Monday, August 16, 2010

Bee Fashionable

Are you wearing the latest trend?

In case you didn't know, it's honey bees. And you wear them as a beard.

This fashion doesn't discriminate and both men and women can participate.

The bees certainly don't seem to notice the difference.

Here's Dad pictured with Albert, this year's winner. He's wearing 5.2 lbs of bees.

The beard wearing participants all state how important it is to have a good "bee groomer".

You need someone who is skilled at handling bees. I'm thinking a Bee Whisperer would be handy to have around for this.

The groomer applies the bees, removes any stinging bees or stingers if there are any. They shook frames of bees onto newspaper and then poured the bees onto the volunteers.

At first they'd cup their hands to hold the bees but gradually the bees would smell their queen--tied with fishing line around the neck of each volunteer. Then they'd move up to cluster around her.

This bee covered gentleman is Tibby, the runner up and people's choice award winner.

I can't believe how calm and relaxed he was wearing bees over his entire head. He had 4.4 lbs of bees on his head and shoulders and hands.

Most of the time he couldn't even see until his 'bee groomer' got out a credit card to sweep the bees off his eyes.

I love the historic buildings at Clovermead and especially the historic beekeeping equipment.

Here's a photo of a bee skep, with bees inside. I leaned in close and could see the bottoms of their honeycombs.

It's been set on the other side of a window. How clever.

Both the hive and skep are placed so that everyone can relax and get up really close without fear of the bees.

This hive sites outside a window where the public can view the bees come and go up close.

The bee gum tree is awesome.

It sits inside a small courtyard that has a screened walkway all the way around. Visitors can watch bee hives be opened and bees displayed and watch bees come and go from the hive or bee gum behind the safety of the screening.

Girls aren't to be left behind when it comes to bees.

Christie Hiemstra (she and her husband Chris own Clovermead) wore a bee beard for the first time. She was wearing 2.4 lbs of bees - pictured below.

Another beekeeper named Chris was wearing a nicely shaped beard of 1.4 lbs. of bees.

I hope to try the beard one day myself.... next year.

Dad was not to be left out of the action and he helped record the bee beard weights and informed everyone that he was a new beekeeper.

He also participated in a smoker lighting contest.

He actually got his smoker lit first but ended up in second place behind another gentleman who took longer but had a lot more smoke coming from his smoker.

(Dad and I don't really use smoke much with our bees - we don't need it. But we do light the smoker every time just in case though).

I was not to be left out of the competition and I participated in a race to hammer a hive together.

I finished first but unfortunately fell to second place when another person had their box more square than mine.

(I'll remember that for next year to include quality along with my speed).

A fun time was had by all. The bees were most cooperative, along with the weather.

It was very hot with temperatures around 30 and a humidex of around 40 degrees Celsius.

Thankfully, they had a misting system set up that you could stand under and be cooled off by. It worked just like the mist at Niagara Falls and it was very refreshing.

Other competition in the Olympics was comb crushing, a hive tool toss at balloons, a race to put on a beekeeping outfit, and bee catching.

Participants for the first round were beekeepers and then the public got to volunteer to have a try at it too.

The children kept themselves very busy with the go-carts, flying fox, sand pit, hay bales, etc.

Here's a video of the second place runner up hitting the bee fashion runway....


Steve said...

Wow, looks like a lot of fun there. All I can say about the bee beards is that in my case, not now, not ever-no, no, no. That dude with the bees all over his head must be some kind of bee whisperer. He's my hero of the day!

Chris said...

Wow, amazing photos and amazing beekeepers for that matter. I appreciate so much your time and efforts involved in posting and uploading these pictures here for us all to enjoy.

That is about one of the most intriguing things that i have seen.

Amazing patience and oneness with the animal kingdom the "covered" individual possesses.

Where are such neat, interesting competitions and such held across North America and how would one find out about the dates and such?

Eastern NC

Bee Magic Chronicles for Kids said...

Chris, thanks for your comments. I'm glad you're enjoying the blog.

Many of the large commercial beekeepers offer tours of their facility and I'm sure some of them have created educational apiaries where the public can view the bees. I know of two that are fairly close to my home.

If you'd like to venture to Aylmer, Ontario, Canada, you can come to Clovermead for next year's competition. Dates are posted on their site at

The best way to find out what's offered in your area is to ask the local beekeeping association for your city/region. I have a list of Canadian organizations and a few for USA (sorry that list isn't complete) which you can view on my web site at

I would suggest googling beekeepers in your area. A phone call to a local beekeeper or bee association would probably get the info you're looking for.