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kottke.org posts about Erika Thompson

How to Safely Remove Bees for Relocation

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 19, 2021

This video of beekeeper Erika Thompson removing a hive of bees from the floor of an old shed was absolutely riveting! I loved every minute of it. Working without a beekeeping suit or even gloves, Thompson begins by locating the hive with a thermal imager, cuts open the floor, and gently lifts up the flooring to reveal the hive. After transferring the hive’s honeycomb to a new box hive, she cajoles the bees into their new home through the use of smoke, relocating the queen, and even scooping them in there with her bare hand. She ends the video with “and it was another great day of saving the bees” and that’s 100% right.

You can watch more videos by Thompson on YouTube, including this longer one of her removing bees from a camper. You can also check out her work on Instagram or read about how she started her company, Texas Beeworks.

“I didn’t become a beekeeper because I wanted to sell honey, and I think that’s what separates me from a lot of other beekeepers,” she says. “Whatever way you’re inspired by bees or to keep bees I think is wonderful. But in full transparency … I’d rather focus on creating more bees than having them produce more honey.”

Her videos have been going viral on TikTok lately, which led to an appearance on the Today Show, where she explained why she was working without protective gear.

“Most honey bees are very gentle. They’re docile and they don’t want to sting you. I’ve been doing this for a long time and over the years I’ve learned to read the bees’ behavior and these were just very calm, gentle bees. They were also very cooperative and got into their new hive. This was just one case where I could work without gear and it was safer for me and the bees.”

(via austin kleon)