Bare-chested and surrounded by bees, Egyptian beekeeper Mohamed Hagras is about to grow a beard with a difference.
With a box housing the queen’s hormones strapped to his chin, the 31-year old is growing a ‘beard of bees’.
“I was a petroleum engineer but I started moving towards beekeeping after developing a hobby but then I fell in love with the activity, vigour and organization behind beekeeping. This is a message to people that it does not matter to work in your specialization. You can work in any specialization that you love. The most important thing is to be productive and specialise in that field,” said Hagras.
The engineer turned beekeeper has been doing this for years both competitively and as an effort to educate Egyptians on the usefulness of bees.
He said among his goals are to show that the honey-producing insects are not aggressive.
Although this stunt is not for the faint hearted, Hagras takes precautions for the bees not to sting — and die.
“Of course there are some procedures to take when you enter a hive. First thing I have to be wearing appropriate clothing to protect myself from the stinging of bees. Also this is for the protection of the bees because a bee that stings dies and I do not want to kill the bees. There has to be full protection like the overalls of the mask and even gloves when it the work is more difficult,’‘ he said.
Hagras extracts hormones from queen bees after they die and uses them to attract bees from the same hive to perform his show. He also uses the same technique to form new hives.
He uses the ‘beard of bees’ at contests and exhibitions where like-minded people try to break world records.
The current holder is a Chinese beekeeper who in 2015 covered his entire body with over a million bees, a combined weight of almost 110 kg (242.5 lb).
Other than helping with honey and pollen, bees are also medicinal, Hagras says, adding that many people come to his farm to get stung in efforts to cure various diseases.