Bees are terrifying creatures. Intimidating at the very least. Find one buzzing at your neck and you’re in for a state of panic. Find one landing on your skin and you’re frozen to death, bracing yourself for the dreaded sting. Now imagine hundreds upon hundreds of these sly insects covering every inch of you, brushing and tickling you with tiny, furry feet and unassuming needles of stings. Imagine having to go through that ordeal for a full hour, half-naked and in front of a laughing crowd. Epic, wouldn’t it?
That’s exactly what these crazy bee-enthusiasts have to go through upon signing up for the annual Bee-Attracting Competition (also Bee-Wearing, Bee-Bearding, etc.) in Shaoyang, Hunan Province of China. Wearing only a pair of shorts, goggles, and earplugs, each daring contestant stands on a digital scale and wait for a full 60 minutes for bees to swarm all over his body, creating a sort of living insect suit. In order to attract the bees, miniature baskets containing queen bees are tied to their bodies. The drones pick up the scent and gather calmly and nicely around the queen bees like decent, mannerly suitors.
In 2011, a 42-year old bee farmer Wang Dalin won the competition with 26.86 kg of bees crawling on his skin. His 20-year old competitor wasn’t far off at 22.9 kg. Still, the efforts of these two don’t match world record-holder Mark Biancaniello who managed to attract some 39.5 kg (350,000 bees) to his chassis.