The crowds of people gathered in Paris, watching as the Notre Dame Cathedral spires burned and collapsed worried about the medieval building, the relics, and the bees. On the roof of the 800-year-old church are three hives where bees are kept to make honey.
The New York Post says that those who know about the bees feared that the hives had collapsed with the segment of the roof, and even if the housing didn’t fall, they thought for sure that the bees and their hives were killed by the heat and the flames.
But drones sent to fly over the roof by an urban beekeeping company, Beeopic, took pictures which showed the hives still in place and intact.
“An ounce of hope! The photos taken by different drones show that the three hives are still in place … and obviously intact!” Beeopic declared.
Then, even better news was confirmed when a cluster of bees was spotted on one of the gargoyles which survived the blaze.
“Our bees from the Cathedral Notre-Dame De Paris are still alive!! Confirmation from the site’s officials!! Our lady’s bees are still alive!”
The cathedral’s beekeeper, Nicholas Géant, remained hopeful, and spoke about the church’s bees in various interviews after the flames were under control.
— Luke (@LAMA_andrews) April 18, 2019
Géant explained that beekeeping and the church had a long history going back to medieval times. He stated that there are 60,000 bees per hive and three hives.
“I think and I hope the bees survived,” he explained. “There has been a great relationship between church and bees for centuries. Many churchmen influenced modern beekeeping like Brother Adam of Buckfast Abbey in England.”
The three hives have been on the roof of the Notre Dame Cathedral since 2013, when they were placed there as part of a Paris biodiversity program.
The Daily Mail said that Géant confirmed that the bees have started traveling in and out of the hives once again. He said he was so relieved as he had been in limbo since the fire earlier in the week. Géant explained that, understandably, the firefighters would not let him back into the cathedral to check on the bees because there were still hot spots from the fire.
A team of firefighters and police are still sitting vigil at the cathedral to jump into action if the flames erupt once again. Géant has kept in contact with other beekeeping enthusiasts to say that he will go onto the roof as soon as possible.
“The policemen and firemen won’t let me go up there. I will try again tomorrow,” he said.