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Thread: Too much smoke?

  1. #1
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    Nov 2012
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    Flynn, TX, USA
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    Default Too much smoke?

    I'm new to this and apogize in advance for the silly question. Is there such a thing as too much smoke? Or have any of you ever had all the bees flee the hive you're trying to smoke instead of running in and filling up? I was literally covered in bees the last time we opened our hive. Thank goodness for full battle gear!

  2. #2
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    Apr 2011
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    Palermo, Maine, USA
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    Default Re: Too much smoke?

    I have never had that experience, but yes, it is possible to use too much smoke. A puff at the entrance, and another under the cover should be sufficient. Having said that, this time of year they may be more aggressive than usual.
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    Ralph

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Too much smoke?

    This video pretty much says it all. Do NOT do what this woman is doing..someone needs to get her as far away from the hive as possible. The man is gently brushing off the bees from capped frames of heony and she's trying to set the world on fire...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RucO...feature=relmfu
    "Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay".....Krishnamurti

  4. #4
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    Bayboro,NC,USA
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    Default Re: Too much smoke?

    Well if those bees don't make it we know what killed them,,,,,,CANCER!!!!!!!!!!
    I agree with Riskybizz,,get that woman as far away from the hive (any hive) as possible. Just a puff or two in the entrance , one or two under the inner cover and a couple if you see them getting alittle PO'd.

  5. #5
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    Feb 2010
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    S Hadley, Massachusetts USA
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    Default Re: Too much smoke?

    Quote Originally Posted by Riskybizz View Post
    This video pretty much says it all. Do NOT do what this woman is doing..someone needs to get her as far away from the hive as possible. The man is gently brushing off the bees from capped frames of heony and she's trying to set the world on fire...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RucO...feature=relmfu
    well......its thier bees.

    I laughed and laughed. That lady takes the cake.

    The hives attitude determines how much smoke I use. I always have the smoker lit on inspection and I hardly ever use it. I have one testy hive that is a super honey producer that I smoke pretty heavy. Most of the time a puff or two will calm down the hive.

    The thing about inspection.............the least amount of stress you can put on the bees the better. I almost never to frame by frame inspection. I only do them 1st in the spring and last in the fall. I never inspect them during a honey flow. I believe you lose a good amount to the crop and the hive reorganizes itself. This goes for smoke to. The more you smoke the louder the bees get reacting to the smoke.
    Pearl City Apiary Michael and Loucil Bach

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Too much smoke?

    Smoke appears to work by interrupting the chemical communication system in the hive, particularly the alarm pheromone, amyl acetate. You don't need much, just enough to interfere with the bees odor recognition.

    Too much smoke and you will drive the bees right out of the hive, and really crank them off in the process, more so if it's hot, not cool smoke.

    Since I don't like to get stung, I give a long, slow puff into the entrance (smoke stays cooler that way) and a whiff under the cover. Wait a minute or so for them to spread it all over the hive, then open up.

    After than I will puff some over the frames if they are getting aggressive -- one hive was much crankier than the other this year, first hive pretty much ignored me, the second was always "runny".

    Most of the time in the spring you can open up a hive, particularly a new one, with no smoke, no veil, no gloves, and be fine. However, sooner or later you're going to find them in a really bad mood, so I wear a veil and gloves and keep a smoker lit. Works wonders on those occasions where they really don't want you around.

    Only stings I got this year were my fault -- squeeze a bee between your belly and a box, you're gonna get stung, ditto for trapping one under the edge of your shorts and then bend your knee.

    Peter

  7. #7
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    St. Joseph County, Michigan, USA
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    Default Re: Too much smoke?

    i think the lady in the video may have been trying to smoke the bees out of the super

  8. #8
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    Nov 2012
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    Flynn, TX, USA
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    Default Re: Too much smoke?

    And here I thought she was doing it just right!! Well, that probably explains what happened to us. We were trying to remove the top feeder and also check to see whether this queen had managed to get all the workers to move some honey out of the bottom box so she'd have more room to put brood because we were worried whether there were enough bees to over-winter. Given how completely covered I was, I'm guessing she managed regardless of where she had to put the brood!

    We started this year with 2 3# packages. One of the hives swarmed and we didn't know whether there would be a queen left (because we'd bought "marked" queens and one of them came with clipped wings -- still don't know how she managed to fly off) so we bought a new queen. Found out that hive had a queen. So we took about 5 frames from the hive body and 5 frames from the super of the other hive (the one that hadn't swarmed) and put together a new hive. But we put the 5 brood frames randomly around and the bees filled several of open the hive body ones with honey so it seemed like the queen ended up laying in the next up super. We weren't certain whether that would result in too few bees to overwinter. We didn't get too far with the inspection!

    What do you do if the hive is aggressive and runny after you've opened it? Come back to fight another day? Part of our problem is that we only are up at the property a couple weekends a month, so if we don't get to it that day, the next opportunity might be 2 weeks away.

    Thanks for all the information!!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Too much smoke?

    You’re going to find out over time that bees can react differently when manipulated for numerous reasons. Weather conditions, cold, too windy, low pressure, or lack of a substantial nectar flow, can be a few of the reasons they might not want you around. Just be prepared for a different situation each time you open them up. Be deliberate and slow in your movements. And as long as you’re not like Ms. Smoky in the video, you’ll be ok.
    "Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay".....Krishnamurti

  10. #10
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    Livermore, CA
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    Default Re: Too much smoke?

    Wow, that poor guys lungs are now jerky!
    Coyote Creek Bees

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Too much smoke?

    Lots of reasons for aggressive bees, but typically I've found a hive that is suddenly "runny" without an obvious cause like threatening rain is queenless. They sound different and fly up much more, although I've not noticed more bees head-butting or anything.

    I had a swarm supercede their queen as soon as they were established this year, and that's what they acted like. Very "runny", fairly aggressive, and louder than usual. Next week when I looked again there were eggs after a couple weeks of none, leading me to think they had a virgin queen when they were "runny".

    Smoking a super to get the bees out is very likely to make the honey taste of smoke, I'd be careful with that! Much better to use a Porter Bee Escape, a fume board, or just do what we do, shake most of the bees off and brush off the rest. Less upset, far less smoke, and better tasting honey. Likely fewer stings, too.

    Peter

  12. #12
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    Marquette, MI, USA
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    Default Re: Too much smoke?

    Can too much smoke on the affect the honey flavor?



    Shawn

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Too much smoke?

    Abosultely.

    Smoke will stick to the wax, adding smoke flavor to the honey.

    Peter

  14. #14
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    Jun 2011
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    Marquette, MI, USA
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    Default Re: Too much smoke?

    Ahhh--that explains the flavor of one of my batches of honey. Will be extra careful next year.

    Thanks,
    Last edited by honeyman46408; 11-20-2012 at 05:31 PM. Reason: UNQuote

  15. #15
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    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
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    Default Re: Too much smoke?

    Man. The music in that video is too good.

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