A professional beekeeper shocked the world after she shared a video of herself handling bees barehanded.
Erika Thompson from Austin, Texas recorded the moment she was requested to remove a swarm of bees from an outdoor umbrella. In the video, she simply takes the insects wearing no protective equipment and puts them in a hive. Also, she was seen removing a queen bee from her place and using it to lure the others out of the umbrella.
Even though Erika has shared a number of videos of her bee-related stunts on social media, her newest video went viral and has been seen nearly 20 million times!
View this post on Instagram
In the clip, she explains how she does what she does best.
“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,” Erika said. “When bees are in swarms like this, it means that they’re looking for a new place to live.”
Afterward, she shows her followers a giant swam that had occupied an umbrella, which is placed on a table at an apartment building. Erika then talks about why she is fearless when it comes to bees.
“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.”
“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.
View this post on Instagram
And she knew exactly how to handle the situation.
“The colony would not survive without a queen, but luckily I had an extra queen on me that I could give them,” she said. As soon as I gave the queen to the colony, they rushed to meet her. 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, they 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.”
In about 15 minutes, most of the bees had flown to their new base after accepting the new queen.
After that, Erika took them and transported them to her Colorado River apiary, so they could keep working without disturbing human beings.
In another video, Erika was seen removing a beehive from the floor of a shed, scooping the bees out as if they were made of some sort of sticky liquid.
“Here’s how I removed a beehive from a backyard shed,” she said in the video.
The crazy thing is, she only used a hat with a veil to cover her face as ‘protective equipment.
She went on to say:
“I carefully lifted the piece I cut out and discovered a beautiful hive full of honey. 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.”
For Erika, beekeeping is a way of living life as an adventure.
In an interview for the Washington Post she said:
“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. It’s just extraordinary to get to see what the bees built without any human intervention or interference. Most bees, and most honeybees, are docile and do not want to sting you.”
While Erika has been praised for her bravery, she has also faced criticism for setting a dangerous precedent.
A fellow beekeeper who goes by the handle @LAHonetBeeRescue called Erika out for being a ‘fake.
“What she’s doing, going and opening hives with her hair down, wearing dark clothes with exposed skin, is dangerous,” she said. “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.”
What are your thoughts on this story? Let us know by joining the conversation in the comments and please share if you’ve enjoyed the read.