TikTok is in turmoil after beekeeping influencer accused of failing to enforce correct security protocols
Erika Thompson, the woman featured on the account, doesn’t wear any of the gear commonly associated with beekeeping, like a bee costume or gloves. Instead, she calmly moves the bees with her hands, while a voiceover narrator explains her process.
But Friday Chamberlain, who goes by LA HoneyBee Rescue on TikTok and says they’re a bee-killing specialist, said the Thompson videos actually set a “dangerous precedent” for how to interact safely. safety with and care for bees.
In an interview with CNN, Chamberlain, who has worked with bees since 2002, explained that the videos were originally intended only for their small circle of followers and that they did not intend to detonate them. Still, eliminating bees is far from the safe task that Thompson claims to be, Chamberlain said.
“His job really affects us all, the perception of the job, the perception of its ease, the danger,” Chamberlain said. “It came to a head, and I was like ‘enough is enough.’ That’s the reality of the job. What she does is create content. What she does for the bees. is fantastic – she works on pesticide legislation and so on – but she’s not a bee elimination specialist. “
In a statement to CNN on Monday, Thompson said, “As a professional beekeeper, it is my mission and my goal to help people understand how important the work of bees and beekeepers is to our world. The content I share is real and shows how well beekeepers help people and bees in need every day, wearing protective gear when needed. Only experienced beekeepers should handle bees and perform disposal services bees. ”
“Personally, I wouldn’t approach a colony that I don’t know without wearing a suit,” said Baer-Imhoof, who has been working with bees since 2005. “In Riverside, this is how it is. dress and that’s how we teach responsible beekeeping. “
If she knew of a beehive, Baer-Imhoof said she might wear only half a costume with a veil and forgo gloves, depending on the job. But that was only after several years of experience.
“Bees are wild animals,” she explained. “Hives have different personalities; you don’t know who you are going to meet and what mood the hive will be in. “
Like Baer-Imhoof, Ashley Ralph, president of the Texas Beekeepers Association, told CNN that sometimes professional beekeepers choose to wear less protective gear if they know the hive. Thompson seems familiar with bees, she said, and his choice of gear is “totally his.”
“Erika’s approach has its place in bringing in new eyes and ears that could become bee advocates or even beekeepers,” Ralph said. “At TBA, we spend time talking about protective gear and the risk of beekeeping because we fear that without talking about the risk to bees, we might actually cause more harm to bees and beekeepers in the long run. by encouraging irresponsible people or even hands-off beekeeping practices that lead to bad bees or bee experiments. “
Yet, Ralph said, accusations aside, Chamberlain “gave some solid warnings to the general public.”
“Leave bee elimination to the professionals,” Ralph said. “Catching bees could make you sting. “