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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I need to switch out a feeder can for my bees. When would be the best time. Right now they are super active (it is in the 60's and sunny). The front of the hive is covered with bees. Should I do it now?
 

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Sounds like a good temp to me! I would feed them. Its 50 here and im just gonna wait until tomorrow to feed when it will be sunny and alot warmer!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I switched out the jars of sugar syrup. Note to self: don't smoke the hive when switching feeders - the bees don't like it.

I'm all confused on when to smoke the bees. :s I smoked the ones at the entrance and they looked at me like I was insane. Did they move? Um... NO! But I was expecting some crazy beeeeeehavior and they didn't even act like they noticed me. I think I squished a bee trying to switch feeders because they immediately gathered around the feeder hole in the inner cover and I couldn't get them to move so I could put the new jar in.

I inspect the hive to see if the queen is laying eggs in a couple days. I smoke for sure then right? And why didn't they move when I did it? What about the pollen patty, should I be replacing that now or waiting til I inspect the frames?
 

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You don't have to smoke them at all, but I always have the smoker handy. Mostly to make them move from someplace that they will get squished if they stay there.

With a new package with no stored honey, brood, etc. I would expect that smoking wouldn't be that necessary yet. You just want to smoke them a minute or two before you open the hive, if you are going to do it. Just a puff or two. You don't need to choke them. Then you might need to use smoke to get the hive back together.
 

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smoke them and then wait ........ 45-60 seconds - this gives time for the bees to start drinking honey -

i dont smoke them if im just feeding them -

i made a lot of dual jar feeders and just have a spare jar full of sugar water to swap - lift one out set one it - 2-3 bees is all i ever run into - the longer you wait the more bees will bubble out !!!!!
 

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I light my smoker when I'm going to inspect the hives. Then I puff one puff at the entry to say "Honey, I'm home..." and then I usually put it down and never use it again.

I do like to have it in the event I open an angry hive, but that is so rare that I can't remember. I bought a bale of pine straw for smoker fuel two years ago and haven't run out yet.

Linda T in Atlanta
 

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If you have a screened bottom board you can smoke the whole bottom not just the entrance, same light smoke though unless you are looking for a memorable experience. The best time of day is 10:00 to 2:00 when the most foragers are out foraging. They must really love your sugar syrup to be waiting so patiently. Normally bees will move when smoked. Are you burning your kids weed or something funny that they just stay there stoned? They might just be so used to you they do not care. I love bees like that.
 

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The only time I don't light the smoker is when installing packages. If you're feeders on top you might not need it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Are you burning your kids weed or something funny that they just stay there stoned? They might just be so used to you they do not care. I love bees like that.
ROFL! OMG, I can't stop laughing. :applause:

I don't know, I have this feeling they are lulling me into this false sense of security and just when I think they won't attack they'll get me. LOL!

I am so happy, today is the first time I spotted the pollen on their legs. Different colored pollen too.

Thanks for the tips everyone! In a couple of days I'll be inspecting the hive to look for brood. I'm really nervous about it. I'm hoping it goes smoothly.

Do the bees tend to swarm around your head during inspections like they did when I first hived them?
 

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Do the bees tend to swarm around your head during inspections like they did when I first hived them?
No, in any case mine don't. My bees are are 16 miles away and I almost didn't bother to take the smoker with me. I had a spray bottle of water, but I decided it would be prudent to have it with me today.

You will learn, as I am, how and when to smoke the bees. As Tillie said, introduce yourself first. That's only polite :) they will give you the signal when you should give a puff or two. If they are jumping up into your face you will need to rein them in a little. Actually comparing bees to horses may not be so far fetched. Be quiet, and respectful when you are around them. When you make a big mistake (such as dropping a box) you will need cover them with smoke.
 

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My hives are all from swarms and sit in the shade. Others note that's a combination for aggressive behavior and I have had some real hot hives. One group of gals rode Harley's and smoked lucky strikes. Another got dispatched to north central PA and now has an electric fence protecting the bears. That one was my first and is still going strong after five or six years.

I try not to open them when its cold outside. I prefer to work them at the end of the day when people settle in for the evening and the bees have the night to settle down. I'm usually in full battle gear with double layers and typically don't get stung often.

I blow on the rim of the box to shew the bees from where I place the next caddy corner and slowly shift straight so that the girls have time to get out of the way. I think I'm squishing less.

As far as the smoker, I'm getting too lazy to use it.
 

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I just checked my girls today around 6:30 pm. I know it was too late and too cool but I hived them last week and went out of town so I HAD to do it or go nuts. So any way, I ran out after work in my scrubs and red fleece jacket, armed with only my brush and tongs to take out the queen cages and a pair of gloves on. They flew, they buzzed and that was about it! And these were frisky when I hived them! Of course the hive that was grumpiest last week glued the queen cage to a foundation, so I was in there awhile. Woo Hoo! this is going to be fun.
 

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I think I squished a bee trying to switch feeders because they immediately gathered around the feeder hole in the inner cover and I couldn't get them to move so I could put the new jar in.
I read somewhere that you could staple #8 hardware cloth over the inner cover hole and sit the feeder jar on top of the screen. The bees were supposed to be able to feed through the screen and when it came time to change out the jar, no bees! This is how I set mine up but I'm still waiting on bee's. Has anyone tried this? Any disadvantages to doing it?
 

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If you want them to be able to use a top entrance, you will need to remove the #8 cloth later. I wouldnt staple the cloth down, just put a large piece over the hole.
 

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If you want them to be able to use a top entrance, you will need to remove the #8 cloth later. I wouldnt staple the cloth down, just put a large piece over the hole.

Or a small piece and some tape.
 
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