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posted by martyb on Sunday April 21 2019, @03:21AM   Printer-friendly
from the it's-all-the-buzz dept.

Notre Dame's bees rather surprisingly have survived the conflagration that has consumed the cathedral's wooden roof.

Notre Dame is home to 180,000 bees that have lived in several hives on the roof of the stone sacristy since 2003. The bees were installed as part of a city wide initiative to help with the declining bee population. The cathedral was only one of the historic sites where hives were placed.

"When bees sense fire, they gorge themselves on honey and stay to protect their queen, who doesn't move," [Notre Dame beekeeper Nicolas 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)."

If the wax that protects their hive melts, the bees simply die inside, Geant explained.

Fortunately the smoke itself is relatively innocuous for bees, beekeepers regularly smoke hives to put bees to sleep.

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.

The honey from the hives (about 165lbs/75kgs annually) is sold to Notre Dame employees. Presumably this year's batch will have a unique smokey flavor.


Original Submission

Related Stories

Hives With Over Half-Million Bees Burned and Drowned in Brazoria County, Tx. 24 comments

On the night of April 26th, an unknown person or persons destroyed beehives that were home to over half a million bees in Alvin, Texas.

With the advent of Colony Collapse Disorder early this millennium, and the resulting drops in bee populations across the USA, Europe, and Asia, people and organizations have been making efforts to house, protect and nurture honeybee populations for the sake of their crops, the good of the environment, or as a service to humanity at large.

Use of the land for the bees destroyed was donated by a private citizen and the location is visible to the road so passers by can watch and enjoy the bee keepers working with the bees.

Then we get people that do things like this:

Over the weekend, someone set fire to two dozen bee colonies in Alvin, Texas belonging to the Brazoria County Beekeepers Association. The perpetrator also dumped some of the bee boxes into a nearby pond.

According to one of the beekeepers:

I broke down in tears when I saw a floating brood frame in the water with bees still caring for the brood.

It is expected that the perpetrators were very likely stung and the community is on the lookout for individuals with bee stings.

Perhaps more remarkably, this is not a completely new idea. Multiple Facebook comments speak of past attacks on bees elsewhere attributed to teenagers and rival bee keepers.

We've already seen bees persevering through fire and smoke, according to beekeepers the surviving bees are stressed and many will have lost their queens, but is also possible some hives will survive.

Previous coverage of Bee troubles:
Some Honeybee Colonies Adapt in Wake of Deadly Mites
Backyard Beekeeping Now Legal in Los Angeles
Honeybees Pick Up 'Astonishing' Number of Pesticides Via Non-crop Plants
Bees Dead from Aerial Zika Spraying in South Carolina
Pesticide Companies' Own Secret Tests Showed Their Products Harm Bees
Extensive Study Concludes Neonicotinoid Pesticides Harm Bees
EU Bans Outdoor Use of Pesticides That Harm Bees


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 2) by RamiK on Sunday April 21 2019, @05:38AM (3 children)

    by RamiK (1813) on Sunday April 21 2019, @05:38AM (#832862)

    #beegenocide

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    • (Score: 2) by Booga1 on Sunday April 21 2019, @07:15AM (1 child)

      by Booga1 (6333) on Sunday April 21 2019, @07:15AM (#832877)

      You had the chance to use "not the bees!" [youtube.com]

    • (Score: 2) by Bot on Sunday April 21 2019, @04:59PM

      by Bot (3902) on Sunday April 21 2019, @04:59PM (#833009) Journal

      technically it should be named melissocide, but both words are indeed awkward. Just as well, obviously the first one to pull off a bee genocide dooms the planet.

      I am concerned about the honey coming from the flowers around notre dame. How is it named? Diesel honey? 10w40 honey?

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  • (Score: 2) by Bot on Sunday April 21 2019, @09:07AM (5 children)

    by Bot (3902) on Sunday April 21 2019, @09:07AM (#832890) Journal

    Happy to know they survived. I guess in that bee community the notre dame disaster generated quite a buzz.

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    • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Sunday April 21 2019, @10:19AM (1 child)

      by Gaaark (41) Subscriber Badge on Sunday April 21 2019, @10:19AM (#832904) Journal

      ""I wouldn't call it a miracle, but I'm very, very happy," Geant added."

      It IS a miracle! All hail Saint Buzzy! :)

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      • (Score: 2) by RamiK on Sunday April 21 2019, @03:29PM

        by RamiK (1813) on Sunday April 21 2019, @03:29PM (#832970)

        All hail Saint Buzzy! :)

        Honestly between St. Ambrose, St. Gobnait/Abigail, St. Modomnoc and St. Valentine I think we got enough patron saints of bees... On the other hand, a Saint Melissa the Buzzed patron of mead... Now that's the kind of girl that gets boy to church!

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    • (Score: 2) by bussdriver on Sunday April 21 2019, @04:14PM

      by bussdriver (6876) on Sunday April 21 2019, @04:14PM (#832980)

      It is a chance to explain in more detail about bees and how it was not a miracle; AP reporter went halfway.

      Bees of all kinds survive amazingly harsh conditions; some people think they migrate or die every year (like wasps) but all that honey's purpose is for their survival. Wax and honey absorb a lot of temperature; far more than most materials. Look of the specific heat; phase change takes extra energy too. Filling themselves up with honey increases their heat tolerance. The bees wings act like fans as well and finally-- honey bees love wooden homes and wood is a natural insulator and even when it burns the surface char is an insulator; it burns slowly (which is why you chop logs to burn them.)

    • (Score: 2) by isostatic on Sunday April 21 2019, @04:19PM (1 child)

      by isostatic (365) on Sunday April 21 2019, @04:19PM (#832983) Journal

      It’s all about beelieving

      • (Score: 5, Funny) by Bot on Sunday April 21 2019, @05:05PM

        by Bot (3902) on Sunday April 21 2019, @05:05PM (#833017) Journal

        The bee spotted the smoke.
        Approaching the area to assess the situation, the bee soon saw the flames too, thought "MON DIEU THE ROOF OF THE BUZZILICA IS IN DANGER" and quickly went back to the hive to organize the resistance.

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  • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 21 2019, @03:17PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 21 2019, @03:17PM (#832966)

    how dare editor adds "Presumably this year's batch will have a unique smokey flavor". it is against all better judgement for
    such a sad tragetic and against all ... *yawn* ... nevermind.
    i am trying to adapt to this new political correct fad everywhere but it just makes me tired.
      *thumbs up* *wink*.

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by Hartree on Sunday April 21 2019, @04:59PM (3 children)

    by Hartree (195) on Sunday April 21 2019, @04:59PM (#833011)

    The smoke doesn't put the bees to sleep. It masks alarm pheromones and gets them to gorge themselves with honey and worry more about protecting the queen etc than stinging the beekeeper.

    This piece of useless trivia brought to you by having to help my dad take care of his bees when I was young, and getting stung considerably more than I wanted.

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by Bot on Sunday April 21 2019, @05:07PM (1 child)

      by Bot (3902) on Sunday April 21 2019, @05:07PM (#833021) Journal

      > The smoke doesn't put the bees to sleep.

      Depends on what they smoke, nudge nudge wink wink say no more.

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      • (Score: 2) by Hartree on Sunday April 21 2019, @05:14PM

        by Hartree (195) on Sunday April 21 2019, @05:14PM (#833025)

        Well, we did have one research group where I work that was giving bees cocaine and then watching them dance.

        Thankfully, I haven't seen any of them out on the street corner changing people in order to get enough for another toot.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 21 2019, @07:30PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 21 2019, @07:30PM (#833083)

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bee_smoker [wikipedia.org]

      Seems like it also masks alarm pheromones too. Which if course isn't sleeping, but I can see how that can help as well...

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