Hello. This is a very pregnant mum. Covered in 20,000 bees.

The maternity shoot formula is pretty simple. Sunrise. Flowy dress. Bare feet. Maybe a flower crown. Blissful mother looking down lovingly at her stomach, while trying not to think about her aching back, swollen ankles and desperate need to wee for the fifth time that morning.

But if you’re looking for something little more creative, why not take a leaf out of US mum Emily Mueller’s book and toss in a 1.8kg swarm of bees.*

The Ohio mother of three – who runs an apiary – had already hired her longtime friend, Kendrah Damis, as the photographer when she came up with the idea.

The idea to pose with 20,000 live bees on her belly. Bees, as in the ones that make honey, and sting you.

“I was like, OK. I am a pretty calm person so not too much gets me overly reactive,” Damis told Mamamia.

“We scheduled the day, and to make the bees swarm her she held the queen bee in a container in her hand on her tummy. I wasn’t scared, just a little uneasy having them buzzing around me and landing on me.”

Gallery: Click through to see the maternity shoot photos. (Post continues…)

As the owner of Mueller Honey Bee Rescue, the 33-year-old knows how to handle the insects, and tested their stress levels before she cast them in the shoot.

“When I approach bees, I know if they are aggressive or not based on their behaviour and their response to me,” she told People.

Still, just in case, she fed them sugar water in the lead up so they would be too full to bend their little bodies and sting her, or the Parks and Recreation man watching, or Damis.


Mueller told People her doctor was in the loop, as was her midwife.

“I am in my beehives on a regular basis, I do it as a full time job so for me it’s normal to have bees on me,” she said.

“People feel like I’m endangering my child, but it’s due to a lack of education on honey bees — they don’t understand how gentle they really are.” (* Again, please, for the love of God, see the footnote.)

As for the result…

“Emily is over the moon about the photos and the exposure that will hopefully help people understand more about honey bees and their importance to our environment,” Damis told Mamamia.

While the photographer’s fledgling business, Kendrah Damis Photography, is already getting serious buzz – sorry – after this shoot, she doesn’t have any plans to continue the whole live stinging insect theme.

She is, however, working on “something super awesome” for Emily’s newborn session.

* We hope we don’t really need to say this, but our lawyers think we should. Please definitely do not intentionally cover yourself with a swarm of bees. Ever. Under any circumstances. Emily is a professional beekeeper. She knows what she’s doing. You almost certainly do not.