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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am a first year keeper with 2 hives. I have noticed that when tending the bees for inspection, when using smoke, they tend to get noticeably much louder than before the smoke. They have not attacked me or even bumped the veil or jacket. I have a smoker lit each time I go to the hives to work them as recommended by all the liturature I've read (that the bees refuse to acknowledge). this smoke seems to have the opposite affect of what I'm trying to achieve. A gentle hive. Both hives are queen right. I'm puzzled.
 

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They get louder, sure, but then they go fill up on honey, which makes them easier to manage. I smoke, wait a few minutes, then go to work and my hives are pleasant to work. I also smoke my hive tool and my hands and rarely get stung even though I don't use gloves. Smoke is very helpful over the long run.

JMO

Rusty
 

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I started out trying to work my bees without smoke, they got so mean they would meet me at the door in the mornings. I read that they had started associating my smell with danger and I should smoke each time. I tried it and it works, I also learned to not smoke them too much, A puff or two under the lid, wait a couple of minutes and then just enough smoke to cover your scent.
 

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The smoke is not so much to make them tame as it is to sort of push them where you want them to go, keep their heads down, and cover the alarm scent.
 

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The "roar" is the ventilators kicking it up a notch to make up for the CO2 and the smell. They are trying to move more fresh air in. If you make much of a difference for a long time, then you are smoking the too much...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Michael,
I get that roar with the first puff going on top of the frames. I usually will give them one or two puffs in the entrance and then remove the block, top, feeder can, and empty medium super. Followed by the ply that the feeder can sits on. one additional puff to move them back down will cause this roar. Good that their ventilator fans are working I guess, but they really could turn it down a bit. I wondered if it was because of the smoke fuel. I use punky wood an usually will just allow the smoker to sit near the hive on the ground while I'm inspecting or changing out the sugar water. I don't believe it's excessive, but then, I'm not a bee with a smaller lung.
kw
 

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Someone gave some advice which worked great for me last time I worked the hives: the suggestion was to not smoke, and remove all of the boxes, set them down separately (this was for making a split where I'd have to go through the whole hive anyway) , then go through the boxes individually. I found that , doing this without any smoke, the bees did not communicate their defensiveness through the colony, so I was able to work the whole hive with only a puff or two of smoke for the whole inspection. I did use a gentle spray of sugar syrup with HoneyBHealthy when I started working each box, and it kept them calm and busy. I also rubbed HBH on my hands and gloves, at someone's suggestion. The bees were as docile as could be, and my lit smoker just sat unused. This might not work later in the season when there's a dearth of nectar - they'll be a lot more defensive then.
 

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kw, when I got my first little hive one winter (yelp, winter<grin>) I was inspecting it one day when suddenly I heard the sound of the bees "change". I was sitting on a bucket beside the hive looking over a frame of bees...when I heard the bee sound change I looked up and saw about a hundred bees hovering in formation over the top of the exposed frames...and all of'em was looking at *me*!!!! It reminded me of the WWII movies of the Japanese Zeros flying in formation on their way to Hawaii. For a newbie I think I was pretty quick on my feet as I realized my smoker was sitting there on the ground steadily sending a stream of smoke out that was going directly towards the entrance of the hive and beneath it (screen bottom board). I quickly moved the smoker and the squadron of suicide bees settled down. I learned that day that bees can get too much smoke. Now I smoke the entrance a puff or two, put a puff under the hood, let'em sit for a minute, and set my smoker down a few feet from the hive. With each couple of puffs I get a crescendo of buzzes that rises and falls quickly. Seems to work good and no more formations of Zeros. Just a thought. ;)

Ed
 

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Smoke absolutely settles the bees. Yes, they buzz a bit louder when directly assaulted with it, but they calm right down. Are you making sure the smoke is "cool"? If you hit them with hot smoke, not only are you going to piss them off, but you are going to melt wings, too. I had to do some deep inspections today, and pulled some honey. A few of the hives got testy as could be. A few puffs of smoke into the air did absolute wonders to calm them down, and block those alarm communications. Your hives are gentle....until the day they're NOT! :lookout: I do as others mentioned...a couple puffs in the entrance, crack the outer cover and add a couple puffs, then wait a minute or two. Keep the smoker lit as you have been...make sure the smoke is cool... It is doing more than you think to help the bees stay calm. (You could do an experiment and try breaking into those gentle hives with no smoke at all...but I wouldn't advise it.) :eek: Good luck with your girls!
 
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