TikTok star and beekeeper Erika Thompson has been accused of faking her viral videos, with other beekeepers and bee enthusiasts pointing out purportedly glaring flaws in her content.
Thompson hails from Elgin, Texas, and is the founder of Texas Beeworks — a beekeeping operation that has come under intense scrutiny from netizens over the past week.
Unlike most beekeepers, who are seen wearing white beekeeping suits and helmets, Thompson’s viral content shows her with her hair down and sporting dark clothing… the first of many purported faux pas of the profession.
Thompson’s content has earned her over 6 million followers on TikTok, usually showing the beekeeper’s hive rescues and removals with an ASMR-like narration explaining the story behind the hives.
@texasbeeworksHoneypot! ##bees ##tiktok ##foryou ##fyp ##nature ##amazing ##animals ##texas♬ original sound – Erika Thompson
Despite her popularity, Thompson has come under intense scrutiny as of late due to several other beekeepers on TikTok, who claim that the Texas-based TikToker is faking her videos.
Dilligenda, who runs Los Angeles-based lahoneybeerescue, first called out Thompson on May 24 for seemingly not cutting out honeycombs or actually removing the hives herself, theorizing that her husband was actually doing all the work.
“What she’s doing — going and opening up hives with her hair down, wearing dark clothes with exposed skin — is dangerous,” the TikToker explained. “…she doesn’t show herself wearing protective gear when she goes up and analyzes the hive at first.”
“She’s setting a very dangerous precedent,” she continued. “She looks really pretty doing it, and that’s because it’s faked.”
Days later, the entire bee-keeping section of TikTok exploded with criticism against Thompson, with many calling her out for showcasing beekeeping habits that could get people new to the profession seriously injured.
@entomologyabbyIf you know what @texasbeeworks does to support native bees please let me know and I will share! 🙂 #bees #savethebees #honey #beekeeping #fyp♬ original sound – Abby
Thompson herself has yet to comment on the allegations against her, which have transformed TikTok’s normally educational, relaxing beekeeping space into a “hive” of drama.