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Bee bearding contest

Wang Dalin was the winner of a bee bearding competition held in Shaoyang City

Wang Dalin was the winner of a bee bearding competition held in Shaoyang City

Bee bearding contest is the practice of wearing several hundred thousand honey bees on the face, usually as a sideshow-type demonstration at agricultural shows. Though beekeepers since ancient times have allowed bees to rest on their bodies in order to demonstrate their rapport with the insects, the practice of congregating measurable quantities of bees on the face was initiated by Petro Prokopovych, a Ukrainian beekeeper, in the 1830s. The practice spread to various “freak” exhibitions at American carnivals by the end of the nineteenth century.

Bee bearding contest

The event attracted a large crowd of fascinated onlookers. Bee bearding contest in Shaoyang

The Guinness Book of Records includes a category for “most pounds of bees worn on the body,” which is currently held by American animal trainer Mark Biancaniello. Biancaniello successfully wore 350,000 bees, weighing just over 87 pounds, during a 1998 broadcast of the Guinness World Records: Primetime television show.

Bee bearding contest

Second place was given to Lv Kongjiang in the ‘bee bearding’ competition

A 2005 attempt to break the record by Irish beekeeper Philip McCabe, who was to wear a full one hundred pounds of bees, failed when only 60 pounds of bees landed on his body. McCabe was using Irish black bees, which are larger than Italian honey bees, so fewer bees (around 300,000) would have been required to reach 100 pounds than it took Biancaniello to reach 87 pounds. Bee bearding records are calculated by weight, not number of bees, because of this variation across honey bee strains.

Bee bearding contest

20-year-old farmer Lv Kongjiang managed to attract a slightly lower 22.9 kg

Bee bearding contest

Bee bearding competition in Shaoyang, Hunan Province, China

Bee bearding competition in Shaoyang, Hunan Province, China

Bee bearding competition in Shaoyang, Hunan Province, China

Beekeeper Wang Dalin was crowned the winner after attracting 26.86kg of bees onto his body in 60 minutes, according to local newspaper reports

Beekeeper Wang Dalin was crowned the winner after attracting 26.86kg of bees onto his body in 60 minutes, according to local newspaper reports

Beekeeper Wang Dalin, 42, stands with bees covering his body on a weighing scale during a 'bee-bearding' competition

Beekeeper Wang Dalin, 42, stands with bees covering his body on a weighing scale during a ‘bee-bearding’ competition

dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2015729/