Bee bearding

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Bee bearding is the practice of wearing several thousand honey bees on the face, usually as a sideshow-type demonstration at agricultural shows. Hive bees are attracted into position by a queen in a small cage worn under the chin.[1][2]

History of bee bearding[edit]

Though beekeepers since ancient times have allowed bees to rest on their bodies to demonstrate their rapport with the insects, the practice of congregating measurable quantities of bees on the face was initiated by Petro Prokopovych, a Ukrainian beekeeper, in the 1830s. The practice spread to various "freak" exhibitions at Russian carnivals by the end of the 19th century.

Bee-bearding records[edit]

The record for the "heaviest mantle of bees" is held by a Chinese national, Ruan Liangming, who was filmed by Guinness World Records wearing an estimated 637,000 bees, including about 60 queen bees, weighing about 63.5 kilograms, in May 2014.[3]

As of August 31, 2017, the record for the longest time wearing a beard of bees was 61 minutes. [4]

In weddings[edit]

In 2009, couple Li Wenhua and Yan Hongxia of Ning'an, China, both beekeepers, married while both were covered in bees.[5]

Bee bearding in fictional works[edit]

  • The episode "Aptitude" on the series The Suite Life of Zack & Cody shows Zack looking at a video called "Beard of Bees" on a YouTube-like website.
  • In Bee Movie, as a video clip on a bee news program, a crowd of bees chants "No More Bee Beards! No More Bee Beards!"
  • In the King of the Hill episode "Mutual of Omabwah", Dale Gribble wears a beard of bees.
  • In the 2000 Malcolm in the Middle episode "The Bots and the Bees", Hal wears a beard of bees as a result of his battle robot.
  • In the second episode of the 1993 season of Azerbaijani television show Monkey Please, Sophocles!, a beard of bees is the theme of the day’s discourse between Sophocles and political trickster Damirchizadeh.
  • On The Simpsons Season 20 Episode 8 The Burns and the Bees Professor Frink who has a queen bee sting Lisa releasing pheromones which attracts many uninfected bees, which form a bee beard. Also, Season 4 Episode 8 New Kid on the Block Grampa Simpson states "I wore a 15 pound beard of bees for that woman, but it just wasn't enough".


  1. ^ "Brave beekeeper". Life. 36 (12): 98. 21 September 1953.
  2. ^ BBC - CBBC Helen's Beard of Bees
  3. ^ "Chinese Man Dons 240-Pound Suit, Fails to Set Record". Newsweek. 28 May 2015.
  4. ^ "Canadian man wears beard of bees for world-record 61 minutes". UPI. 31 Aug 2017.
  5. ^ "Wedding suits are bees knees". Archived from the original on 26 July 2009. Retrieved 19 August 2009.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)

Further reading[edit]

  • Frank Sennett, "No. 80: Bee Bearded," 101 Stunts for Principals to Inspire Student Achievement (Corwin Press, 2004), 116-117.