many people leaving dogs and cats outside our clinic,” explained veterinarian Corolos Majdi at the Animalia clinic in the Egyptian capital.
Pets looked after at home are highly unlikely to spread any disease, but dogs or cats abandoned on the street can be dangerous, he said.
Doctors at the clinic decided to let the pets spread the message. They began photographing dogs and cats wearing signs explaining that keeping them is safe. The photos are posted on social media sites on the Internet.
“I don’t transmit the coronavirus. Please don’t be frightened of me,” said Loola, a white French Poodle. Or rather that’s what was written on the sign she sported for her photoshoot.
Poosey, a 3-year-old long-haired cat, and Snowy, a white Griffon dog, took turns posing with a sign saying: “I love you. Please don’t throw me out in the street.”
“Please don’t worry, dogs don’t transmit the coronavirus,” said Snowy’s owner, a young girl named Julia Joseph. “God created these animals so we can care for them.”