Re: do i need a smoker?
Ben over the last few days I've read a few excerpts from "The Barefoot Beekeeper" and discovered some of those ideas have been propogated in this book. For example he says not to use smoke which upsets the bees because they think there is a fire and have to go and gorge themselves on honey, but rather, gently spray them with water, which they think is a gentle, life giving rain, so they cluster quietly.
I did have to wonder why rain inside the hive would not also be upsetting for the bees. Oh well.
By the way just so I don't lead anyone astray, there is an old wives tale that smoking bees calms them because there is a fire so they think they have to leave the hive so rush of and load up with honey, after which they are too full to be aggressive. It's not actually true, the effect of smoke is instantly calming, the bees do not have to take the time to go gorge themselves on honey before it works.
So how is smoke calming to bees? I don't think anybody absolutely knows the answer to that. But a likely theory is that when a hive becomes aggressive they release alarm pheremones. The smoke temporarily blocks these out, the bees think there is no problem.
44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).