Thank you folks for the encouragement.
Sam, I know, elastics would have been better. I just didn't have any and I don't live anywhere near any stores. I also agree that smoking the hive is preferable to killing bees; I caused damage to hive structure and larvae when I opened the hive box up for the first time, but wasn't aware of losing any adult bees. The second, more successful hive inspection didn't result in too many upset bees. I only caught one passing whiff of the banana-type alarm scent.
alpha6, I appreciate your input. I'm trying hard to understand the physical basis for the use of smoke. Pheromones and the way they drive the whole social engine of the hive really fascinate me. I'm just starting to learn about how they work.
A study published in the Journal of Insect Behavior in 1995 found that "smoke causes antennae to be 50 percent less sensitive to both alarm pheromones. " A publication of the U of Florida Dept of Entomology, discussing the above study, goes on to ask: "Now we know that smoke can interfere with the releaser alarm pheromone, albeit only temporarily. What might it do to the more long-term, and perhaps more significant, primer pheromone communication that takes place within a honey bee colony? "