This ^ trust me . Thought I as going to be able to keep by also with out it . But there's times you need it. May not need all the time but its nice to have it going when ya need it .I suggest lighting your smoker even if you aren't intending to use the smoker that day. When the time comes that you need to use the smoker, it will be a much more pleasant experience if you already have your smoker lighting technique figured out.
Also, having the smoker lit and nearby upwind may have an effect without you actually having to hold it.
Why, yes, just as certainly as every hive is different.Are there pros or cons to smoking or not smoking?
My small hives in my new apiary definitely fit this pattern. They're total sweethearts and I don't need smoke to work them, at least not when opening the hives. Where we find smoke handy is in putting things back together. A puff of smoke gets them out of the way when putting frames back in or stacking supers. We're still new enough to hate squashing bees. My wife and I work together so we have a free hand to do this.Small hives in new apiaries are often very docile. As they get bigger and stronger that often changes - learn to use your smoker before you need it. Also properly used smoke results in LESS stress to the bees, because it prevents them from going into general alarm.