Two experienced apiarists have shed some light on the hype around videos showing a Thai beekeeper grabbing hundreds of pollinators with his bare hands.
Clips that emerged online which reveal how Narin Srimorakotmongkol, a police officer in Phetchabun province, handles his honeybee colonies with his bare hands have astonished people all over the world.
Several short clips show Narin as he coolly scoops up dozens of honeybees with his bare hands. As the footage proves, the beekeeper remains unfazed by the hundreds of insects despite some of them resting on his neck and eyelids.
Apart from the medical facemask Narin wears in one sequence, he abstains from using any protective equipment.
He said: “At first, I was stung even while wearing a suit. However, I studied YouTube videos and learned from my experiences in dealing with the beehives.”
But he warned anyone following his example without the essential knowledge.
Narin – whose beekeeping has increased the yield of his orchard – emphasised that managing honeybees “requires a lot of expertise.”
NewsX has consulted two renowned beekeepers to find out whether there was a potential risk to the safety of the man and the insects – or if it was all just a common practice.
Ben Moore runs a booming beekeeping business in Blackburn South, just outside Melbourne.
The Australian businessman and podcast host (Bees With Ben) told NewsX: “Beekeepers are very passionate about these crucial creatures, so we are very in tune with their behaviour.”
Ben dismissed concerns that Narin’s actions could be considered irresponsible.
He explained: “Handling bees is not careless but more of a gentle way we can be in tune with them. It makes us stop and enjoy their very unique behaviour.”
Ben recently caused a stir himself by posting footage showing him coolly stretching out his hand straight at the entrance of one of his backyard hives.
Since going online on Instagram, the short clip entitled “Giving the bees a helping hand” garnered almost 3,000 views.
Dr Matthias Kopetzky is one of Austria’s most renowned economic experts and a passionate leisure-time beekeeper.
Dr Kopetzky told NewsX that “these videos are less spectacular than they seem to be.”
He said: “There’s nothing that is as peaceful as a swarm that is treated in a calm way. The clips show how slowly he is proceeding. There’s nothing wrong with it. I wouldn’t call it effective though.”
Dr Kopetzky – who engages at the Viennese Bezirksimkerei honey farms – explained that Narin could have also used a soft hand brush to help the bees find a new home.
Dr Kopetzky underlined that “the clock is ticking” for a swarm searching for a dwelling. He warned: “If it doesn’t find an appropriate location, it opts for a rather unsuitable spot – like the t-shirt in the recent video.”
Dr Kopetzky recently received a prize at the Golden Honeycomb Awards at the Bio Oesterreich (Organic Austria) Fair in Wieselburg, Lower Austria.
His vinegar-honey syrup called Oxymel was named the Austrian Farm And Craft Organic Product of the Year.
Dr Kopetzky – who took up beekeeping 10 years ago – said: “We haven’t invented Oxymel. It is based on an ancient recipe which fell into oblivion.”
Dr Kopetzky added that his team’s aim was to “revive” the vinegar-honey concoction.