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All 180,000 Honeybees Living On Top of Notre Dame Cathedral Have Survived the Fire

After historians breathed a sigh of relief over the preservation of the many artifacts inside of the Notre Dame Cathedral, bee enthusiasts are now rejoicing over the miraculous survival of the building’s 180,000 pollinators.

For the last six years, there have been a trio of beehives nestled on top of the cathedral’s roof. The hives were just a few honeybee colonies that were installed across the city as a means of of boosting dwindling pollinator populations in Europe.

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The hives have been managed by Notre Dame beekeeper Nicolas Geant since 2013; so when the Parisian cathedral caught fire last week, he anxiously awaited news of their condition.

It took a team of 400 firefighters almost nine hours to finally extinguish the blaze – and though city officials were wary of the hives’ survival, satellite photos showed that the three hives had made it through the fire.

Once specialists were finally able to check up on the honeybees, Geant was elated to hear that they were alive and well.

“It’s a big day. I am so relieved. I saw satellite photos that showed the three hives didn’t burn,” Geant told The Associated Press. “Instead of killing them, the CO2 (from smoke) makes them drunk, puts them to sleep.”

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That being said, the bees are particularly lucky because the hives reside only 100 feet under where the roof was burning. If their hives had been heated to 63 degrees Celsius (145.4 Fahrenheit), the hive wax would have melted and the bees would have perished.

“I wouldn’t call it a miracle, but I’m very, very happy,” Geant added.

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