But it wasn’t just the hives at their workplace that were growing, things were also expanding at home. Emily fell pregnant in early 2017, and the couple decided to mark the event in a very idiosyncratic way. The Muellers felt it would be ideal to incorporate their love of bees with their love of family into a unique set of maternity photos. However, rather than just having the odd insect here and there, Emily decided to pose with a massive swarm of 20,000 honeybees.
According to Emily, the insects held a very important meaning to her and her husband. “Bees represent life and death,” she explained to the local news website Cleveland.com just after the shoot took place in August 2017. She continued, “We’ve had three miscarriages, so these pictures are dedicated to life and death, to all of the children we’ve had.”
After making arrangements with local photographer Kendrah Damis, the Muellers made their preparations. First they removed the queen bee from the hive. This causes the rest of the colony to want to follow her, but first they load up on honey to sustain them for the journey. Feeding so much makes them nice and docile – the ideal state for what the Muellers had in mind. To achieve the effect she was looking for, Emily held the queen bee in a small container. This caused the rest of her hive to swarm on to her baby bump, and Damis did her thing. Unsurprisingly, when the Muellers posted the breathtaking images online, they created quite a buzz.