This is definitely one of those “don’t try this at home” situations.
Emily Mueller of New Franklin, Ohio is a professional beekeeper. She’s also pregnant.
So for her maternity photos she posed with about 20,000 bees swarming her belly. The photos, taken Monday, have been viewed thousands of times on social media.
Her friend, professional photographer Kendrah Damis, took the photos from a safe distance, putting her faith in her friend’s expertise in handling bees.
“I am not a bee person,” Damis told the Akron Beacon Journal. “I didn’t have any experience photographing bees before.”
Mueller and her husband own Mueller Honey Bee company. They also remove hives for homeowners and businesses, according to the Beacon Journal. The bees used in the photo came from a hive Mueller had captured earlier in the day.
She made sure the bees had full bellies so they’d be less active and less likely to sting, she told the newspaper. To make the bees swarm around her she held the queen in a container in her hand.
She also consulted with her doctor to make sure her baby wouldn’t be endangered.
“Working with a hive is just another day for a beekeeper,” she told the newspaper. “That might sound crazy to some, but it really was.”
The mother of three, who is due in mid-November, only got stung four times during the photo shoot and she doesn’t blame the bees. She squished a couple of them.
“Those bites were all my fault,” she said. “Bees will only respond to you doing something they don’t like — like sitting on one.”
Damis, on the other hand, didn’t get stung once, according to Fox 8 in Cleveland. She had jokingly told her friend she would charge extra for every sting.
Bees have a special meaning in Mueller’s life, she told BabyCenter parenting blog. She’s been around them for years. Her first hive was a gift from her father.
“When we decided to begin keeping bees, it was after our second miscarriage and during a time I needed something else to focus on emotionally,” she told BabyCenter.
“I began to read a lot about bees and learned that they not only represent death but the beginning of a new life and I knew that is what I needed.”
After her second child was born she became a full-time beekeeper. “It is safe to say I know honey bees very well and do not feel they pose a threat to myself or my family in any way,” she told the blog.
The photo shoot, she told BabyCenter, “was my opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of honey bees as well as their docile behavior.”