Sugar water doesn't make bubbles of substance (soap bubbles have a skin) so no, it doesn't kill them like soapy water does. Honestly I've never heard about soapy water and honey bees but it is a common way to kill YJs so I suspect it would do equally well at killing honey bees.
be sure you label your spray bottles! I sprayed an entire colony with what I thought was sugar water only to realize I had changed the contents of that bottle to insecticide! I killed the entire colony!!
Spray them with ordinary water, with a couple drops of peppermint-oil (the essential-oil ...) added. This seems to disrupt the alarm-pheromone: if you happen to get stung, spray the sting-site before removing the stinger.
I've never used a smoker. Discovering that their wings are suddenly wet gives them other things to think about. (Having a top-bar hive also helps, because I don't have to rip their world apart to work with it.)
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