Pregnant woman covers her bump in 20,000 bees for bizarre maternity shoot
Emily Mueller, the 33-year-old mother who posed with thousands of bees in her maternity suit, may seem completely mad. But there's method behind that madness, along with some safety precautions that, while they may not make me feel any better about doing it, were enough for her to try out the dangerous act.
Emily is a full-time beekeeper who keeps 24 hives, and has been stung by them 350 times over the last year. This may seem like a lot, but is a pretty good ratio considering she owns 1.2 million of them. But Emily wasn't scared covering her baby bump with the insects, as she feels completely at ease with them.
On the morning of her maternity shoot she was called to a job which required her to remove a hive from a public park, so she had the idea to use these bees for the photos. Speaking to The Mirror, she said:
"I fed those bees sugar to make sure they would be content and gentle enough to work with.Then I put the queen bee in a cage and tied it to a branch in a tree in the garden. She is larger and bigger so it was easy to identify her.
"Then I shook the bees from the hive and they all flew straight to her. We cut the branch and my husband walked it over to where I was sitting for the pictures. He shook them onto the ground and I held the queen in my hand and they all came over."
She wore a long dress, with her legs and stomach covered as a precautionary measure, but knew it would be safe. In the end she was stung three times, but still thinks it was worth the trouble. "Having them all on me was this clinging sensation," she explained, "They all stick to you and they are very warm, so it's almost like when a kitten is walking on you."
No matter what cute things she compares it to, I can't say the idea of being covered by a swarm of bees is something I would ever do willingly. But Emily, who runs Mueller Honey Bee Removal, has been doing this for years. Given a hive by her father when she was younger, she ended up making money by selling honey, and her business grew and grew.
She now runs the business with her husband, and the couple share their passion with their three children. "Bees have been a huge part of our lives for the past few years," she added, "so I wanted to incorporate them into something important to me - like my maternity photos."
"I have three children and I had three miscarriages so it was in tribute to them all. Bees represent life and death and they are very spiritual creatures. I just want to raise awareness about how gentle they are."
I can't stand being near bees, let alone a whole swarm of them. But after seeing how comfortable Emily is with them, despite being pregnant, maybe they are as gentle as she says they are. Still, you won't find me near a hive any time soon.