The sight of Sara Mapelli swarmed with bees in her naked chest may look discomforting. Bees, after all, may sting and they often do so in numbers. Beestings are also painful and even potentially deadly to those who have insect sting allergy.
The 44-year-old Mapelli, however, is used to interacting with bees. She actually began dancing wearing a "bee-blouse" composed of 12,000 bees more than a decade ago. Mapelli's interaction with bees isn't sting and pain-free though. She related that her first dance with the bees was very painful. She also said that she had been stung many times albeit she considers this as a form of healing.
Mapelli, who is also an artist and energy healer, related that the first group of bees that lands on her cause extreme pain because the insects cling to her hair, armpits, breasts and chin. Nonetheless, she considers the stinging of the bees as a gift. She also said that she continues dancing with the bees so people would have a better understanding of these insects and make them less afraid of bees.
"The first set of bees land and pinch my skin, holding on with their little feet - then the rest of them hang off of those bees," Mapelli said. "As the sound of the bees buzzing took over it felt like I was in a tornado of bees - I got lost in an incredible meditation."
The beekeeper from Portland, Oregon, who keeps eight beehives with her partner Theodore Holdt, said that she uses a special pheromone oil that gives off scent equivalent to that of a hundred queen bees to make the bees come to her. She then keeps the insects in her naked chest for about two hours at a time.
Once done with the dancing, somebody helps Mapelli remove the pheromone oil from her neck. She then jumps quickly to make the bees fall. The remaining bees are then brushed off of her body.
In a video she uploaded to YouTube, the self-proclaimed "Bee Queen" demonstrated her bee dance. She also described what it feels like to dance with 12,000 bees. "It is a deep meditation and I feel the hive mind surround me, hold me, and expand my body on a cellular level," Mapelli said.