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They want to know how the stinger works, for example, and are fascinated in learning the hierarchy within the hive. Bouffard, a former social studies teacher, describes each bee in the colony and how unique body parts help in their role.

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TikTok, I suggest, seems at odds with the peaceful life that Thompson has created for herself. Garden Marcus, is known for his calming gardening videos and has gained almostfollowers since December.


In a voice-over, she narrates the process. The log is large and hollowed out, and bees clamber over each other at the mouth of the hollow. Lime has settled into the Thompson menagerie, along with her three dogs, five chickens, and millions of bees. Like, they have figured this out! Others are darker and messier. The lady bees run the show; the male bees are secondary to all operations. On one of the first tolerably warm days in September, she walks me around her place near Elgin, which she and Hollister bought last year.

In Texas, homeowners who host colonies on their properties can qualify for agricultural tax exemptions.

A wall of identical bees moves in my hands. Every day she has a slice of pumpkin pie for breakfast; sometimes she takes her coffee riverside, surrounded by her three dogs. As she walks past the house on her way to her truck to gather her beekeeping tools, three dog snouts appear over the sill of one window and begin howling. I feel like a fish fillet in a sous vide bag. Her esteem for nature manifests itself in her beekeeping practice—though she occasionally collects honey from her bees to donate locally or gift to friends, she talks about honey harvesting with some derision—and in smaller ways.

Behind the bees, some of the combs are uniformly yellow and clean-looking. Six months since her first post, she has amassed 1. As a beekeeper with her own company, Texas Beeworks, she needed more space for her beekeeping equipment, and she wanted to be able to keep hives closer to home. By Diana Spechler.

But mostly they were drawn to the quirks of the surrounding land. They met on Bumble.

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Thompson, unperturbed, studies the hive and waits for the bees to go quiet before lifting each piece of comb. Additionally, because Thompson warned me that bees can confuse the smell of bananas with the smell of the pheromone they emit when a colony is queen-less, I have not eaten bananas for two weeks. Thompson, 34, is a beekeeper, a TikTok starand a woodland Disney princess.

While I cook, Thompson, wearing jeans and a long-sleeved button-up, studies the bees closely, apparently unaffected by the weather. She is committed to showing me a queen bee and a male bee. They look almost machine-made.

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When she found the queen bee, Thompson put her in a tiny plastic container that looked like a hair clip, placed her in the box, and let the other bees follow her in. Congratulating the bees for their good work, she makes some notes describing their progress on top of each box.

Thompson lifting a comb out of a hive to show the difference between worker bees, male bees, and the queen bee. By Joe Pappalardo. Thompson was thrilled. When Thompson began posting videos on TikTok this past spring, she quickly catapulted into the viral vortex.

After her breakout removal video, she recalls, some days she would wake up at 4 a.

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By Texas Monthly. So why does a private person just going about her days TikTok? Thompson hurries after them, shaking a bag of feed.

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Now she just takes the bees home to her apiary, two long rows of stacked white wooden boxes a short walk from her house. The queen, the largest bee present, is easy to spot: in one hive, Thompson lifts out a comb and hands it to me.

When she lived in Austin, after each removal she had to drive the bees to one of her apiaries across Central Texas. Long Re. There are food combs and brood combs, Thompson explains.

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By Charles Scudder. Thompson holds each comb up to eye level. Then Thompson le me to a corner of the backyard where a path le down to the Colorado River. The bees scatter but begin an angry-sounding drone that lasts for a few seconds. She sets it down nearby, careful not to crush any bees. Thompson thinks people like to see their preconceived notions about beekeeping upended.

Mostly, Thompson says, she felt burned-out by what she was seeing on Instagram. She pumps smoke on the bees—to calm them, she explains—from her metal bee smoker, a witchy-looking device filled with pine needles and other kindling. Search Texas Monthly Being Texan.

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A ways off from the pecan tree, Thompson and Hollister keep a brood of chickens in a spacious coop. Thompson sighs.

Her life is a pastoral idyll. She shakes the bag again, then calmly herds Emmylou back into the coop. She points to the stairs leading up to her porch, which she recently painted herself. All but one of the chickens follow her back and allow her to corral them back into the coop—a small gray lady named Emmylou is missing.

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She suspects the nearest H-E-B keeps one pumpkin pie per week in stock year-round, just for her. Then, suddenly, they race off as one, rounding the house. Though Thompson technically makes a living in agriculture, which can seem antithetical to wildness, she has an unusual respect for animality.

By Daniel Vaughn. In her videos, Thompson moves slowly and purposefully, and she looks calm and content. The chickens meander out of the coop and stand around for a moment, like a clique getting their bearings at a middle school dance. Bees fly out of the van and circle her with a deep, ominous hum. For one thing, Thompson says, she was intrigued by the possibility of educating more people about bees.

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She scooped the dove up, took him home, and nursed him back to health. The beekeeping course renewed her interest in insects. She also liked how user-friendly the app is. A few years ago, when Erika Thompson was living in Austin, she came across a dove languishing on the sidewalk. Recently, Thompson says, she watched a video of a woman painting her stairs with a sock on her hand. She creeps up to the trash cans behind the house, from which a twitching gray chicken tush is peeking out.

I like being a Southern lady, and this is how I was raised: you put your makeup on in the morning, you do your hair. Thompson hoped to release him into the wild when he was ready, but he refused to fly.

TikTok serves Thompson mostly helpful service videos, which makes me self-conscious about the TikTok tailored to me: a hairless exotic cat eats raw chicken; a woman cleans shower grout while an emotional ballad plays. Shelby hurls herself towards Hollister and Lime does a ruffled loop before perching on a nearby table. Now Thompson approaches the wild hive, keeping a reverent distance. Thompson shows me the hundred-year-old pecan tree in the backyard, where she and Hollister had a pandemic-size wedding ceremony this month.

I have such a limited amount of time. Close Log in.

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She and Hollister liked the house, which is pink and unpretentious. Thompson ordered this queen, and she has a neon-blue marking on her back. By Robert Draper.

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In one particularly popular removal video from August, which has been viewed Bees often settle in compost bins and water meter boxes, the latter because the boxes are underground and thus climate-controlled, and the hole at the top is an easy entrance for bees to defend. She can quickly boil down hours of removal footage into a one-minute TikTok. On the surface, Thompson appears to be well suited to social media stardom.