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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    DeRidder, LA
    Posts
    17

    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
    3,999

    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
    2,224

    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
    414

    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
    Fayetteville, Arkansas
    Posts
    5,018

    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
    2,415

    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
    1,345

    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

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
    Posts
    782

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

    Can we see the video?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,415

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

    Beeghost, i learned that lesson last year checking out hives for sale, we cracked his strongest hive, no smoke and after 20 seconds it was time to back off, I took 6-7 minor stings to the shoulder through my shirt, no stingers left in me though, and they were butting us for a few minutes afterwards. If you want to worry about bees going crazy at anytime for any reason, go ahead and don't smoke them, but if you want to relax and not worry about angry bees, smoke em and wear a veil. You don't need a lot of smoke, i might puff the hive 4-5 times during an inspection very lightly.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,492

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

    When you use smoke they are often getting back to normal before you finish. When you don't use smoke and they get angry they are often still angry several days later. I think the smoke avoids setting them back...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,267

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

    Use smoke, and wear a veil. Sure, occasionally you can get by without either, but are you willing to risk your vision (a sting in the eye)? And remember, ALL bees come armed! Even if they're gentle one day, doesn't mean they won't be cranky the next time you go out there. Sometimes it depends on which drone's semen the queen is using when she lays eggs. You know, some of those drones don't come from "good" neighborhoods!
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
    Posts
    782

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

    I usually just set the smoker on the ground slightly upwind. Kill a bee and they stay calm, injure a bee and you will run around flapping your wings for all your worth.
    I will take a veil off to see better, after I see how they feel that minute.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Arlee MT USA
    Posts
    548

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

    I've never use smoke. I don't even own a smoker. I own a veil but don't know where it is. Never seemed worth it. Bees usually don't even seem to notice I am even there.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia
    Posts
    141

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

    I always give the entrance a couple of puffs then sit the smoker under the hive so some smoke will occasionally drift up through the bottom vents. Generally it keeps them quuiet and easier to handle so they are less disturbed.

    As for the veil, its permanently on, it only takes one sting to the face to ruin your day.
    Cheers
    Rob

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Pineville, Louisiana, USA
    Posts
    76

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

    "it only takes one sting to the face to ruin your day"
    I completely agree. I didn't use smoke at first because I was too cheap to buy one. Tried making a coffee can smoker it didn't work to well, when you blew on the hole in the bottom you burnt your lips(joke). My wife bought me one and I use it every time I go into the hive now. I don't know if its the smoker or if its just me getting better with my handling but I can actually work them without gloves now.

    By the way did you find a queen?

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Arlee MT USA
    Posts
    548

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

    As for the veil, its permanently on, it only takes one sting to the face to ruin your day.
    hmm, never found them to be that painful, when I do get stung its usually in the face. Do different kinds of bees have different strengths of venom or do different (non allergic) people react differently?

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Pineville, Louisiana, USA
    Posts
    76

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Aerindel View Post
    hmm, never found them to be that painful, when I do get stung its usually in the face. Do different kinds of bees have different strengths of venom or do different (non allergic) people react differently?
    As for me, its not painful but it's a local reaction wherever I'm stung will swell up and itch real bad. So far I've been stung on the eyelid, lip, nose and hands. When I first got my bees I looked like I got in a fight about once a week.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Rupert, Idaho
    Posts
    111

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

    I always wear my veil and gloves. My bees don't seem to be aggressive but I am with the rest of you. I don't like being stung in the face. Last summer I took a sting just below my left nostril and it started to swell up. I had to coach a softball game with a bunch of girls that night. We were struggling with the pitching and I called a time out and went to the mound. I was trying to talk to the girls and they just kept looking at my swollen upper lip. Finally one of the girls asked me what had happened to my lip. I thought for a moment and said, one of three things happened. 1) I've been to the dentist today. 2) I got stung by a bee and 3) my wife punched me in the mouth. One of the girls said, "What did you do to piss your wife off" all I could do was laugh and tell them I got stung. We all got a laugh and the girls played better and went on to win. I learned after that experience that I will always wear a veil and use smoke. I also learned that if I take a dried bud from my sumac tree and break it up with my burlap in the smoker that it will really calms them down and keeps them calm for a week or two. Don't know what it is but it works for me. Keep those veils on.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    1,318

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

    My most docile hive attacked me the worst of all my hives one day when I chose to eschew smoke for a quick check. They chased me down like a hive full of AMM. Never again. Smoke - veil - gloves at all times. All I did was lift the lid.

    Totally different creatures with smoke.

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