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Austin is home to the most followed beekeeper in the world

The internet is abuzz about Texas Beeworks, so we’re introducing you to the queen bee behind the viral business.

AUSTIN, Texas — As part of KVUE's celebration of Women’s History Month, we visited beekeeper Erika Thompson on her farm, where the beehives are stacking up as fast as her followers on social media!

“My whole life, I’ve just really loved bugs. So, my fascination led me to take a beekeeping class,” said Erika Thompson, founder of Texas Beeworks.

After her first class, Thompson started her first hive in her backyard in Austin. Although she had no intention of becoming a professional beekeeper, word spread about her beekeeping skills. The rest is history.

“I started my own business, Texas Beeworks, while working a full-time job. A few years ago, I quit my full-time office job and became a full-time professional beekeeper,” Thompson said.

One of Erika’s favorite facts about bees is that 90% of the bee population is female – unlike the beekeepers in the field.

“When I first started beekeeping, I didn’t see a lot of people who look like me. Beekeeping is a male-dominated field,” Thompson said. “I always surprised people when I showed up to do a bee removal and they found out that I was the beekeeper and not just the person they were talking to on the phone.”

Texas Beeworks’ videos have gone viral on social media because Thompson will sometimes handle the bees wearing no protective gear. But after years in this profession, she knows when it’s safe enough to do so.

RELATED: 'The unstung hero': Austin beekeeper buzzing on TikTok with millions of views

Her early childhood curiosity led her to become the most followed beekeeper in the world. But she’s most proud of using her platform to educate people on the important work that bees and beekeepers do every day.

“I feel incredibly proud of the work that I’ve done for women in beekeeping. I hope that young girls see my videos and think that they can also be a beekeeper when they grow up," Thompson said.

To learn more about Erika and the work she’s doing through Texas Beeworks, you can follow her on Instagram.

For more KVUE Profiles, check out our YouTube playlist.

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