Date: Wed, 30 Oct 1996
From: Andy Nachbaur
Organization: WILD BEE’S BBS (209) 826-8107 LOS BANOS, CA
Subject: Re: Smoke’s long-lasting effects
> I know a local beekeeper that uses “liquid smoke” (product used
> to enhance meat) in a quart squirt bottle. It smells like smoke
> and he mists the hive as you and I would smoke one. He swears
> by it. Andy could fill you in on more he knows this guy.
Oh darn, xxxxx, I got to open another box, number two, of HONEY NUT CHEERIOS and get this darn cat off the key board he’s hooked. Then let’s throw another nuc on the barbee..
Yep, some beekeepers have been using “liquid smoke” for quite a while. One even marketed aerosol cans of the stuff, but had a lot of problems with the nozzle plugging up and I have not seen them around for some time. I used the stuff myself but after years of walking around with a hot smoker between my legs I could not get used to the cool air on my private parts and still use a smoker that never seems to burn as good as in the good old days when we burned old fish net that was dipped in hot tar and used to bring in hundreds of tons of Monterey Bay sardines before being retired to the junk pile. What a smoke that stuff made…I think the first smoke a beekeeper uses is no different then the first honey he produces and licks off his fingers in the honey house, there is just never anything as good as that first taste of real honey or that first lung full of bee smoke. I still got a few smoker loads of that old fish net hid away and if I ever feel my last breath is near and I can get my old smoker fired up I am going out in a white cloud of cool fish net smoke and the lasting dreams of the big crops of past.
Back to the real life, and the use of liquid smoke in a windex bottle to calm bees. Yes it works, and is very good if you run baby nucs in tall dry grass as happens around here late in the spring. It is fire safe, and seems to work just as well as the real thing. Several local queen breeders and beekeepers use it diluted with water. Really nice when you only want to look into a few hives, but one of my buddies uses cigaret smoke, I chew myself, but as many times as I tried it in his hives it did not seem to work and it was a question of who was going to get to me first him or the bees. Some beekeepers just don’t appreciate bee science at all. We came to an agreement he don’t blow cigaret smoke in my hives and I won’t spit tobacco juice in his..seemed fair at the time, but sometimes he forgets.
I know beekeepers who use just water in the spray bottle to calm very aggressive bees now called “killers” or “Afro” in the desert southwest and Mexico, and report the same results as using real smoke or the fake barbee q smoke. I don’t know why this method has not taken off, but it sure seems like a cheep way to calm bees. But then I never have asked what happens when he mists one of those 5 foot rattle snakes that live under the 2nd bee hive in every desert location. I think I will stick with the smoke as I know they move away from it as fast as the bees do, not so sure the water would get them moving and I would end up stepping on their tails which is bad for my tired old back because every time I get into that situation I always seem to injure it when I come back down to earth for my wheels up landing.
I don’t like rattlesnakes, they are now protected here and you are only allowed two per day, and must have a licence. Several times each year I have violated the law because I won’t buy a licence, sorry to say just another tax, but always after I see the 2nd one in any one yard, I come in, no matter how early it is. I don’t know if the law says you got to eat what you kill, but my X would not hesitate to cook them up for the kids, but I passed no matter how many times I was told how good they were and tasted just like chicken. But then I passed on the possum, coon, and other assorted varments but did go for the pickled
cactus leaves and deep pit mesquite barbee q’ed javelina pigs that are nothing more then a big fat rat as far as I can tell, but the barbee q sauce is always good and I am sure I ate some of that rattlesnake in the barbee q beans anyway.
Someday I will tell you about opening the freezer thinking of ice cream and looking into the cold eyes of the beautiful but deadly dead coral snake my wife saved to show me, at least she did not cook it, or did she, she won’t tell? My X still likes to call and talk, mostly about the real Mexican kids she teaches in Spanish at one of the few if not the only one room boarder school in the US that teaches kids from Mexico to be better Mexican’s, not Americans. Anyway the last time she called she was so excited because her classes pet cockroach was giving birth, don’t grin, its the rage in the grammar school science classes so I am told, big brown giant cockroaches as big as your kids hand, and her’s was pushing out dozens of little nasty baby cockroaches, maybe a $100 worth in ten minutes…and all they eat is wallpaper and anything else. There may be as much money in giant African “killer” cockroaches as her son’s African “killer” queen bee business.
ttul, the OLd Drone
BTW, for any snake lovers I don’t kill just any old snake and I go out of my way to pick up and move some monster ones off the road so they won’t be killed. Rattlesnakes in my bee yards are a different story and if you let one go in a bee yard you will find two the next time, around here. The forklift has saved a lot of them as I don’t get off of it to chase no snakes when I am loading out a yard, but in the old days there was no grater thrill for a beekeeper then lifting by hand a 200# hive to load on a truck and finding a coiled up rattler under it. You don’t want to do that when you have someone else helping you as they always seem to drop their end and run leaving you standing there off balance with a hive full of hot bees and a singing rattlesnake trying to get away trough the space between you legs or worse crawling under the ajoining hive you got to pick up next.
I have seen experienced beekeepers get up on the truck with a shovel to kill the snake that was crawling away from the truck 30 feet south, and had one guy who actually wore stove pipes over his legs to keep from getting bit, it worked he never got bit. I have learned to tell when a bee yard has snakes working it over when I don’t find any mice in the nests under the hives or in the dead one’s you can be certain you will find a snake. I killed one-one time that was over 60 inches and as big around as a fat ladies arm. I could put my foot in its mouth all the way up to the bottom of the boot tops. It scared me so bad that after killing it with a lucky hit from a rock I went ten miles home to get a gun just to bee sure. I did not take that one home because I did not want to have to eat it and left it off with some local hippies who skinned it and ate it so they said, but they also said the skin spoiled because they got stoned on some loco weed for four days, but I am sure they sold it as they are prized for making belts and hat bands and with that one they could have done boots, belt, and a hat band and have some left over for a wallet or two.
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