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Discussion Starter #1
two things just to get comment on.

It's May and I'm seeing drones being kicked out. Guess they are done with most of them. Some are still entering the hive, but the population of present drones has markedly gone down.

The other thing is I read that smoke just confuses the bees sense of smell, so I started using just lemon grass oil on my hands and now I can work the bees without smoke and bare handed. I have seen the videos of bee masters working with no veil or anything, but that has never been me. Still it's nice not to have to get the smoker ready. Admittedly, I don't tear my hive apart stem to stern, but even if I did, I think I would just keep my hands oiled and wait for them to calm.

Using a Carnie queen here in western north carolina and she is doing just as advertised. Removed the follower all together and checker boarded empty frames like-brood brood empty brood brood empty-pattern and it worked great. Comb is nearly all the way to the back of the hive. the Carnie queen gave me workers way back in March.

Everything has it's learning curve and now I guess I am going to have to learn how to get room into a full hive. I've thought about supering the top bar. We'll see.
 

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If smoke interferes with their smell, what do you think you're doing with LGO? I know they are attracted to it, but you're still just interfering with their smell. By means of overpowering the "bad" with the "good". What's the real difference? Besides probably having bees clinging to your hands?
 

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>It's May and I'm seeing drones being kicked out. Guess they are done with most of them. Some are still entering the hive, but the population of present drones has markedly gone down.

Drones being kicked out is usually sign of a dearth. You might check stores and make sure they aren't going to starve...

>The other thing is I read that smoke just confuses the bees sense of smell, so I started using just lemon grass oil on my hands and now I can work the bees without smoke and bare handed.

Confusing the bees sense of smell is the whole point. It keeps them from having a defensive reaction that will upset the hive for a week. Instead you just have an hour or so where their sense of smell is slightly impaired...

>I have seen the videos of bee masters working with no veil or anything, but that has never been me. Still it's nice not to have to get the smoker ready. Admittedly, I don't tear my hive apart stem to stern, but even if I did, I think I would just keep my hands oiled and wait for them to calm.

So instead of dulling their sense of smell for an hour, you want to confuse them totally by putting bee pheromones (LGO) on your hands (which will attract them)? You think that is an improvement?
 

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I haven't really used the smoker much, either, though I've have it ready for when I really open the hive to look at bars (only one hive, placed on 4/09). Mostly, I've just misted them with plain water; all in all, I've been surprised at how little interest they have in my presence. I've also found that if I get a few flying at me, I walk slowly away a few feet, and they calm down (job is done, perhaps?). Now that the first batch of brood is out, I'll see if their "gentle" natures sustain, or if more at the party means more active defense as well. I do not have all that lovely straight comb others are getting (hmm, can you hear my jealous whine?), so I believe some smoking will be in order as I arrange for a more orderly hive. (Yes, Michael, I have been listening to "one straight comb leads to another" -- I'll check tomorrow if last week's work had any effect:).)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
clearly I have been going down the wrong road not using the smoker. will take the advice of the experts. didn't realize I was introducing a second queen. Need to leave well enough alone.

Michael talked about lean stores. Thankfully it appears that is not what is happening with my drones, so don't know what it happening. Just wait and see I guess.
 

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little lion, just one more option to consider instead of a smoker...I use anise oil in a spray bottle of water (no sugar as it grows mold on the topbars). My girls are used to that smell in their syrup feed and don't think it's a 2nd queen. It's strong enough to interfere with their pheromone signals.
 

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Michael talked about lean stores. Thankfully it appears that is not what is happening with my drones, so don't know what it happening. Just wait and see I guess.
If it's not from lack of stores (dearth) it could very well be from a high varroa infestation. It would be a good idea to assess the level.
 

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Never owned a smoker. Peppermint oil plus water in a spray bottle, sparingly applied, does the trick. Lightly spritzing their wings ... don't take much ... distracts them from flying. I guess they think it must be raining. If you do get stung, spray directly on the sting site before you remove the stinger, then promptly remove it. No bees will follow.

Other advice is to use great care to avoid crushing them. Carefully slide top-bars into place moving bees out of the way. Take your time. Either use a bee-brush or a nearby sprig of pine-needles to nudge them aside. If you simply give them time to move, they will move.
 
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