The Hong Kong beekeeper harvesting hives barehanded
Skill is the buzz word
The 62-year-old effortlessly moves through bush and dense thickets, far from the official hiking trails, and pauses at a hole in the hillside he knows will contain a bee colony.
Lighting five incense sticks to placate the bees, he waits for the smoke to take effect and then reaches into the hole, removing chunks of the hive along with handfuls of bees.
"If you wear gloves, then you don't know how much strength you're using," he said. "If you use too much strength and accidentally kill the queen, it's very troublesome, it'll be very hard to take the hive back."
He searches for the queen as stragglers buzz around him -- a crucial part of the operation as the other bees in the hive are fiercely attracted to her.
"Without the queen, they will get angry and go looking for her everywhere. If they can't find her they will fly right back out of the cage. They'll fly around everywhere to find her and start stinging like crazy," he said.
"Why would I need those things? I know their nature like I know my own hand. No matter how mean they are I still have a way to tame them," he explained.
Back at his farm, Yip uses wire to attach the honeycomb to wooden frames, which are then slotted into wooden crates. Then he pulls out handfuls of bees from the drawstring bag and places them gently in their new home.
Smooth as honey
It was on the Chinese mainland Yip learned his skills, in the wake of Mao's famine when millions starved and people took whatever steps they could to survive.
He switched to full-time beekeeping after economic reforms under Deng Xiaoping in the late 1970s allowed private businesses to flourish.
Starting from scratch
He had to start his beekeeping from scratch, building boxes for the colonies out of scraps of discarded wood.
Start of a business
But as the global climate warms and fuels bigger storms, his livelihood — and Hong Kong's bee population — face increasing challenges to their survival.
Threat to wild bees
Last year Typhoon Mangkhut -- the most intense storm on record in Hong Kong -- tore through the city, knocking down tens of thousands of trees and flattening huge swathes of pollinating flowers.
"Last year this hole was full to bursting, but it wasn't like that this year," he said, referencing the hillside where he had just plucked out the hive.
"That first hive I picked up has not recovered at all," he lamented. "Typhoon Mangkhut was too strong, it felled over half of the trees and flowers... without the plants, the bees naturally reproduced more slowly."
Scientists warn rising temperatures will increase the frequency of more powerful storms like Mangkhut.
While Yip plans to continue trekking into the hills as long as he can, he hopes the typhoons of the future will give Hong Kong and his favourite bee colonies a miss.