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Regional Interests

The Buzz About World Bee Day

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

OK. Today, this very day, is World Bee Day.

(SOUNDBITE OF BEES BUZZING)

INSKEEP: If you hear that sound, bees, and you're in Austin, Texas, call Erika Thompson, a professional beekeeper who's been relocating bees for years. She shares her work on TikTok.

(SOUNDBITE OF TIKTOK VIDEO)

ERIKA THOMPSON: The landlord wanted to call an exterminator, but the family who lived here wanted to save the bees, so they called me.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Her fans watch with glee, sometimes a little horror, as she picks up mounds of bees with her bare hands and then moves them somewhere safer.

(SOUNDBITE OF TIKTOK VIDEO)

THOMPSON: After I removed all of the comb, I started scooping bees into the new hive.

INSKEEP: All while staying calm - as one should.

THOMPSON: I've removed bees from a lot of crazy places. You know, I've removed bees from homes, from RVs, from tires and speakers and even a couch one time and a toilet.

MARTIN: Thompson's work is about more than getting millions of views per video, which she does.

THOMPSON: Bees are just a key factor in creating diverse and healthy ecosystems.

MARTIN: The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization agrees. Hence, World Bee Day.

INSKEEP: Bzz (ph).

MARTIN: Hien Ngo is one of their pollinator experts.

HIEN NGO: There are 20,000 species of bees around the world, and a lot of these bees are in decline.

INSKEEP: That includes honeybees like the ones Thompson rescues in Austin, but Ngo says they only make up a fraction of all the kinds of bees in the world. Climate change, pesticides and habitat loss are putting many of those species at risk.

NGO: Bees really provide for us in many ways - food provisioning, human well-being. They're important for our culture, dating back thousands of years in terms of heritage, inspiration of art.

MARTIN: And inspiration for TikTok.

THOMPSON: The other day I was called to a swarm of bees that were hanging from a tractor and they were hanging there in the shape of Texas. It was one of the most amazing things I've ever seen. I'm really excited to share that one.

MARTIN: And we are excited to have shared with you all this moment. Happy World Bee Day.

(SOUNDBITE OF SHAWN LEE'S PING PONG ORCHESTRA'S "FLIGHT OF THE BUMBLEBEE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.