IMAX Pictures via Everett Collection
Actor Morgan Freeman is preparing to become a professional apiculturist after deciding to house 26 hives of bees on his Mississippi estate.
The Shawshank Redemption star, 77, has a keen interest in helping to save the insects from extinction and has started to turn his home into a honey bee haven. He explains, "I just received, two weeks ago, 26 hives of bees, so I'm very busy... I'm beekeeping..."
"There's a concerted effort to bring bees back onto the planet... We do not realise that they are the foundation, I think, of the growth of the planet, the vegetation... I have so many flowering things and I have a gardener too. Because she takes care of the bees too, all she does is figure out, 'OK, what would they like to have?', so we've got acres and acres of clover, we're planting stuff like lavender, I've got like, maybe 140 magnolia trees, big blossoms."
However, Freeman has so far decided against donning the traditional beekeeping hat with netted veil to avoid being stung, because he insists there has been no need for the extra protection. He says, "I've not ever used (the beekeeping hat) with my bees... They haven't (stung me) yet, because right now I'm not trying to harvest honey or anything, I'm just feeding them... I think they understand, 'Hey, don't bother this guy, he's got sugar water here.'"
Freeman, who is known for his environmental activism, isn't the first celebrity to take up the hobby - he follows in the footsteps of late actor Henry Fonda and lifestyle queen Martha Stewart, while 2 Broke Girls actress Beth Behrs and her boyfriend, Mad Men star Michael Gladis, have also become amateur beekeepers.