Emily Mueller, a mother of three from Akron, Ohio, is known locally as "the bee whisperer." She and her husband Ryan run Mueller Honey Bee Rescue, a company that specializes in removing bee colonies from homes and business without harming the bees or their hives. Mueller is also pregnant with the couple's fourth child, and knew she wanted to do something special for her last maternity session.
Mueller told IndeOnline.com that the connection she has with bees is spiritual. "Bees represent life and death," she said to Cleveland.com. "We've had three miscarriages, so these pictures are dedicated to life and death, to all of the children we've had."
Image: Facebook / Kendrah Damis Photography
The expectant mother recruited her friend, photographer Kendrah Damis, to help her pull off her idea: a belly covered with bees. Credit to Damis for not flinching at the suggestion. “I wouldn’t have done this for just anyone but I know Emily is a talented beekeeper," she said.
On the day of the shoot, Emily and her husband rescued the four-pound swarm of bees that was used in the photo. Mueller held the Queen Bee in a small cage on her lap, and over 20,000 bees to swarm her stomach as a resting place.
“It’s no different than a tree or a fence,” Mueller noted. “They were looking for the pheromones of the queen.”
This next photo is definitely unique, but seriously, I would be too scared.
Mueller said that there was no danger to her growing baby. Before the bees left their former home, they'd filled their bellies with honey to build a new hive.
“When their bellies are full of honey they don’t bend and they won’t sting or attack since they don’t have a hive or babies to protect. They are focused on a new place to live,” Mueller explained. Mueller also fed the honey bees sugar water so she'd be certain they were full.
The Mueller's honey bee rescue already receives 20-30 requests for service each day. With Emily's maternity session going viral, we wouldn't be surprised if that number goes up significantly.
(Image: Facebook / Kendrah Damis Photography)