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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Pearcy, AR
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    Default Angry smoked bees and possible outsiders?

    I'm new to beekeeping and have checked the hive about 3-4 times now. I filled up the bottom box and added another on top minus 2 frames to allow room for sugar water. This last time I tried to check on things, the bees were quiet at first but really charged out in a big uproar as soon as I added smoke (haven't they read the literature?). I puffed more smoke and they got madder and started stinging. I decided discretion was the better choice so I quickly got out of the area.

    Lately, I've noticed some other bees at the entrance that seem different. One (on left side of image) is probably a drone? but the other (right side) is about the same size but just a much lighter color than the rest. I haven't seen either of these for the past week or so, so it might be moot, but I wondered what the situation might be. Any help/insight?
    3_Bees.jpg

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    OKC, OK USA
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    2,870

    Default Re: Angry smoked bees and possible outsiders?

    A queen mates with multiple drones so it is very common to have dark and light bees in a hive depending on who's sperm she uses. I am confused about leaving out two frames to allow room for syrup Are you smoking the entrance and this is where they are charging out of? Is your smoke cool or hot? Need more input!
    Mike Forbes
    Red Dirt Apiaries

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Pearcy, AR
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    3

    Default Re: Angry smoked bees and possible outsiders?

    thanks for quick response NasalSponge. I think you answered the first question--sounds logical--just never heard that before now and it didn't enter my mind. Re: Smoking. Yes, I always start by smoking the entrance, then more as needed when opening other areas. I always try to make sure it is a cool smoke and I think that was the case this time. I have read elsewhere that the bees can be more temperamental on cool mornings or similar weather related situations and it was cooler than usual this time, so maybe that was the cause? I'll try again tomorrow now that it's plenty warm and I'll make double sure that I'm using a cool smoke and see how it goes--unless you have advice to the contrary. Hope this helps and thanks again!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Pineville, Louisiana, USA
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    76

    Default Re: Angry smoked bees and possible outsiders?

    Cool Smoke--- that is something that alludes me. I can start my smoker and make it last, so far the longest has been around 4 hrs. But I have not been able to obtain cool smoke.
    --Beesmoke-- I have tried with smoke and all my girls always get p double s t when I use it, so I just stopped using smoke until I figure how to get cool smoke.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    OKC, OK USA
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    Default Re: Angry smoked bees and possible outsiders?

    Tim, see if this helps... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PwEnri6lNNI

    BeeLow, could very well be the weather causing their feistiness.
    Mike Forbes
    Red Dirt Apiaries

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Pineville, Louisiana, USA
    Posts
    76

    Default Re: Angry smoked bees and possible outsiders?

    Thanks for the link I like fatbeeman videos this is the one that helped me build a lasting smoker but the cool smoke is still not there. I'm still working with it though. I'll figure out the trick sooner or later.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Perry, Florida, USA
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    226

    Default Re: Angry smoked bees and possible outsiders?

    Tim you being in LA. you should have lots of moss around. Put a ball of green moss(the kind that grows well in live oaks) in the spout of your smoker and you will get a "cool" smoke. If moss isnt available use green grass.

    psisk

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
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    Default Re: Angry smoked bees and possible outsiders?

    You should be using something in the smoker that smolders, like cotton cloth and cardboard, which is what I use. Light it, get it going, and let it sit for a few minutes before using.

    The trick with cotton is that it really doesn't burn well, so it just makes smoke. Anything that flares into flame when you compress the bellows is going to cause trouble. I like to mix in some pine needles, too, it smells better. Don't know if the bees like it better or not, but I get at least half an hour of smoke from a charge with the rolled up cardboard, cotton rags, and pine needles.

    My Grandpa used cotton rags if I remember correctly.

    Keep the smoker at least six inches away from the hive and only compress the bellows slowly. You don't need much smoke, you are using it to confuse the bees sense of smell, not trying to fill the hive with smoke. Used this way, the smoke coming out is pretty cool to start with, and it's mixed with ambient air so you don't fry the bees.

    Scorching smoke will indeed infuriate them, and they will sting you. Cool smoke makes them "forget" you are there and just go about their business.

    Peter

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    43,492

    Default Re: Angry smoked bees and possible outsiders?

    >I puffed more smoke and they got madder and started stinging. I decided discretion was the better choice so I quickly got out of the area.

    The most common smoking mistakes:

    • People have the smoker too hot and burn the bees with the flame thrower they are wielding
    • People use far too much smoke causing a general panic instead of simply interfering with the alarm pheromone. One puff in the door is enough. Another on the top if they look excited is ok and after that having it lit and setting nearby is usually sufficient.
    • People don't light the smoker because they think smoke upsets the bees, probably because of one of the above reasons.
    • People blow the smoke in and immediately open the hive. If you wait a minute the reaction will be completely different. If you’re doing something not too time consuming, like filling frame feeders or something, it’s a good plan to smoke the next hive before you open this one. That way the minute will be up when you open that one.
    • People don’t smoke because they have the idea that it is either bad for the bees or somehow unnatural. Their exposure is only a puff or two once every week or two. People have been smoking bees for at least 8,000 years that we have documented for one very good reason. Nothing works better at calming them.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Pearcy, AR
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    Default Re: Angry smoked bees and possible outsiders?

    Thanks everyone for great ideas. I tried again today and had much better luck. I used to use cardboard but this time I used damp sawdust and small woodchips--actually had trouble keeping it going at first. Just before smoking the bees, I added a small handful of green grass and that seemed to create more smoke and cool things down even more and was effective. I will try the cotton cloth next time to compare--it makes sense, and either grass or moss in the spout. Some interesting observations after opening: The center of the space was slightly wider than the distance between frames and the bees built their own "frame" attached to the inner lid in place of a frame. I wonder why they preferred going from scratch vs. using one of the foundation frames. They did both construction in the bottom box.

  11. #11
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    Jul 2008
    Location
    OKC, OK USA
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    Default Re: Angry smoked bees and possible outsiders?

    They like building their own much better that using foundation.
    Mike Forbes
    Red Dirt Apiaries

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
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    Default Re: Angry smoked bees and possible outsiders?

    Bees strongly pefer to have their comb attached to a solid surface at the top of the hive, and will build comb on any such surface long before they use frames or foundation.

    Always keep your frames pushed well together in the brood nest -- excess space will allow the bee to draw out the honey storage at the top of the combs very wide, and they will not use it for brood if it's too deep. They will also build comb between the frames and pile propolis up on the end bars. Makes a mess.

    Frames in honey supers can be spaced out more after they have been fully drawn (not before, as some bees will draw a huge comb on each side of a blank foundation, making it very hard to get them out intact), and you can even put 8 or 9 frames in a ten frame box -- very fat comb, easy to uncap when extracting.

    Never leave a frame out or a large space between two groups of them, especially in a box just under a cover, the bees will very promptly draw comb in the space from the cover, within days if there is a good flow on.

    Peter

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