Today was the Philadelphia Beekeepers Guild annual picnic. It’s a day full of socializing with fellow bee enthusiasts, drinking mead and exploring the amazing homestead of our gracious hosts the Veitch family. The highlight of the day was the “bee beard”.
For months I’ve been talking with bee beard expert Don Shump of the Philadelphia Bee Company about apprenticing him and learning how to do a bee beard. He was happy to provide the bees and much to my parents chagrin, I ended the day with hundreds of bees on my face.
The concept of a bee beard is simple, if you put a queen in a cage and tie it so that it hangs just below your chin, her pheromones will attract the bees of her hive to clump around her, and make a “beard” on your face.
I used a shoelace and some pushpins To hang the screened-in wooden queen cage just below my chin. Don then took the package of bees and dumped them onto me. – The feeling of a couple hundred bees being dumped into your lap is indescribable -. The bees slowly crawled up my shirt to their queen. To get them off don “shaved” the bee beard with a bee vacuum. I ended up with bee mutton chops and bee sideburns before the bees were completely off me.
The day was a blast and I may be doing another bee beard again before too long. If you’d like to see me and/or other beekeepers do a bee beard, come to the Philadelphia Honey Festival. It’s the first weekend after Labor Day at the Wagner Free Institute, Wyck House and Bartram’s Gardens. Check it out, it’s gonna be a blast!