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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Granby, CT
    Posts
    547

    Default Re: Smoke or No smoke

    I don't believe they will. I open a lot of hives with and without smoke all the time and see no difference in the number of bees with their heads in the cells. I think the idea that smoke makes them consume honey is a theory that Langstroth came up with to explain why they didn't sting when smoked. I see no evidence that it is true.[/QUOTE]

    Smoking the cluster will distrupt the colony activity for hour or even a day in 80 F in the middle of summer. The same think applys in the winter. Every hive disruption, including smoking in the middle of winter has negative affects on the colony, honey consumption is the main one. I see that evidence in the summer, we all can see it in the summer. By disruption I mean the bees react to smoking by stopping doing what they were doing or naturally will be doing if not smoked.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
    Posts
    3,472

    Default Re: Smoke or No smoke

    Quote Originally Posted by bleta12 View Post
    I see that evidence in the summer,
    Could you explain the evidence you see in the summer.
    To everything there is a season....

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,745

    Default Re: Smoke or No smoke

    >Smoking the cluster will distrupt the colony activity for hour or even a day in 80 F in the middle of summer.

    And not smoking them can disrupt them for a week. I've seen hives that were still mad a week later when they weren't smoked. I have not seen that when they were.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Granby, CT
    Posts
    547

    Default Re: Smoke or No smoke

    It was 0 F this morning in CT. These low temperatures are going to have an strong impact on week small colonies.
    I hope we have enough colonies to smoke in the spring.

    Gilman

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Millbury, MA, USA
    Posts
    1,931

    Default Re: Smoke or No smoke

    Quote Originally Posted by bleta12 View Post
    It was 0 F this morning in CT. These low temperatures are going to have an strong impact on week small colonies.
    I hope we have enough colonies to smoke in the spring.

    Gilman
    -2 here. I agree with Gilman, I checked all my hives during the warm spell, added sugar cakes as needed and never lit my smoker. Got a couple stings because I was sloppy with my veil but I did wear gloves. If you're going to put your hands into the hive you will need them.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
    Posts
    3,472

    Default Re: Smoke or No smoke

    I still don't understand the major "disruption" that a puff of smoke creates. If frames are not pulled it seems like the bees go right back to what they were doing within minutes.
    To everything there is a season....

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    4,282

    Default Re: Smoke or No smoke

    Smoking bees saves bees during manipulation. It is irrefutable. I am not talking about using an overly hot smoke and torture quantity application. Learn to properly use your smoker and make everyones life easier.

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Granby, CT
    Posts
    547

    Default Re: Smoke or No smoke

    I am not against the use of smoke, I am a beekeeper, I use it all the time. In winter time (that was the original question of the thread) I try to limit or eliminate it. It is an extra stress on the colony in the middle of January.
    We all should agree that the smoke disrupts the colony activity, otherwise we use it. It disrupts the defense behavior (that is why we use it not to get stung). Does this disruption is limited to defense of the colony only?
    I think it extends to other activities and time.
    Defense mechanism probably is the main instinct of the colony, It has do to directly with its survival. In Nature, survival takes precedent to quality (that is why I think that emergency queen cells are not the best and eventually will be superseded).
    I do not smoke or rarely do , when the bees are in a honey flow. The bees are more forgiving in a honey flow and you don't need to.
    We need to use the smoke, but should be aware of its affects. Working with bees with time we learn when to use it, limit or avoid the smoke, instead "one size fits all" approach. When we master that knowledge, we are closer to the art of beekeeping.

    Gilman

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
    Posts
    1,238

    Default Re: Smoke or No smoke

    I have feral bees, which are nice most of the time and I rarely get stung. I can sit next to the entrance and watch them without a problem. But lifting the inner cover when they are cranky is another thing.

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    owensboro,ky
    Posts
    2,240

    Default Re: Smoke or No smoke

    ".... But lifting the inner cover when they are cranky is another thing...."
    therein lies the rub. one seldom knows if they are "cranky" till the cover is lifted. this is especially true for new beekeepers.,thus my blanket recommendation to light one's smoker.
    "Wine is a constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy" Ben Franklin

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
    Posts
    3,472

    Default Re: Smoke or No smoke

    I think it would also be interesting to know which has the more long lasting impact on colony disruption or confusion - a puff of smoke, or alarm pheromone.
    To everything there is a season....

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Granby, CT
    Posts
    547

    Default Re: Smoke or No smoke

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Gillmore View Post
    I think it would also be interesting to know which has the more long lasting impact on colony disruption or confusion - a puff of smoke, or alarm pheromone.
    That is still one dimensional approach.
    It is getting warmer in CT 12 F. Would you still use smoke in CT today?

  13. #33
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
    Posts
    3,472

    Default Re: Smoke or No smoke

    Under normal circumstances I would never lift the lid on a hive unless it's flying weather. However, if a colony is about to starve I would remove the lid and add sugar regardless of what the temperature might be.

    Pop the lid, a quick puff of smoke to move the bees down off the top bars, add another box, add newspaper and sugar, close it up. In less than a minute you're in and out. Take a peek 10 minutes later and the bees will be back up top and all over the sugar.

    I don't at all consider this a recommended practice for this time of year, but if the bees are facing starvation it's an effective emergency measure. I've had to do it before in the middle of winter, and the bees do survive. Poor management on my part but these things happen sometimes.

    Whether or not to use smoke in this situation ... I guess it depends on your bees. I have a collection of mongrels, survivor bees if you will. They are not aggressive if handled properly, but if I were to remove the lid right now without a shot of smoke to momentarily confuse them, they would probably be pouring out of the hive after me in a defensive action. If I had super calm docile bees there would be no need for the smoke. Know your bees and use common sense
    Last edited by Mike Gillmore; 01-26-2013 at 07:43 AM.
    To everything there is a season....

  14. #34
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Erin, NY /Florence SC
    Posts
    3,361

    Default Re: Smoke or No smoke

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Gillmore View Post
    I still don't understand the major "disruption" that a puff of smoke creates. If frames are not pulled it seems like the bees go right back to what they were doing within minutes.
    I agree Mike. I think too often people miss the word "puff". We use a puff (or should I say wiff) at the entrance and and another when we pop the top whatever the time of year. If I have let a hive get to the point I am soliciting an aggressive response by not smoking I consider then I have disrupted the hive. Other than the slight "hum", which helps me estimate strength, I've never seen a winter cluster disturbed by a puff of smoke. When we are loading hives or have to deal with robbing behavior in a yard my son and I always use the word copious for smoking which is intended to solicit a control response. Proper smoking, like a hive tool or a frame feeder, is just another tool in beekeeping and when used properly is very effective with no measuable impact on a hive in cluster or out.

  15. #35
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,745

    Default Re: Smoke or No smoke

    >I think it would also be interesting to know which has the more long lasting impact on colony disruption or confusion - a puff of smoke, or alarm pheromone.

    I've seen bees that set off an alarm and were still upset a week later. I've never the effect of the smoke wear off in a matter of minutes, certainly less than an hour. I think that's pretty obvious evidence that an alarm upsets them longer than smoke.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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