One of the platform’s most popular Tiktokeuse beekeepers stirred up controversy by posting a video of her moving a swarm of bees. Between accusations of video manipulation and non-compliance with safety instructions, many Internet users and professionals have criticized his methods.
Hair pulled back, dressed simply in jeans and a shirt, Erika Thompson, the creator of the Tiktok Texas Beeworks account, approaches a swarm of bees, installed in the grooves of a parasol. ” I was called to take care of this swarm “, Can we hear Erika Thompson in the video,” it must be moved “. Then Erika Thompson plunges her bare hand into the bee swarm, pulls out a handful, and explains in a calm way, as if all this is normal, that the swarm is just looking for a new place to settle, and that the bees are in this particular case very docile.
First of all, let’s be clear: you shouldn’t put your unprotected hand in a swarm of bees. This is a terrible idea, and that’s exactly why Erika Thompson’s video first got Tiktok users reacting. Then the story went further.
What first made him jump Friday Chamberlain, another Tiktokeuse beekeeper, it is the lack of protection of Erika Thompson on this video. Normally, beekeepers wear a special suit when they have to move hives: bees can be aggressive, and try to sting people who get too close to their hive.
Yet Erika Thompson takes no precautions, and even has a dangerous attitude not only for herself, but especially for the bees. Indeed, bees react very violently to dark colors such as black – like the top that Erika Thompson wears, so. Another big issue raised by Friday Chamberlain: Erika Thompson has long hair, and she hasn’t tied it up: it’s loose. It can be very dangerous if the bees get stuck in it, as they might feel threatened, and start stinging. However, bees die when they use their sting – not tying your hair is a potentially dangerous situation for both beekeepers and bees.
All this could have been trivial: if a beekeeper does not take the protective measures usually recommended, that is his problem. Only, here it is: lhe Texas Beeworks account has over 6 million subscribers, and the video has been viewed over 17 million times.
A smoky hive and a manipulated scenario?
Above all, many Internet users accused Texas Beework of having manipulated the video. Indeed, the way the bees react to its presence would be strange, and the bees much too docile. ” It’s a scam », Warns a Twitter user. ” When Texas Beeworks “saves” the bees, they are far too docile, because they are domesticated and have smoked them too much [la fumée est un moyen de calmer les abeilles, ndlr]. Then she puts the beehive on her property, and gets all the profit “.
Y’all the Texas Bee lady is a fraud, when she “rescues” swarms, the bees are incredibly docile because they’re domesticated (ie someone else’s honeybees) and she oversmokes them. She then puts them on her property and profits off of them like livestock.
– abbie-ham lincoln park (@ abbiesm2001) June 3, 2021
It would therefore not really be a question of ” beehive rescue », Contrary to what Texas Beeworks claims. But that’s not all: another passage is thus strongly criticized, the one where Erika Thompson announces that the swarm she must move does not have a queen, and that she has one on her.
According to Friday Chamberlain, the fact that the swarm immediately accepts this new queen is not possible, and everything would indicate that Texas Beeworks would have simply faked the video and put the “real” queen back in her hive. Indeed, the arrival of a new queen is not trivial for a hive: if the bees do not accept the new queen, they can kill the latter.
For a new queen to be accepted, beekeepers therefore resort to a special technique, which helps the bees to recognize the pheromones of the new arrival: the new queen is ” locked up In a sugar cocoon, which the bees must eat in order to release it. By doing this, the bees get used to the new queen, which they then recognize as their own.
However, this technique takes a lot of time, at least a few days. So how quickly the bees seem to be accepting the new queen in Texas Beeworks’ Tiktok is one more clue to internet users about the manipulation of the video.
” What a con! If it wasn’t their queen, the bees would have rushed to kill her », Thus moved on Twitter a user.
What a crock. If that wasn’t their queen the bees would be “rushing” to kill her, and it takes DAYS for them to chew through the candy and release her; that is the point of it, by the time they do they are used to her pheromones and accept her. That was the original queen.
– Mo0gster (@ Mo0gster) June 1, 2021
Bees are a species to protect
If this controversy has become so important, it is in particular because bees are extremely important animals for the ecosystem, and that they are today threatened. Seeing someone as popular as Erika Thompson put her hand in a bee swarm could give her many followers ideas, something very risky for them as well as for the hives.
The conservation of bee species having become in recent years a most important ecological issue, the actions of Erika Thomspon have completely polarized Tiktok. In the comments below her video, many people expressed doubts about the veracity of the video, especially the arrival of the new queen.
And the account of Friday Chamberlain, the beekeeper tiktoker who criticized Erika Thompson’s actions, was deleted for a few hours: Cnet media explains that this would be due to the many fans of Texas Beeworks, who reportedly reported his account en masse for harassment. His account has since been reinstated, but comments under his Tiktoks are still very vehement. So far, Erika Thompson has not responded to the controversy, but the beetok has certainly not finished talking about him.
The continuation in video