Hou Dongming, the "bee-man", sits amid a swarm of bees to demonstrate his command of them on Monday, September 24, 2007, in a village near Siping, Jilin Province in northeast China. [Photo: New Culture View]
A professional beekeeper stunned onlookers by performing an unusual "bee-man show", letting thousands upon thousands of bees creep all over his body, on Monday in a village near Siping, Jilin Province in northeast China.
Once considered as a consummate skill among beekeepers, the "bee-man show", which demonstrates the beekeeper's control over his pets, has become a lost tradition in many parts of China.
The performer, Hou Dongming, 33, is a local beekeeper in Siping's Pingxi County. Hou said that he learned the skill from his father, Hou Wanfu, 60, who can also perform the stunning show, New Culture View reports.
Hou sat still among dozens of beehives, wearing a hat, a pair of black swimming goggles and tightly-sealed trousers. In addition, his upper body was naked, and his nostrils and ear holes stuffed with soft paper.
Besides this attire, a necklace with a small cage, in which a queen bee was kept, was tied around his neck. The queen bee emits a message that attracts the other bees.
Hou's father began to drive bees onto his son's body, and within half an hour much of his body was covered up. It was estimated that the swarm was made up of some 60,000 bees.
After the show, 10 sting marks were found on Hou's back and head.
Hou said that the best time to perform the show is in June, when bees are at their best mood.
The region's "bee-man show" record was set by his father, when on his 60th birthday the old man let 100,000 bees infest him.
The Hou family has a tradition of breeding bees: they keep over 300 beehives, the largest number in Siping.
Hou Wanfu revealed that it is necessary to feed the bees before starting the show to make sure they are in a good mood. Otherwise, more stings will be the result.
"Such a show is rare in our country; we are the only ones who can do this in northeast China." Hou Wanfu said.