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.
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