A mother in South Akron, Ohio, took a honey of a photo shoot recently ― with the help of 20,000 bees.
Emily Mueller is expecting her fourth child in November and wanted to honor the occasion with a photo shoot.
The 33-year-old woman also runs a bee removal service with her husband, Ryan, and decided that the maternity photos should also reflect her love of nature’s most valuable insect.
“Bees represent life and death,” she told Cleveland.com. “We’ve had three miscarriages, so these pictures are dedicated to life and death, to all of the children we’ve had.”
Her longtime friend, photographer Kendrah Damis, took the maternity pictures. Carefully.
Mueller controlled the 20,000 bees by holding the queen of the hive in a small cage. She seems perfectly calm in the photos, but Damis admitted to being slightly concerned.
“It was uneasy, but I wasn’t that scared,” Damis told HuffPost. “I did have to flick a bee off my hand, and I unconsciously hunched down when they were flying around.”
As buzzworthy as the photo shoot is, Mueller knows other people might not be believers.
“I know a lot of people are looking at this video, thinking, ‘This lady is crazy,’” she told InsideEdition.com. “And I understand completely. Many years ago, I was afraid of bees, too.”
Still, she admits, it wasn’t a completely painless experience. She was stung three times during the shoot, including once when she sat on a bee and another time when she crushed one with her arm.
“None of the bees intentionally stung me,” Mueller told the website. “It was my own fault. I didn’t realize there was one on my arm.”
Despite these painful moments, Mueller insisted her unborn child was never at risk.
“People think I’m putting my baby at harm,” Mueller told People.com. “But bees are gentle, and I hope my bee belly helps people see that they aren’t as scary as you might think.”
Although posing with 20,000 bees wasn’t completely predictable, Mueller was happy with the encounter.
“It was absolutely amazing to connect with nature in that way and to have the bees directly on my womb was so spiritual,” she said.
Photos courtesy of Kendrah Damis.