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Bees don’t just produce delicious honey, they’re also the world’s most important pollinator of food crops. Around one third of the food that we consume each day relies on bee pollination, which is why it’s so important to do what we can to preserve and protect them. No one understands this more than professional beekeeper Erika Thompson (of Texas Beeworks). She was recently dubbed a “Bee Whisperer” after a video of her moving bees to a safe place with her bare hands went viral online.
Thompson was contacted by a family who had beehives under the floorboards of their backyard shed for the last two years. The landlord of the property wanted to call in the exterminators, but the family wanted to save the bees, so they asked Thompson for help. The Texan beekeeper offers live bee removal and relocation as one of her services, so she knew exactly what to do.
A video posted by Thompson on TikTok and YouTube reveals how she calmly removes two sections of floor boards to reveal the beehive. She then reaches in (without any protective gear) to carefully move honeycomb sections and handfuls of bees to their new, purpose-built hive. The attentive beekeeper made sure to put the pieces of honeycomb in the new hive in the same order that the bees built them, so that they’re not disorientated in the new space.
Thompson also used puffs of smoke to encourage the bees in the right direction. It doesn’t harm them, but they move away from the smoke and emit pheromones, allowing them to communicate. Thompson even scooped up the queen bee inside a plastic clip, and moved her to the new hive. Before long, the worker bees began to happily “march right in” to their new home. “Once the queen was in the new hive, some bees began sending signals to help the other bees find their way home,” Thompson says in the video. “I left the hive overnight and by the next day the entire colony was in their new home, and it was another great day of saving the bees.”
Thompson wears protective gear when she needs to, but most often, she relies on the mutual trust she and the insects seem to have. “As a bug lover, I just love holding bees,” she says. “This is what I should be doing on this planet, and when you find that purpose, there's a natural calming effect.”
Check out Thompson in action below.