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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Ankeny, Iowa, USA
    Posts
    595

    Default Do you Smoke your bees?

    My installation of two packages last weekend, ended up to be a "real cluster"! The only good thing seemed to be how tame the bees were. When I do my inspections, do you think its necessary to use smoke if they continue to be so calm? With only two hives, it will take me longer to get the smoker going than it will take me to do the inspections and refill the top feeders.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    moravia,ny
    Posts
    1,204

    Default Re: Do you Smoke your bees?

    the bees will let you know when smoke is needed. as their numbers increase so will their defense nature.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,123

    Default Re: Do you Smoke your bees?

    As beeware10 implied, listen to your bees. They will tell you what you can get away with. Have your smoker lit and at hand. If you don't have it, when the bees tell you that you should have used it, it will be too late.

    To me, a Beekeeper w/out a smoker is like a Carpenter w/out a hammer. You don't always have to use it, but if you don't have it, and have it lit, you can't use it. You need to learn how to use your smoker. How to light it and keep it lit. How to use smoke when working your bees. How much is too little and too much. It takes practice.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Freeland, Washington, USA
    Posts
    107

    Default Re: Do you Smoke your bees?

    I agree with sqkcrk. A smoker is an invaluable tool when used properly and I won't open a hive without having one ready. Using your smoker properly is very much a learned skill. A lot of new beekeepers use too much smoke. It does not take much to calm them down. I would advise finding an experienced beekeeper in your area that might be willing to let you work hives with them. A good mentor is one of the best resources a new beekeeper can have.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Brown County, IN
    Posts
    2,027

    Default Re: Do you Smoke your bees?

    I've never found it necessary to have a smoker when installing packages. I always have the smoker lit and ready when inspecting hives.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    1,974

    Default Re: Do you Smoke your bees?

    I think a beginner is wisest to use smoke consistently for two reasons:

    1 - You have it when you need it, and you learn to recognize those occasions.

    2 - You get good at lighting one and keeping one lit along the way.

    After a while, you really know how to use smoke, and can then make wiser decisions on when it's not necessary. Start by learning to use it well; then decide when not to use it.

    How would you rather run into your first nasty hive? - with a smoker lit, or without one?


    Adam

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Ankeny, Iowa, USA
    Posts
    595

    Default Re: Do you Smoke your bees?

    Thank you for all the good advice. I have not met any other beekeepers in my area, but will be attending a Bee Equipment Auction on Saturday, so I should be able to find some experienced people there. I bought 5 bags of smoker fuel/cotton from Mann Lake and will practice lighting it on Friday.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,123

    Default Re: Do you Smoke your bees?

    Smoking bees is good for the beekeeper. If one reacts to bee agression by picking up ones smoker and puffing smoke at the offending bees, the least one is doing is not reacting to the bees by jumping around slapping at the bees. Having something to do, like smoking bees w/ a smoker calms the beekeeper. Some times as much as the bees. Which calms the bees too.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Ankeny, Iowa, USA
    Posts
    595

    Default Re: Do you Smoke your bees?

    I have the Mann Lake vented suit so I am not worried about stings. The suit allowed me to concentrate on what I was doing while my package installs were not going well. The only thing I don't like is squishing bees when trying to add the feeder or cover. I would brush them off and by the time I would get the feeder ready to set down, there would be 3-4 more on top of the box. Maybe a little smoke would keep them from landing/crawling up on the box.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Portsmouth, NH
    Posts
    92

    Default Re: Do you Smoke your bees?

    Smoking the bees when installing packages isn't a good idea. Smoke drives them to find honey. Packages don't have a food source so it can upset the bees if you smoke them. A light spray with sugar water works if it isn't too cold out.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Madison, WI, USA
    Posts
    175

    Default Re: Do you Smoke your bees?

    Using a smoker has added to the adventures that I like to call "mistakes of beekeeping", of which I am the master. I have all out-apiaries so I carry all of my beekeeping equipment in the back of my pickup, which has a cap over the bed. Between bee-yards, I stuff some grass into the end of the smoker so that it is ready to go when I get to the next yard. Occasionally, I don't use enough grass or it falls out, and then the whole back of the truck fills up with smoke and billows out behind me while I am going down the road. People point and shout and I wave back and smile!
    life is finite while knowledge is infinite. - Zhuang Zi

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland, Bladen County, NC, USA
    Posts
    2,997

    Default Re: Do you Smoke your bees?

    Quote Originally Posted by eqnox View Post
    Smoking the bees when installing packages isn't a good idea. Smoke drives them to find honey. .
    Don't believe there is any real evidence for that.... just hearsay. I know they stick their heads in cells... but not to eat honey.
    “Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you have travelled.” - The Quran

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,301

    Default Re: Do you Smoke your bees?

    For your smoker, use the fine paper that is between your foundation in the box of foundation, as a starter. I also use burlap, get the smoker going first time, quickly, every time. If you don't use foundation and have that fine paper, try a piece of newspaper as your starter. Lightly crumple it in your smoker, put a match to it, when it gets going good, add your fuel carefully. You'll be an expert in no time!
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    OKC, OK USA
    Posts
    2,869

    Default Re: Do you Smoke your bees?

    Ditto to Steven! Burlap and newspaper works every time. And to the OP's question.....almost always!
    Mike Forbes
    Red Dirt Apiaries

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Crystal Water, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    900

    Smile Re: Do you Smoke your bees?

    "Do you Smoke your bees? "

    Now that was a new one to me - never tried. Givin' up smoking 25 years ago.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Ankeny, Iowa, USA
    Posts
    595

    Default Re: Do you Smoke your bees?

    I figured that comment would be the first one I received.........
    Last edited by honeyman46408; 04-18-2012 at 09:10 AM.

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