Victoria Police’s top cop when COVID-19 hit our shores was told Premier Daniel Andrews’ office had ordered private security was to be used at quarantine hotels instead of police.
In bombshell text messages exchanged between former Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton and Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police Reece Kershaw, it was revealed the order had come from the premier’s office itself.
The exchange took place on March 27 – days before the hotel quarantining of returned travellers began – where Mr Kershaw expresses surprise upon learning of the decision.
former Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton takes on oath on the bible to tell the truth at Thursday’s inquiry into Victoria’s disastrous hotel quarantine program
Former Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton text messages his federal colleague advising that the order to use private security came from the premier’s office
Private security has been accused of bungling the hotel quarantine operation and causing Victoria’s deadly second wave of COVID-19
‘Why wouldn’t (Australian Federal Police) Guard people At the hotel?’ he asked Mr Ashton.
‘Mate my advice is ADF will do Passenger transfer and private security will be used,’ Mr Ashton responded six minutes later.
‘Ok, that’s new,’ came the response from Mr Kershaw.
‘I think that’s the deal set up by our DPC. I understand NSW will be a different arrangement,’ Mr Ashton replied.
Just moments before the text exchange, Mr Ashton had texted Premier Daniel Andrews’ top bureaucrat Chris Eccles.
Mr Eccles was appointed secretary of the DPC in December 2014 and leads the Victorian public service in advising the premier and the entire government of Victoria.
‘Chris I am getting word from Canberra for a plan whereby arrivals from overseas are to be subjected to enforced isolation from tomorrow,’ Mr Ashton texted him.
‘The suggestion is Victorian arrivals are conveyed to a hotel Somewhere where they are guarded by police for 14 days. Are you aware of anything in this regard?? Graham.’
Mr Ashton claims Mr Eccles did not respond and he cannot recall whether Mr Eccles – or some other person – telephoned him with the information regarding the use of private security before he texted Mr Kershaw.
Mr Eccles, who will give evidence next week, has given a statement to the inquiry declaring he also cannot recall if he spoke to Mr Ashton at that time of the texts and that ‘he didn’t himself know about an arrangement about private security … so he couldn’t have been the source of the information’.
Quarantine breaches involving private security guards seeded 99 per cent of Victoria’s deadly second wave of COVID infections, which in turn has led to more than 700 deaths of the elderly.
After more than three weeks of sitting, the inquiry has heard not a single person can identify who made the decision to hire the private security guards.
Former Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton texts Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police Reece Kershaw
An email from Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Rick Nugent where he states he was contacted by the premier’s office about the use of private security
Earlier, two of the bureaucrats tasked with leading Victoria’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic claimed they were not involved in placing private security guards at quarantine hotels.
Mr Ashton claimed he could not remember who it was that told him about the supposed plan from the premier’s office.
‘I now do not recall from whom I received the advice to which I referred in the first text … I have reviewed the text messages and WhatsApp messages I received at around that time, and none include that information. I have also reviewed the available records for my mobile telephone, which do not disclose the incoming calls that I received on that day,’ he told the inquiry.
Mr Ashton further asserted that he had no issue with private security being used at the hotels.
‘It wasn’t my decision, but I supported that position because it made sense at the time,’ Mr Ashton said.
In a day of drama, the inquiry further heard that Mr Ashton’s then underling, the now current Chief Commissioner Shane Patton, had made a note stating Australia Defence Force personnel had been made available to serve in Victorian quarantine hotels before the program began.
Notes of his diary were revealed on Thursday during the ongoing inquiry into the disastrous hotel program.
The inquiry was shown a note made by Mr Patton during a meeting in the days before the quarantine program started on March 29.
The handwritten note states ‘ADF available r.e hotels static guarding of those sites.’
Chief Commissioner Shane Patton takes the bible during the inquiry on Thursday. He too does not know who made the decision to use private security at hotels
A diary note from Mr Patton on March 27 where he notes the use of ADF personnel was available
Mr Patton noted ADF wanted a visible role in Melbourne
On Wednesday, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews continued to stand by his earlier claims that Victoria was not offered ADF assistance with hotel quarantine.
Despite making the note, Mr Patton told the inquiry he had no recollection of making it.
The inquiry was further shown an email from Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Rick Nugent on March 28 further discussing the possible use of ADF personnel.
The inquiry has heard the deadly virus leaked out of the hotels after a series of breaches by security firms.
Mr Patton added to the mystery, declaring he too was unaware of who made the decision, but had been made aware none-the-less that the decision had been made.
‘DC Nugent refers to having received a telephone call from a DPC representative in the evening on 27 March 2020,’ Mr Patton stated.
‘DC Nugent has recently informed me that he took this call while he was at home and that he is now not sure of the identity of the person who called him or whether that person was in fact from the DPC or another government department.’
The respected police officer told the inquiry to his knowledge it was the first time private security guards had ever been used in Victoria to detain people against their wishes.
Premier Daniel Andrews continues to claim he was not offered assistance from the ADF with his bungled hotel quarantine scheme
Last week the inquiry was shown shocking photos of quarantine guests walking freely to a convenience store from a Melbourne facility
Earlier, two former state controllers in the COVID-19 pandemic, Jason Helps and Andrea Spiteri, both claimed they had no role in deciding on the employment of the private security firms.
It also hear that on March 29 a Department of Jobs executive had made an urgent request for Victoria Police to be stationed in hotels on the first night of hotel quarantine.
Mr Patton, who was not chief commissioner at the time, told the inquiry he did not receive the request for a 24/7 police presence until July.
‘I never received any request,’ he said.
‘Had any such request been funnelled to us through an official channel … we would have dealt with it and engaged and risk assessed.’
Mr Patton revealed police were now working as security at two Melbourne hotels currently housing infected Melburnians.
The inquiry continues.
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Miami pool boy reveals text messages with Jerry Falwell’s wife
Jerry Falwell Jr and his wife Becki in 2018
The former Miami pool boy whose affair with Jerry Falwell Jr’s wife led Falwell to resign as president of Liberty University has spoken out in a new interview.
Giancarlo Granda, 29, provided years of text messages and emails to back up his account in an interview with the Washington Post published on Friday.
Granda says he had a six-year affair with Falwell’s wife Becki that began when they met in Miami in 2012, when he was just 20 and was working as a pool boy.
He claims that Jerry knew about it and watched them had sex the first time, then continued to give his blessing to the affair for years afterwards. Jerry acknoledges the affair, but vehemently denies that he participated in or knew about it.
‘I was groomed,’ Granda said in the new interview. ‘And before I knew it, I was trapped.’
Giancarlo Granda, 29, provided years of text messages and emails to back up his account claiming that Falwell Jr knew of the affair and approved
The incident followed Falwell’s resignation from Liberty University following a claim from a former poolboy Giancarlo Granda that he had an affair with Becki Falwell for years with the consent of her husband. Pictured, Giancarlo Granda left with the Falwell family
Granda, who now lives in the Washington area and recently earned a graduate degree from Georgetown, said his involvement with the Falwells ruined his relationships with girlfriends, and even led him to contemplate suicide.
‘I’ve been living with this hell for so long,’ he said. ‘I just want to get out.’
In late 2018, after Buzzfeed published an article about his strange business deal with the Falwells, in which they co-owned a commercial property in Miami, Granda flew into a panic, fearful that the affair would be exposed.
‘My life is absolutely ruined,’ he texted Becki in December of 2018 along with a photo of the article, according to the Post. He threatened suicide.
‘When they find my lifeless body hanging in the woods, please make sure Logan is returned to my family,’ he wrote, referring to his dog. ‘Goodbye.’
‘Stay off social media,’ Becki replied. ‘It’s all left wing nut jobs. That’s from Jerry.’
Falwell resigned from the university on August 25 following the pool boy controversy, as well a list of other recent scandals, many of which also appeared to involve alcohol
Other evidence provided by Granda to the paper included what appeared to be a screenshot of a Facetime conversation, seemingly showing Jerry looking on as Becki conversed with Granda while topless and drinking a glass of wine.
That photo, and others described by the Post, were not published by the newspaper.
Last month, Jerry claimed someone stole the photos of Becki from his phone. In a later interview, he accused Granda of selling the photos to a family that was suing the Falwells over a dispute involving the Miami property.
The reported text message exchanges between Granda and Becki show an often affectionate relationship over the years.
Falwell, one of the most influential right-wing Christian leaders in the United States, is pictured with pool boy Granda
‘I miss you so much my heart hurts,’ she wrote after seeing him in May 2017. ‘I couldn’t take my eyes off of you.’
‘Good morning beautiful,’ he replied the next day.
‘Good morning gorgeous,’ she texted back.
Over the summer of this year, business disputes over the jointly owned property seemed to devolve, with Granda demanding a buyout, which they apparently refused.
‘Since you’re okay with ruining my life, I am going to take the kamikaze route,’ he wrote Jerry in June. ‘It really is a shame because I wanted to reach a peaceful resolution and just move on with our lives but if conflict is what you want, then so be it.’
Granda texted a photo of himself in front of a microphone, recording a podcast.
‘You should by now understand that I will not be extorted,’ Jerry replied. ‘I have always treated you fairly and been restrained in response to your threats because I did not wish to ruin your life. Going forward stop contacting me and my family.’
Granda told the Post that he was emboldened to go public with his claims after Falwell drew backlash for posting a photo of himself at a costume party with his pants unzipped and his stomach showing, appearing to hold an alcoholic drink.
In August, Falwell was blasted as a hypocrite for posting a this pictured on Instagram with his pants unzipped and midriff exposed, while appearing to hold a glass of alcohol
The final communication between Granda and the Fallwells reported by the Post came on August 24, after Reuters published an article exposing the affair.
‘I hope you’re happy and that you were paid very well,’ Becki wrote to Granda. ‘Jerry just resigned.’
Earlier on Friday, it emerged that just days after Jerry resigned, Becki made a 911 call saying that he was losing ‘a lot of blood’ after falling down the stairs and hitting his head on a trash can while drunk.
In the call from Bedford County, Virginia, on August 31, Becki Falwell tells a dispatcher that her husband was bleeding heavily and would not go with her to the hospital, according to the Huffington Post.
First responders arrived to find Falwell with lacerations under his left eye, across the bridge of his nose, and above both his right and left eyes, as he slurred his speech with empty alcohol containers nearby.
The call, obtained by the Huffington Post through a Freedom of Information request, took place on August 31, a week after Falwell was forced to move aside as president of the evangelical university founded by his father Jerry Falwell Sr.
Residential students of Liberty University sign an honor code that prohibits sex outside of marriage, as well as consuming alcohol.
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How a great-grandmother hid her true identity from her second family for the rest of her life
Daphne Pearl Hampstead (pictured) left her Sydney home in 1958 and lived a secret life in Queensland until her death in 2007
Right up to Daphne Hampstead’s death in a Queensland hospital in November 2007 – supposedly aged 83 – she was deeply secretive about her long life.
A year earlier, Diann Green, who knew her stepmother as Daphne Jones, saw her at the paper shredder she routinely used to destroy letters, Christmas cards and other personal documents.
Months before Daphne’s death, Diann and her husband Tryone travelled to the New South Wales Riverina region looking for clues as to who she really was.
In the cemetery at Cootamundra the pair searched for Daphne’s father’s gravestone but could not find any Frederick Onslow, the surname with which she claimed to have been born.
Upon their return to Queensland the Greens told Daphne what they had done and she reacted with extreme anger that the couple, whom she loved dearly, had been digging into her past.
The 62-year mystery around the identity of Daphne Hampstead – or Onslow or Shaw or Jones – was not officially solved until 13 years after she died.
Her death certificate recorded her age as 83, her father as Frederick Onslow and that she was 49 when she ‘married’ Diann’s father Raymond Charles Jones.
None of that was true.
She died as Daphne Pearl Jones – the same name on her birth certificate, but that was entirely coincidental. She had never remarried after fleeing an abusive husband half a century earlier and was in fact 89.
Daphne Hampstead’s second family – who knew her as Daphne Jones, nee Onlsow – when looking for the grave of her father Frederick Onslow at Cootamundra cemetery in the Riverina region of NSW. They didn’t find it because Frederick Onslow did not exist
Two days after Daphne disappeared a letter in her handwriting arrived at her western Sydney home. ‘My darling Sid,’ the 39-year-old began the note. ‘Oh darling what it is costing me to write this letter, you will never know.’ The letter’s words are reproduced in this image
Daphne Hampstead was a 39-year-old mother of eight when she vanished from a dairy on Cowpasture Road (pictured) at Bossley Park in Sydney’s west. Her family never saw her again
While Daphne’s past remained a mystery to the Greens even after her death, another family completely unknown to them was searching for answers of its own.
Daphne Hampstead had walked out on her husband and eight children in 1958 and apart from a few letters shortly after her disappearance had never been heard from again.
The two families were eventually brought together three years ago and learnt the Daphne they all mourned was the same woman who had lived two completely separate lives.
The Hampstead family was driven to crack the six-decade missing person case when Daphne’s daughter Daphne Lillian was on her deathbed in August 2017.
Daphne Lillian’s daughter Donna Gough hired private investigator Luke Athens from Melbourne Confidential in an attempt to make her mother’s final wish come true.
‘I was engaged because it was Daphne’s daughter’s last dying wish to find her mum,’ Mr Athens told Daily Mail Australia.
Athens said he solved Daphne’s disappearance in only four hours. Once he had put together the documentation to support his claims, the billable hours totalled 12.
The private investigator began his search by asking the Hampstead family what they knew about Daphne’s identity.
‘I then gathered all historic information available on our database systems on Daphne and created a timeline,’ he explained.
Daphne’s granddaughter hired private investigator Luke Athens from Melbourne Confidential to locate her. ‘I was engaged because it was Daphne’s daughter’s last dying wish to find her mum,’ Athens said. He solved Daphne’s disappearance in 12 hours. Invoice is pictured
On Wednesday NSW Deputy State Coroner Elaine Ms Truscott (pictured) found Daphne Hampstead and Daphne Jones were the same person. Ms Truscutt is pictured during the 2016 search for missing 20-year-old Matthew Leveson’s body in Sydney’s Royal National Park
Athens then generated a Python computer programming language script to create variations on how to spell Daphne’s name and date of birth.
‘From that I was able to conduct a link analysis which assisted me to identify close associates to Daphne in the past and use that information to connect to others that knew of Daphne via a timeline and found my results.’
‘All information was cross-referenced with other people who knew of Daphne, followed up with facial recognition, photo comparisons and statements from individuals that were close to her.’
‘The time line of Daphne’s life matched. We also noted that her new changed name just appeared out of nowhere on our historic databases.
Daphne Hampstead’s family hired private investigator Luke Athens (pictured) to investigate her disappearance
‘Because she wasn’t 18 this name should have had previous records registered historically, plus that little thing called a coroner’s investigation summed it up.’
The whole job cost the Hampstead family just $2,280, with GST.
Athens put Donna Gough in touch with Diann and Tyrone Green and three of them exchanged photographs of Daphne. Each family saw marked similarities between the younger and older person in the images.
Analysis of the pictures by an Australian Federal Police facial recognition expert helped confirm they were of the same woman.
Daphne Hampstead’s disappearance had been investigated in 2012 by a coroner who found she was likely dead but could not determine how or when she died.
A fresh inquest by Deputy State Coroner Elaine Truscott this year was armed with the new information and has finally closed the case.
On Wednesday, Ms Truscott ruled that Daphne Hampstead of NSW and Daphne Jones of Queensland were the one person and she died in 2007 at age 89.
Why Daphne never made contact with her original Sydney family is still unclear but how she managed to keep her second life secret for decades was revealed, in part.
Daphne was born Daphne Pearl Jones to Frederick and Eva Jones, then aged 26 and 20 respectively, at Cootamundra on July 13 or 15, 1918.
Frederick and Eva would have four more daughters: Lucy, Pamela, Linda and Eva.
Daphne gave a poem called What to Count to her ‘granddaughter’ Megan Kirley who kept it on her fridge and posted to Facebook with the caption: ‘This was my beautiful nanna’s poem’. Megan, who was part of Daphne’s Queensland family, was shot dead in Brisbane last year
Daphne married Sidney Thomas Hampstead at Cootamundra when she was 18 and he was 27. Over the next ten years the couple had eight children: Leslie, Patricia, Marcia, Daphne Lillian, twins Barry and Clifford, Helen, and Janet.
The family lived at Cootamundra, Tumut, Grafton, Taree, Oxley Island and Muswellbrook, where they worked as share farmers before buying their own farm at Scone.
Financial difficulties forced the couple to sell the farm and move to a dairy at Bossley Park in Sydney’s west in 1956, by which time their two eldest daughters were married and living at Muswellbrook.
‘Daphne was a loving mother who enjoyed cooking and was apparently social and engaging,’ Ms Truscutt found.
‘Daphne and Sidney are described to have had a loving relationship however Sidney was possessive and jealous and violent to Daphne.
‘After leaving the farm in Scone and moving to Bossley Park the domestic violence became more frequent.’
Daphne worked in the city as a cook – under the name Daphne Hanson or Hamson – and would leave home in the early hours of the morning, returning about 4pm.
‘However, as time went on her returning hours became later around 10pm and Sidney likely suspected she was having an affair and he became more obsessive,’ Ms Truscott found.
Before her disappearance Daphne was working in a restaurant in Sydney’s central business district. It is named as Carl’s in court documents but could have been Cahill’s (pictured)
Shortly before dawn on May 10, 1958, Daphne was picked up from the Cowpasture Road dairy by a taxi. She was two months shy of her 40th birthday and left carrying most of her photographs and clothes.
Two days later her husband received a handwritten letter from Daphne inside an envelope with a postmark from nearby Fairfield.
‘My darling Sid,’ the letter began. ‘Oh darling what it is costing me to write this letter, you will never know.
‘I left work today, I just can’t go on. I thought there was no love left at home for me at all. But I have realised how wrong I was over the last week.
‘I think it has been a week I shall never forget. I am going away for a while (by myself) don’t worry about me, I will be okay.
‘I know now I can always come to you for understanding I do wish I had known that before dear.’
Daphne also sent a letter to her daughter Daphne Lillian asking her to look after her father and younger brothers and sisters.
Another letter found by Daphne Lillian was from a man called Eugene who lived in Tasmania and had promised to pick her up from the airport.
Megan Kirley knew Daphne Jones as ‘nanna’ and inherited a share of her home at Maryborough on the Fraser Coast when she died in 2007. What Megan did not know was that Daphne was a widow six years older than she claimed and had left husband and eight children in 1958
However, Ms Truscott heard the letter had been ripped into pieces; whether that was done by Sidney or Daphne was still unknown.
‘Daphne’s departure caused Sidney to be a broken man and he buried his sorrows in alcohol,’ Ms Truscott found.
Sidney lived with Daphne Lillian from 1963 and in early 1973 moved to Dubbo in the state’s central west where he spent the last six months of his life with daughter Marcia.
He died of broncopneumonia and arteriosclerotic cerebral disease on May 2, 1973 aged 64.
Daphne, who had changed her date of birth to make herself six years younger, was by then living in Queensland where she had begun a de facto relationship with plantation owner Roy Shaw.
In 1963 the couple, who might have met in Papua New Guinea, had a place in Brisbane where she worked in a sewing machine shop and called herself Daphne Shaw.
Roy Shaw died in 1972 and Daphne moved on with his close friend Raymond Jones whose wife Vona had died the same year.
Following a ‘celebration’ of her relationship with Raymond in 1973 – the year her husband Sidney died – Daphne took his name and became stepmother to his daughter Diann.
Daphne spent her last years living in a single-storey brick house (pictured) in Steindl Street, Granville, an eastern suburb of Maryborough. The house was passed to her Queensland family
Daphne, an accomplished seamstress with and eye for design and Raymond, an electrician, bought and renovated houses.
The couple shifted around many locations in Queensland before moving to Maryborough on the Fraser Coast in 2003.
Raymond died of a heart attack in Princess Alexandra Hospital, South Brisbane, on July 7, 2004 aged 74.
His death certificate listed Daphne Pearl Onslow as his third wife, although they were not married and that was never her name.
Daphne’s last Queensland driver’s licence issued in 2004 recorded her date of birth as July 13, 1924 – six years after she was born.
Ms Truscott said the photograph on Daphne’s licence was taken when she was 86, ‘though she might not even look 80’.
‘There are younger photographs of Daphne Pearl which show that she was a youthful looking woman and from reports of Tyrone and Diann she was very well groomed.’
Daphne and Raymond Jones shifted around many locations in Queensland before moving to Maryborough on the Fraser Coast in 2003. Raymond died of a heart attack in South Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital (pictured) on July 7, 2004 aged 74
‘It would appear she could easily have been accepted as being 12 years younger than she was.’
Daphne spent her last years living in Steindl Street, Granville, an eastern suburb of Maryborough. She died of rectal and liver cancer at Maryborough Hospital on November 2, 2007.
Her death certificate stated Daphne had been married to Raymond Jones and died aged 83 when she was actually 89, Ms Truscott found.
‘Searches in Queensland also demonstrate that Daphne Jones or Onslow or Hampstead never engaged in a registered marriage consistent with her not having actually remarried after she left Sidney back in 1973,’ she said.
Ms Truscott said after Daphne’s granddaughter Donna met her stepdaughter Diann and her husband Tyrone the three of them compared notes.
Diann and Tyrone told Donna her grandmother had a ‘magnetic, charismatic personality’ and ‘disliked talking about her past’.
The couple made statements to the coroner in which they said Daphne had talked of having twin sons but mentioned no other children.
‘She was very guarded about her history,’ Ms Truscott found.
‘Diann reports that in 2006 she saw that Daphne was using a paper shredder and remarks that this was consistent with her experience that Daphne would destroy all things about her past.’
Ms Truscott hoped that confirming Daphne Hampstead, Daphne Onslow, Daphne Shaw and Daphne Jones were the same person would bring some relief to those who missed her.
Daphne died of rectal and liver cancer at Maryborough Hospital (pictured) on November 2, 2007. Her death certificate stated Daphne had been married to Raymond Jones and died aged 83 when she was actually 89
‘I note that the notice of Daphne’s death exhibited in the newspaper indicated that she was the beloved wife of the late Roy Jones,’ she said in her findings.
‘Loved mother and mother-in-law of Diann and Tyrone, Ted, Esme (deceased) and Theresa (deceased). The loved Nana of 7 and Great nana of 10.
‘Added to that she was the mother of eight and grandmother and great grandmother from her NSW family.
‘I hope having the record adjusted to reflect that Daphne’s death is properly recorded in some way brings a sense of completeness to both Daphne Pearl’s NSW and Queensland families.’
The Coroner’s Court would be notifying the NSW and Queensland registries for Births, Deaths and Marriages to record the true facts of Daphne Hampstead’s life.
In a tragic twist, one of Daphne’s Queensland relatives, 40-year-old mother-of-two Megan Kirley, who knew her as ‘nanna’, was shot dead in Brisbane last year.
Private investigator Athens said the Hampstead family was thankful to have fulfilled Daphne’s daughter’s dying wish to ‘find’ her long-lost mother.
‘I received my first hug and thank you from my client after 25 years in service,’ Athens said.
It’s vital to openly discuss matters like these, not from a egotistic point of view with media though the story represents hope and will helps others
‘There are people out there that feel hopeless, depressed because of childhood trauma and family mysteries.
‘The truth will set everyone free.’
Private investigator Luke Athens said the Hampstead family was thankful to have fulfilled Daphne’s daughter’s dying wish to ‘find’ her long-lost mother. Cootamundra cemetery is pictured
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Brave woman moves thousands of bees with her BARE HANDS – and takes a bite out of their honeycomb
A Texas beekeeper has shocked social media users with a video that shows her holding handfuls of bees with her bare hands — and even taking a bite out of their honeycomb as they swarm around her.
And her latest clip has left viewers reeling as they watch her remove a beehive from the floor of a backyard shed, using her bare hands to scoop the honeybees up to move them and even sample their honey.
Buzz-worthy! Erika Thompson is a professional beekeeper based in Austin. In a recent viral video, she demonstrates how she removed a hive from the floor of a shed
Something else! Commenters have expressed both horror and awe over her casual handling of the bees
‘Here’s how I removed a beehive from a backyard shed,’ she says in the clip, explaining that the bees were living under the floor — which she could see from the side of the shed, where several of the bees were swarming.
‘I found the hive entrance, but to see the size and location, I used my thermal camera,’ she says.
When the thermal camera picked up the spot of the floor where the largest number of bees had gathered, Erika used power tools to cut into that area.
For protective equipment, Erika had only a hat with a veil over her face, though her hands were completely bare.
‘I carefully lifted the piece I cut out and discovered a beautiful hive full of honey,’ she says, zooming in with her camera.
‘Since the bees were gentle and it was over 100 degrees out, I took off my veil, enjoyed some fresh honey, and went to work removing bees.’
‘Here’s how I removed a beehive from a backyard shed,’ she says in the clip, explaining that the bees were living under the floor
Sleuthing: When her thermal camera picked up the spot of the floor where the largest number of bees had gathered, Erika used power tools to cut into that area
Yikes! She lifts up the floor to reveal the hive, which is swarming with thousands of bees
What gloves? For protective equipment, Erika had only a hat with a veil over her face, though her hands were completely bare.
When she says she enjoyed ‘fresh’ honey, she means it: Erika simply picked up a piece of honeycomb straight from the spot under the floor and took a small bite, licking her lips as live bees flew about.
But that wasn’t even the most shocking part.
‘I scooped the bees into a temporary travel hive while looking for the queen,’ she says next, as she shows herself gently picking up dozens of bees with her bare hands and moving them over to the travel hive.
‘As a professional bee keeper, I’ve learned how to read the bees’ behavior and could tell that these bees could not sting me,’ she adds.
The video continues to show her dipping her hand into the hole in the floor, where thousands of moving bees have concentrated.
‘Next, I removed the comb structure of the hive that had baby bees and food, and I put it into frames so that the bees would have everything they need in their new home,’ she goes on.
No big deal! Erika didn’t appear afraid to have so many bees around her
Erika simply picked up a piece of honeycomb straight from the spot under the floor and took a small bite, licking her lips as live bees flew about
‘I scooped the bees into a temporary travel hive while looking for the queen,’ she says
Brave! She shows herself gently picking up dozens of bees with her bare hands and moving them over to the travel hive
That’s when she saw the queen surrounded by her attending bees. This made the job easier, as Erika was able to put the queen in a clip and move that over to the travel case.
‘All of the other bees followed her into the new hive,’ she says.
‘So I closed up the hive, carefully picked it up, loaded it into my truck to take the bees to their new home, and it was another great day of saving the bees,’ she concludes.
While the clip has certainly left some viewers feeling unsettled, honeybees are actually fairly docile, and less likely to sting than a wasp or hornet.
According to PBS, hives contain about 60,000 female honeybees, or worker bees, which can sting. The male drones do not sting.
While the worker bees do sting, they’ll only do so to defend the hive — which is part of their main job, along with gathering nectar and pollinating.
There she is! That’s when she saw the queen surrounded by her attending bees
A cinch! This made the job easier, as Erika was able to put the queen in a clip and move that over to the travel case. ‘All of the other bees followed her into the new hive,’ she says
‘So I closed up the hive, carefully picked it up, loaded it into my truck to take the bees to their new home, and it was another great day of saving the bees,’ she concludes
Unlike a wasp, honeybees also die after stinging, since their stinger will detach from their body as they move to pull it out of their victim.
Despite the relative safety, Erika’s video still elicited some strong reactions on social media.
‘Man she really just went wrist deep in those bees,’ wrote one.
‘That is fascinating and completely terrifying,’ wrote another, while a third said, ‘Dead. I would be dead. I’m dying.’
Others, though, have been incredibly impressed with Erika’s bravery, calling her ‘amazing,’ ‘awesome,’ ‘wholesome,’ and ‘like a Disney princess.’
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