Why the web backlash may price the TikTok Texas queen bee her crown – brinkwire

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The not-so-sweet bee behavior of the Texan queen bee has shaken the beehive – and it has to sting.

Getty Images / NurPhoto

Excuse me for saying so, but the online beekeeping community has caused quite a stir this week.

Despite reaching over 6 million followers on the TikTok video sharing app, influencer Erika Thompson – best known as @texasbeeworks – has gotten into hot water by posting practices that other beekeepers claim they don’t are only dangerous, but also against their conservation message is spreading.

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Both Thompson and Texas Beeworks have settled on TikTok, with a central message of beehives before honey. According to the Beeswork website, “We are focused on the health and wellbeing of the beehive and administer each Texas Beeworks colony with a mission to maintain a healthy honey bee population.”

Thompson’s huge success at TikTok stems from the fact that she is calm and incredibly casual among the bees, picking them up with her bare hands with little to no protective gear. While a seasoned professional may have the knowledge and understanding, it sends a dangerous message to amateur beekeepers and the general population.

@texasbeeworks

## bees ## nature ## summer ## tiktok ## fyp

♬ Original sound – Erika Thompson

The video above has been viewed over 16.8 million times since then, with 3.3 million likes on TikTok. But when it was shared on Twitter, the situation got a little more volatile. Accounts began to question the queen bee’s methods, claiming that it is full of misinformation.

I think some parts were cut out of it. She “happened” to have a queen without a beehive AND brought her with her, although she did not know if the swarm already had a queen and swarms without bees were “unusual”. Still cool video.

– Green Ink Brigade (@GreenInkBrigade) June 2, 2021

What a pot. If that weren’t her queen, the bees would “hurry” to kill her, and it takes DAYS to chew through the candy and release it; That’s the point, when they do they are used to their pheromones and they accept them. That was the original queen.

– Mo0gster (@ Mo0gster) June 1, 2021

All of you, the Texas Bee Lady is a cheat, when she “rescues” swarms the bees are incredibly docile because they are domesticated (ie someone else’s honeybees) and she smokes them excessively. She then lays them on her property and benefits like cattle.

– abbie-ham lincoln park (@ abbiesm2001) June 3, 2021

The criticism comes just days after fellow TikTok beekeeper Friday Chamberlain, known as @lahoneybeerescue, raised concerns about Thompson’s videos and their clothing (black and navy blue clothing known to antagonize bees) and editing methods (the crucial safety has pointed out practices such as checking that a swarm is defensive or docile before approaching) encourages their viewers to engage in potentially life-threatening practices.

@lahoneybeerescue

## unpopularinion

♬ Original sound – LA HoneyBee Rescue @ lahoneybeerescue

## 2

♬ Original sound – LA HoneyBee Rescue @ lahoneybeerescue

## 3

♬ Original sound – LA HoneyBee Rescue

Chamberlain has since posted about how wild the videos went viral and expressed that they never had any intention of getting that big.

TikTok’s account has been deleted since the original post – allegedly because fans of Texas Beeswork reported the account to TikTok for bullying. The account has since been restored, but there is still a lot of backlash in the comment sections of their videos.

Run, run, fashion baby

In the face of the uproar, let’s review a few of the claims.

The first is concern about Thompson’s clothes.

Thompson frequently posts TikToks wearing all-black denim or darker clothing while dealing with bees. You may be thinking, “Is fashion really that important?” Well, it turns out that most beekeepers wear mostly white protective clothing for a reason.

The way bees see is very different from human sight. Like many other insects, bees can see around 300 to 650 nanometers of the electromagnetic spectrum. How is that compared to humans? Well, it means you can see the ultraviolet spectrum but you can’t see the color red. However, it does mean that they can tell the difference between dark and light very well.

While bees are naturally drawn to the bright colors of flowers, conversely, they perceive darker colors as threatening and associate them with their usual predators such as bears and skunks. As a result, a bee facing a human in dark clothing can be put in a defensive position and attack against the perceived predator.

Beekeepers traditionally use all white protective clothing, as the lack of color makes the bees almost indifferent to their approach and allows them to conduct their business more safely.

In addition to the choice of color, it is highly recommended that bee removers either have short hair or tie their hair back so that a bee does not get stuck in the strands and panic resulting in a sting.

@lahoneybeerescue

I don’t give a shit if you think I have a bad attitude when I point out that one of my coworkers is doing something dangerous. This is my job

♬ Original sound – LA HoneyBee Rescue

“And it was another great day to save the bees”

The other central concern is that Thompson is orchestrating their rescues. And yes, content creators are staging videos all the time, so it’s fair to wonder why this should matter. The problem, however, lies in the fact that bee conservation is such an important and hot topic – and removal can be incredibly dangerous if not done properly.

While Thompson ends every video and claims that she “saved the bees” that day, what she actually does may not make much of a difference. Across the platform, Thompson has been accused of sedating the bees prior to filming, which makes them easier to deal with and perform swine removals. It is also claimed that the bees they remove are domesticated, as opposed to more aggressive swarms. While sedation shouldn’t do the bees too much harm, it doesn’t make much difference to move swarms to Thompson’s own apiary either.

@lahoneybeerescue

And all of this makes it seem like all of the wild bees in Texas are friendly, even though it’s the exact opposite. Back to your regular program

♬ Original sound – LA HoneyBee Rescue

Furthermore, according to Australian bee expert Kit Prendergast, “the honey bees she ‘saves’ are actually feral honey bees – these are invasive species and do not require any kind of conservation measures … in most countries, including the US and Australia, [honeybees] are an invasive species and threaten native wild bee populations. “

Prendergast also repeated, “Even professional honeybee removers should wear the correct PPE, and their blatant disregard for safety measures is extremely unprofessional.”

Why should we care?

The bottom line of this issue is that while Thompson’s videos are definitely entertaining, the viral nature of their site means it impacts nearly 6 million people who can see their activities and put themselves at risk instead of calling the pros.

In almost all cases, if you have a swarm of bees somewhere that shouldn’t be, the best thing you can do (for your safety and security) is to reach out to a qualified bee killer – not an exterminator – who can find a new home the bees sure.

If you do it yourself – especially the methods Thompson uses, without the proper equipment and training to do it – harm can be done to both you and the bees. Be.

CNET has approached Thompson and Texas Beeworks for comment but has not yet received a response.

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