Bees have been getting quite a bit of attention lately as this time of year marks National Bee Day. It all started with a fascinating photoshoot of Angelina Jolie, covered in bees, for the cover of National Geographic as a tribute to Richard Avedon and to raise awareness of these vital insects in our world.
As many eyes were on bees already, this video emerging from the depths of TikTok showing a professional beekeeper scooping handfuls of insects into their new home went absolutely viral with 13.5m views and counting. People online are indeed loving the fearless beekeeper, Erika Thompson from Texas Beeworks, just casually handling the swarm and sharing some really cool facts about them.
Erika Thompson, a professional beekeeper, was called to remove a swarm of bees from under an umbrella
Erika, who is the founder of Texas Beeworks, which is based in Austin, Texas, embarked on a mission to preserve, protect, and increase bee populations throughout the state. She was called to remove a swarm of bees that settled under an umbrella. Erika explains that “when bees are in swarms like this, they are looking for a new place to live,” in the meantime just casually dipping her hand into the live ball of insects.
And she actually moved them handful by handful with her bare hands
According to Erika, the bees are actually very passive as they have nothing that they would want to protect, such as food, a hive, or baby bees, but they should have a queen bee. With each handful of bees the beekeeper was taking off the umbrella, she was trying to spot the queen bee. Erika carried on scooping the bees onto the box she brought, but had no luck in finding the queen bee even when she was nearly done.
These bees were harmless as they had nothing that they needed to protect
Erika was looking for the queen bee with each scoop of live insects she moved, but no luck
Turns out, this was quite a rare case of a queen-less swarm. Erika pointed out that the colony would not be able to survive without a queen and luckily she had an extra queen bee on her and was able to give it to her rescued bunch. And the bees, as excited as bees could probably bee, were rushing to meet the new queen. Erika explained that if the bees don’t approve of the new queen, they simply kill her, but this turned out not to be the case.
But as any ninja beekeeper probably would, Erika had a spare queen in her pocket
The bee colony has to accept the new queen or else they try to kill her
The queen bee is kept in a box closed with a candy which the bees chew through
The box that the queen bee is kept in has one of its ends stopped by a piece of candy. If the bees approve of the new queen, they ‘save’ her by eating through the candy and joining her with the rest of the colony. As soon as everyone had met the new big momma, the bees started sending a signal to the remaining bees and calling them to move to the new spot so Erika just watched them move by themselves to their new home.
Once the majority of the colony has moved, the rest of the bees get into the new hive by themselves
Erika took the bees to their new home where they are safe and protected
The video finishes with Erika checking if the queen bee had been accepted by the rest of the colony. Once all of the bees had finally moved inside the new hive, the fearless beekeeper took them to her apiary “so that the bees can continue to do the important work they do in a place that’s safer for them and for people.”
And here are the comments that were ranging from funny to hilarious, but definitely spot-on