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Saudi beekeeper becomes internet celebrity

MAKKAH: A Saudi beekeeper has become an internet celebrity after images showing him standing covered in a swarm of thousands of bees went viral on social media.
Zuhair Fatani, a member of the Saudi Beekeepers’ Committee, said he managed to last for 80 minutes with about 49 kg of bees completely covering his entire body. He was stung several times and his breathing was affected during the experience, which would be the stuff of nightmares for most people.
“The stings focused on my feet,” said Fatani. “I was barely breathing and it was hard for me to stay standing. I could not last more than 80 minutes and I could not speak because of all the bees in my mouth. It led to me suffering from muscle tension and inflammation of my respiratory tract.”
Despite this, he loves working with bees and points out that while they might appear scary, they are very good for humans.
“Bee stings and the honey they produce are very beneficial to the body and can help cure many diseases,” he said.
When Fatani, who works at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, started working with bees he had only three hives but now has 30, which can produce 800 kg of honey. He travels the country searching for the best flowers for the bees to feed on and ways to protect them from heat waves and cold weather.
“I acquired scientific knowledge and practical experience from specialists in Taif,” he said. “Agricultural engineers also taught me about the principles of beekeeping and the best valleys, flowers and fruits for the production of honey.”
He carries a camera in his car at all times to record the moments when bees swarm his body, and said that the photos that have gone viral on social media were actually taken 12 years ago.

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