Many people harbor a fear of arthropods. There is just something about the look of spiders, insects and even crustaceans, like lobsters, that give people the creeps. The term “arachnophobia” is well known to mean a fear of arachnids, like spiders and scorpions, but the general fear of insects, or “entomophobia,” is not as common as the fear of spiders. While many people consider all arachnid species to be terrifying, there exists many insect species that even the most fearful of entomophobes are perfectly okay with, such as ladybugs or honey bees. Although honey bees are capable of dealing out painful stings, they are not commonly feared to the same degree as other stinging insects, like wasps. This may be due to the fact that bees make life on earth much easier for humans, as they pollinate valued crops and provide delicious honey as well as useful beeswax to humans. However, an individual honey bee is one thing, but a swarm of honey bees is something else entirely. Upon encountering an active honey bee hive or a wild swarm, it is not unreasonable to fear for your life, as honey bee attacks result in numerous human fatalities each year. Despite the clear danger that bees pose to humans, one seemingly fearless man has broken a world record by allowing his body to become completely covered with honey bees. To be more precise, the combined weight of all the bees that covered the man weighed even more than the man himself.
Ever since the mid 1800s, the act of “bee bearding” has been a popular carnival attraction. The term comes from the practice of allowing hundreds or even thousands of bees to congregate on a performer’s face in order to appear as though the performer has a beard made of live bees. Over the years, the practice of bee bearding became more intense as stunt performers progressively allowed more and more bees to congregate on their body. Therefore, it should not be surprising to learn that stunt performers have been consistently setting new world records for the amount of bees used in bee bearding stunts. The latest daredevil of this sort, a Chinese man named Ruan Liangming, has just broken the latest world record in bee bearding by allowing his body to become covered in more than 140 pounds of bees. The amount of individual bees on Ruan’s body was estimated to be near 637,000, and 60 of these bees were highly aggressive queen bees. According to Ruan, the trick to avoiding stings during bee bearding stunts is to remain calm. This should be helpful advice to any aspiring carny hoping to indulge in bee bearding for a living.
Have you ever seen the act of bee bearding portrayed in any films or TV shows?