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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    DeRidder, LA
    Posts
    16

    Default Do you use smoke everytime and does it set them back?

    I watch people on UTube working bees with no smoke, veil, safety glasses or anything. Are there bees out there that gentle? I want some, where can I get them. Even with a touch of smoke, my girls can be grouchy.
    Does it set the bees back when using smoke?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    4,163

    Default Re: Do you use smoke everytime and does it set them back?

    I give them a little every time, normally it doesn't take much just a couple puffs under the bottom screen. Occasionally they need more.
    Doubt if a couple puffs affects their performance in any measurable amount. Moving the frames & removing their bridge comb causes a bigger setback IMO
    Dan

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,505

    Default Re: Do you use smoke everytime and does it set them back?

    You can indeed work bees with no smoke, but usually only new packages or swarms (and not all of those) with no stores. Once the hive gets full of stores and brood, the bees get much more defensive and you will GREATLY regret not using smoke.

    Only took one time for me, I'd gotten into the habit of taking a peek to see how they were doing, and one day I got stung several times before I got the inner cover off. Got a few more in the face on my way back to the house to get the veil.

    Not a good practice to work without veil and smoker.

    Opening the hive always sets them back a bit, which is why you shouldn't routinely pull all the frames. Smoke does too, but probably no more than opening the hive.

    I had one swarm last year that was pretty much unmanageable without smoke, very runny and cranky. They replaced their queen right off the bat, and were hard to handle until she was up and laying properly.

    Peter

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    OKC, OK USA
    Posts
    2,870

    Default Re: Do you use smoke everytime and does it set them back?

    Mike Forbes
    Red Dirt Apiaries

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Litchfield, CT, USA
    Posts
    430

    Default Re: Do you use smoke everytime and does it set them back?

    Use the smoke if you can. I took a peek at a hive last fall without a veil or smoke. It was just gonna be a quick peek. WAMMO! What I'd I do?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,113

    Default Re: Do you use smoke everytime and does it set them back?

    It depends on the hive. I like to keep gentle bees. I don't wear gloves. I do use a jacket with veil and I do take the smoker with me, but I only use it on hives that show some meanness or who have a history of the same.

    I would imagine down there in Louisiana, you may have some influence from Africanized bees which may be part of your problem. It also may be the time of the year. I try not to get in the hives mid summer when it is hot and nothing is blooming. Most of them are mean then.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,925

    Default Re: Do you use smoke everytime and does it set them back?

    It shuts them down for the rest of the day sometimes. You will have foragers coming in during inspection and it'll stop typically for a bit til they get things settled again. I use smoke to avoid crushing bees for the most part, to move them out where I need to work. Tough to scrape burr comb etc... with thousands of bees on the top bars. I always give a little puff when I crack the boxes too just to let them know I'm coming. I always wear a veil now so I don't have to worry about getting stung in the face at any time, I can relax a lot more. Smoke also keeps the bees less flighty.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Livermore, CA
    Posts
    1,403

    Default Re: Do you use smoke everytime and does it set them back?

    I rarely use smoke. But will take the time to light the smoker from now on after my last dealing with my hives, everyone of them was cranky!! Wishin I had a smoker as I took a stinger to the leg, had another trying like heck to do the same, and bees bumping off my veil. It was all I could do to keep one hand pulling my sweat pants away from the nether region while manipulating frames to drop in a frame feeder with the other!!
    Coyote Creek Bees

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