God save the queen! If you can find her, that is.
For expert beekeeper Luis Slayton, searching out her highness is part of the job. Slayton, who owns Bee Strong Honey & Bee Removal in Texas, can often be found underneath a swarm of bees, seemingly unbothered by repetitive bee stings on his usually shirtless torso.
“I stopped questioning it a long time ago,” he said of his uncanny comfortableness with bees. “God has given me the gift to do what I do.”
Slayton grew up in the beekeeping world, and still uses much of the same equipment owned by his grandfather.
He has a passion not just for bee removal and relocation, but for educating as many folks as possible about the importance of maintaining healthy bee colonies throughout the world.
Slayton recently received a lot of attention on social media after one of his bee removal videos went viral. Standing shirtless inside a home, he prepped to tackle the seemingly monumental task of removing an enormous beehive from the ceiling and inside a wall.
While he did use a little smoke to help subdue the colony, Slayton seemed undaunted by the mass exodus of bees that poured out of the wall and onto his body. His philosophy is to keep hives alive — not extermination — and relocate them to his bee farm where the colony can be used for agricultural pollination.
He realizes his approach may be rather unorthodox, especially since many of his beekeeping colleagues wear protective gear when moving in on a bee colony.
“I get more hate from other beekeepers that can’t comprehend the fact that I’m able to do what I do,” Slayton admitted.
“I don’t do this to show off,” Slayton explained, who has hoards of online followers buzzing about his work. “I do this so people can understand that we need to save them.”
In addition to his business, Slayton is passionately pursuing his education. With a bachelor’s degree and two master’s degrees under his belt, Slayton is currently pursuing a PhD in curriculum and instruction specializing in science.
Slayton plans to use his doctorate to write curriculum about bee behavior, using his years of experience to challenge some of the older schools of thought surrounding bee colonies. “An entomologist is in a lab most of the time, but I’m interacting with the bees every day,” Slayton told Texas newspaper The Monitor.
“It makes me happy to do what I do,” a Slayton expressed. “It’s not a job for me — I do what I love to do every single day.”
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