Austin beekeeper causes a national buzz on TikTok

Backlash leads to California beekeeper deleting social media account and closing business

TexasBeeWorks TikTok (KSAT 2021)

Austin – The bee drama that’s been unfolding over TikTok has come to an end.

User @LaHoneyBeeWorks set the stage when they called out Austin beekeeper Erika Thompson of @texasbeeworks on TikTok after her bee removal videos went viral.

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Thompson has over 6 million followers on TikTok and has been dubbed “The Bee Lady.”

Safety issues were the biggest concern raised by LAHoneyBeeWorks and other beekeepers because Thompson famously doesn’t wear any protective equipment as she scoops swarms of bees with her bare hands and talks to them in a soft voice.

LaHoneyBeeWorks complained of Thompson wearing her hair loose with dark colors and no gear.

After receiving more backlash than support, LaHoneyBeeWorks announced in a video that she’d be deleting her account and that her business is now closed and defunct.

LAHoneyBeeWorks, in now-deleted TikTok posts, posted about how the drama was taken out of context and that she was praising Thompson about her work with bees calling her work content creation and not the work of a “bee removal specialist.”


No hate to Texasbeeworks, this was all taken out of context and exploited by disreputable news sources and content creators. @heartthrobert

♬ Dancing In The Moonlight x Pumped Up Kicks - darcy 🦦

“No hate to Texasbeeworks,” LAHoneyBeeWorks said in one of her last tik Tok posts. “This was all taken out of context and exploited by disreputable news sources and content creators.”

Critics have also accused Thompson’s videos of being faked, which she addressed in an Instagram post.

“Recently, a series of untrue and hurtful attacks was made about me and my work,” Thompson said. “Then, journalists chose to support and reward this online harassment by perpetuating a false narrative without taking time to check the facts. It’s a sad day when people see a woman doing something that’s so outside of the norm, they assume there’s no way she can actually be doing those things, and if she is, she must be getting help from a man.”

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About the Author

Raven Jordan is a digital and social intern at KSAT 12. She majored in digital and print journalism at UNT's Mayborn School of Journalism.

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