Beekeeper stuns TikTok by scooping up swarms of buzzing bees with her BARE HANDS – Daily Mail

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A video of a Texas beekeeper scooping up live bees with her bare hands has gone viral, racking up 18.5 million views on TikTok,

Erika Thompson, a professional beekeeper based in Austin, shares quite a lot of videos of herself bravely handling thousands of the buzzing insects on her TikTok account, @texasbeeworks.

In her most recent clip, which she shared earlier this week, she documents how she was called to remove a swarm of bees from an outdoor umbrella — which she did with no fear, scooping them up handful by handful and loading them into a hive with the help of an extra queen bee that she had in her pocket.

Buzzworthy! A video of a Texas beekeeper scooping up live bees with her bare hands has gone viral, racking up 18.5 million views on TikTok

Buzzworthy! A video of a Texas beekeeper scooping up live bees with her bare hands has gone viral, racking up 18.5 million views on TikTok

Buzzworthy! A video of a Texas beekeeper scooping up live bees with her bare hands has gone viral, racking up 18.5 million views on TikTok

Viral: Erika Thompson, a professional beekeeper based in Austin, shares quite a lot of videos of herself bravely handling thousands of the buzzing insects

Viral: Erika Thompson, a professional beekeeper based in Austin, shares quite a lot of videos of herself bravely handling thousands of the buzzing insects

Viral: Erika Thompson, a professional beekeeper based in Austin, shares quite a lot of videos of herself bravely handling thousands of the buzzing insects

Wow! In her most recent clip, which she shared earlier this week, she documents how she was called to remove a swarm of bees from an outdoor umbrella

Wow! In her most recent clip, which she shared earlier this week, she documents how she was called to remove a swarm of bees from an outdoor umbrella

Wow! In her most recent clip, which she shared earlier this week, she documents how she was called to remove a swarm of bees from an outdoor umbrella

‘A swarm of bees settled under this umbrella and I was called to remove them. So I started scooping bees off the umbrella and putting them into a hive,’ she explains in the video.

‘When bees are in swarms like this, it means that they’re looking for a new place to live,’ she said.

She shows a huge swarm of bees that have collected on an umbrella set up above a picnic table at an apartment building.

Erika explained why she doesn’t fear the bees, which would send many people running. 

‘They tend to be very docile since they don’t have any resources to defend. They don’t have a hive, food or baby bees to protect,’ she said.

‘But they should have a queen. So with every handful of bees I scooped, I spent time searching for the queen. I operated this process over and over again,’ she continued.

‘By the time I removed most of the bees, I still had not seen the queen. And I realized this was an unusual case of a queenless swarm,’ she said.

'When bees are in swarms like this, it means that they're looking for a new place to live,' she said

'When bees are in swarms like this, it means that they're looking for a new place to live,' she said

‘When bees are in swarms like this, it means that they’re looking for a new place to live,’ she said

'They tend to be very docile since they don't have any resources to defend. They don't have a hive, food or baby bees to protect,' she said'They tend to be very docile since they don't have any resources to defend. They don't have a hive, food or baby bees to protect,' she said

'They tend to be very docile since they don't have any resources to defend. They don't have a hive, food or baby bees to protect,' she said'They tend to be very docile since they don't have any resources to defend. They don't have a hive, food or baby bees to protect,' she said

'But they should have a queen. So with every handful of bees I scooped, I spent time searching for the queen. I operated this process over and over again,' she continued

'But they should have a queen. So with every handful of bees I scooped, I spent time searching for the queen. I operated this process over and over again,' she continued

‘They tend to be very docile since they don’t have any resources to defend. They don’t have a hive, food or baby bees to protect,’ she said

Hands-on: Erika doesn't use any protective gear while handling bees in her videos

Hands-on: Erika doesn't use any protective gear while handling bees in her videos

Hands-on: Erika doesn’t use any protective gear while handling bees in her videos

‘The colony would not survive without a queen, but luckily I had an extra queen on me that I could give them,’ she added.

That’s when she pulled a queen bee out of the front pocket of her shirt. The bee was inside a small box with a mesh top.

‘As soon as I gave the queen to the colony, they rushed to meet her,’ she said.

‘If they didn’t accept her, they would try to kill her. If they did accept her, they would release her from the box by chewing through a piece of candy that stops up one end.

‘As soon as the bees in the hive met the new queen, the began sending signals to the other bees to move off the umbrella and into the box.

‘So I waited in the swarm of bees as the colony moved into their new home,’ she said.

The bees had almost all moved within 15 minutes, and Erika saw that they were accepting the new queen. Finally, she packed up the hime and brought it to her apiary on the Colorado River ‘so they could continue the important work they do that’s safer for them and for people!’

Helper: When she realized these bees didn't have a queen, she pulled a spare out of her pocket

Helper: When she realized these bees didn't have a queen, she pulled a spare out of her pocket

Helper: When she realized these bees didn’t have a queen, she pulled a spare out of her pocket

Newbie: She gave the bees time to adjust to their new queen in the hive

Newbie: She gave the bees time to adjust to their new queen in the hive

Newbie: She gave the bees time to adjust to their new queen in the hive

Newbie: She gave the bees time to adjust to their new queen in the hive

Newbie: She gave the bees time to adjust to their new queen in the hive 

'Nothing compares to going into a wild hive of bees and not knowing what you¿re going to find,' she said

'Nothing compares to going into a wild hive of bees and not knowing what you¿re going to find,' she said

‘Nothing compares to going into a wild hive of bees and not knowing what you’re going to find,’ she said

Yay! The bees had almost all moved within 15 minutes, and Erika saw that they were accepting the new queen

Yay! The bees had almost all moved within 15 minutes, and Erika saw that they were accepting the new queen

Yay! The bees had almost all moved within 15 minutes, and Erika saw that they were accepting the new queen

Erika has earned quite a bit of press for her beekeeping videos, and previously told the Washington Post why she loves what she does.   

‘Nothing compares to going into a wild hive of bees and not knowing what you’re going to find. You take off the cover, and you get to meet the bees,’ she said. ‘It’s just extraordinary to get to see what the bees built without any human intervention or interference.

‘Most of the time when I tell people I’m a beekeeper, they say, “Oh, you’re a bookkeeper?”

‘I don’t know what has really captivated people, because for me, it’s just so normal. Maybe it’s people seeing something that they’ve never seen before and maybe that they didn’t know was possible,’ she went on.

‘Most bees, and most honeybees, are docile and do not want to sting you.’

But while certainly has lots of fans, including six million TikTok followers, she also has a few vocal critics.

New home: She packed up the hime and brought it to her apiary on the Colorado River 'so they could continue the important work they do that's safer for them and for people!'

New home: She packed up the hime and brought it to her apiary on the Colorado River 'so they could continue the important work they do that's safer for them and for people!'

New home: She packed up the hime and brought it to her apiary on the Colorado River ‘so they could continue the important work they do that’s safer for them and for people!’

Drama: Recently, she has come under fire from another TikTok beekeeper for her methods

Drama: Recently, she has come under fire from another TikTok beekeeper for her methods

Drama: Recently, she has come under fire from another TikTok beekeeper for her methods

Recently, TikTok has been caught up in some bee drama after several other beekeepers criticized Erika for relocating the bees and possibly endangering others by handling them without protective equipment. 

‘I’m 100% okay with her showing how docile swarms are, but the fact is that she goes into removals without wearing any safety gear, wearing black leggings, a black tank top, and a dark blue shirt that’s unbuttoned overtop and knotted,’ said user @LAHoneyBeeRescue.

‘She’s setting a very dangerous precedent,’ the TikToker added.

‘What she’s doing, going and opening hives with her hair down, wearing dark clothes with exposed skin, is dangerous,’ @LAHoneyBeeRescue continued, claiming that Erika’s husband does other things off-camera that viewers don’t see. 

‘She doesn’t show her wearing protective gear when she analyzes the hive at first. She shows herself removing comb her husband has pre-cut for her very courteously,’ @LAHoneyBeeRescue said.  

Buzz-worthy! Erika Thompson is a professional beekeeper based in Austin. In a recent viral video, she demonstrates how she removed a hive from the floor of a shed

Buzz-worthy! Erika Thompson is a professional beekeeper based in Austin. In a recent viral video, she demonstrates how she removed a hive from the floor of a shed

Buzz-worthy! Erika Thompson is a professional beekeeper based in Austin. In a recent viral video, she demonstrates how she removed a hive from the floor of a shed

Something else! Commenters have expressed both horror and awe over her casual handling of the bees

Something else! Commenters have expressed both horror and awe over her casual handling of the bees

Something else! Commenters have expressed both horror and awe over her casual handling of the bees

Erika has gone viral for her videos before, including one last year in which she held a handful of bees with her bare hands and took a bite out of their honeycomb as they swarmed around her. 

‘Here’s how I removed a beehive from a backyard shed,’ she saidin the clip, explaining that the bees were living under the floor — which she could see from the side of the shed, where several of the bees were swarming.

‘I found the hive entrance, but to see the size and location, I used my thermal camera,’ she said. 

When the thermal camera picked up the spot of the floor where the largest number of bees had gathered, Erika used power tools to cut into that area.

For protective equipment, Erika had only a hat with a veil over her face, though her hands were completely bare. 

‘I carefully lifted the piece I cut out and discovered a beautiful hive full of honey,’ she said, zooming in with her camera.

‘Since the bees were gentle and it was over 100 degrees out, I took off my veil, enjoyed some fresh honey, and went to work removing bees.’

'Here's how I removed a beehive from a backyard shed,' she says in the clip, explaining that the bees were living under the floor

'Here's how I removed a beehive from a backyard shed,' she says in the clip, explaining that the bees were living under the floor

‘Here’s how I removed a beehive from a backyard shed,’ she says in the clip, explaining that the bees were living under the floor

'I found the hive entrance, but to see the size and location, I used my thermal camera,' she says

'I found the hive entrance, but to see the size and location, I used my thermal camera,' she says

Sleuthing: When her thermal camera picked up the spot of the floor where the largest number of bees had gathered, Erika used power tools to cut into that area

Sleuthing: When her thermal camera picked up the spot of the floor where the largest number of bees had gathered, Erika used power tools to cut into that area

Sleuthing: When her thermal camera picked up the spot of the floor where the largest number of bees had gathered, Erika used power tools to cut into that area

Yikes! She lifts up the floor to reveal the hive, which is swarming with thousands of bees

Yikes! She lifts up the floor to reveal the hive, which is swarming with thousands of bees

Yikes! She lifts up the floor to reveal the hive, which is swarming with thousands of bees

What gloves? For protective equipment, Erika had only a hat with a veil over her face, though her hands were completely bare.

What gloves? For protective equipment, Erika had only a hat with a veil over her face, though her hands were completely bare.

She says: 'Since the bees were gentle and it was over 100 degrees out, I took off my veil, enjoyed some fresh honey, and went to work removing bees'

She says: 'Since the bees were gentle and it was over 100 degrees out, I took off my veil, enjoyed some fresh honey, and went to work removing bees'

What gloves? For protective equipment, Erika had only a hat with a veil over her face, though her hands were completely bare.

When she said she enjoyed ‘fresh’ honey, she meant it: Erika simply picked up a piece of honeycomb straight from the spot under the floor and took a small bite, licking her lips as live bees flew about.

But that wasn’t even the most shocking part. 

‘I scooped the bees into a temporary travel hive while looking for the queen,’ she said next, as she shows herself gently picking up dozens of bees with her bare hands and moving them over to the travel hive.

‘As a professional bee keeper, I’ve learned how to read the bees’ behavior and could tell that these bees could not sting me,’ she added.

The video continues to show her dipping her hand into the hole in the floor, where thousands of moving bees have concentrated.

‘Next, I removed the comb structure of the hive that had baby bees and food, and I put it into frames so that the bees would have everything they need in their new home,’ she went on.

No big deal! Erika didn't appear afraid to have so many bees around her

No big deal! Erika didn't appear afraid to have so many bees around her

No big deal! Erika didn’t appear afraid to have so many bees around her

Erika simply picked up a piece of honeycomb straight from the spot under the floor and took a small bite, licking her lips as live bees flew about

Erika simply picked up a piece of honeycomb straight from the spot under the floor and took a small bite, licking her lips as live bees flew about

Erika simply picked up a piece of honeycomb straight from the spot under the floor and took a small bite, licking her lips as live bees flew about

'I scooped the bees into a temporary travel hive while looking for the queen,' she says

'I scooped the bees into a temporary travel hive while looking for the queen,' she says

‘I scooped the bees into a temporary travel hive while looking for the queen,’ she says

Brave! She shows herself gently picking up dozens of bees with her bare hands and moving them over to the travel hive

Brave! She shows herself gently picking up dozens of bees with her bare hands and moving them over to the travel hive

Brave! She shows herself gently picking up dozens of bees with her bare hands and moving them over to the travel hive

That’s when she saw the queen surrounded by her attending bees. This made the job easier, as Erika was able to put the queen in a clip and move that over to the travel case.

‘All of the other bees followed her into the new hive,’ she said.

‘So I closed up the hive, carefully picked it up, loaded it into my truck to take the bees to their new home, and it was another great day of saving the bees,’ she concluded. 

While the clip has certainly left some viewers feeling unsettled, honeybees are actually fairly docile, and less likely to sting than a wasp or hornet.

According to PBS, hives contain about 60,000 female honeybees, or worker bees, which can sting. The male drones do not sting. 

While the worker bees do sting, they’ll only do so to defend the hive — which is part of their main job, along with gathering nectar and pollinating. 

There she is! That's when she saw the queen surrounded by her attending bees

There she is! That's when she saw the queen surrounded by her attending bees

There she is! That’s when she saw the queen surrounded by her attending bees

This made the job easier, as Erika was able to put the queen in a clip and move that over to the travel case

This made the job easier, as Erika was able to put the queen in a clip and move that over to the travel case

'All of the other bees followed her into the new hive,' she says

'All of the other bees followed her into the new hive,' she says

A cinch! This made the job easier, as Erika was able to put the queen in a clip and move that over to the travel case. ‘All of the other bees followed her into the new hive,’ she says

'So I closed up the hive, carefully picked it up, loaded it into my truck to take the bees to their new home, and it was another great day of saving the bees,' she concludes

'So I closed up the hive, carefully picked it up, loaded it into my truck to take the bees to their new home, and it was another great day of saving the bees,' she concludes

'So I closed up the hive, carefully picked it up, loaded it into my truck to take the bees to their new home, and it was another great day of saving the bees,' she concludes

'So I closed up the hive, carefully picked it up, loaded it into my truck to take the bees to their new home, and it was another great day of saving the bees,' she concludes

‘So I closed up the hive, carefully picked it up, loaded it into my truck to take the bees to their new home, and it was another great day of saving the bees,’ she concludes

Unlike a wasp, honeybees also die after stinging, since their stinger will detach from their body as they move to pull it out of their victim.

Despite the relative safety, Erika’s video still elicited some strong reactions on social media.

‘Man she really just went wrist deep in those bees,’ wrote one.

‘That is fascinating and completely terrifying,’ wrote another, while a third said, ‘Dead. I would be dead. I’m dying.’

Others, though, have been incredibly impressed with Erika’s bravery, calling her ‘amazing,’ ‘awesome,’ ‘wholesome,’ and ‘like a Disney princess.’ 

 

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