Have you ever seen a beekeeper use a metal apparatus to blow smoke into the hive before opening it? This equipment is known as a smoker. It is an important tool for keeping bees and beekeepers safe. Why beekeepers use smoke to keep bees calm during hive inspections?
What is a bee smoker?
A bee smoker is a device used by beekeepers to blow smoke into their hives. This smoke does not damage bees. It primarily interferes with their sense of smell, causing them to miss alarm pheromones. Bee smokers are commonly referred to as “smokers.”
A smoker is made up of three major components: the bellow, the nozzle, and the fire chamber. You can restrict the flow of oxygen by using the bellows linked to the fire chamber. This means you can keep your smoker lit for an extended period of time while still controlling the smoke. To get a puff of smoke from the nozzle, simply compress the bellow.
It’s difficult to believe that beekeepers used to function without smokes! However, Moses Quinby, the pioneer of American beekeeping, did not invent the smoker until 1873.
What effect does smoke have on bees?
Most people believe that smoke causes bees to “sleep.” This is not entirely correct. The smoke actually hides the alarm pheromones of bees. Bees prepare to flee their hive because they assume it is on fire when they see smoke. They start eating a lot of honey because they believe they need the energy to find a new home. Their abdomens are so packed with honey that it is difficult for them to sting.
Bees are not harmed by smoke as long as it is not too hot. To ensure that my arm is cool to the touch, we always puff some smoke onto it. Beekeepers inspect their hives to verify that they are in good health. The goal is to never endanger the colony.
Consider trying to converse with your buddies while listening to loud music. This is identical to what a colony goes through when a beekeeper smokes the hive. The smoke interferes with the bees’ sense of smell, preventing them from communicating.
What kind of smoke do beekeepers use?
Beekeepers can generate smoke using a variety of fuels, including burlap, pine needles, wood pellets, twigs, or cardboard. Because the purpose of smoking is to soothe bees, you should never use synthetic materials or bleached paper, as these can annoy the bees.
A good smoker fuel burns slowly, ignites fast, and, most importantly, emits smoke. Strong chemical smells can be harmful to bees. If you light your smoker and notice an unpleasant odor, replace the fuel. Many stores offer smoker fuel, but you may get it for free at home.
A smart beekeeper always keeps a supply of smoker fuel on hand. A few things are more aggravating than having to hunt around the garden for fuel before opening the hive.
Where can you buy a honeybee smoker?
You can purchase beekeeping smokers online. They normally cost approximately $20 and come in a variety of forms and sizes, but they all function the same way. Wherever you purchase your smoker, opt for one with a metal cage around the outside. This is known as a heat shield, and it helps to avoid burns. Furthermore, most heat shields include a little hook that makes it simple to store your smoker.
>>> Read more: TOP 5 Best Fuel For Bee Smoker & Buying Guide
Is there a better way than smoking bees?
When it comes to using a smoker, beekeepers have a variety of viewpoints. Finally, each beekeeper must learn their bees’ behavior in order to determine whether they need to employ a smoker at every inspection. If your bees are generally calm and do not seem overly stressed during inspections, it may be worth experimenting with not using a smoker.
How to smoke your beehive
The best inspection is one in which both you and the bees feel secure. Stings can kill bees and are certainly unpleasant for humans! That is why smokers are so crucial. Here’s how to use one correctly:
- Fill the smoker with lots of fuel. Because you will not want it to go out during an examination.
- Puff a little smoke at the hive’s entrance before opening the cover. Consider this as announcing to your bees, “Hey, I’m coming in!”
- Smoking is not a replacement for being peaceful, calm, and wise. When inspecting bees, use caution and only operate the hive on sunny days.
- Do not overdo it with the smoke. Unless you are dealing with an especially aggressive colony, a few puffs should be enough.
- If you are stung, smoke the area where you were stung. When a bee stings, other bees become agitated and begin to sting as well. This is where smoke comes in handy.
Q. Does smoke make bees go away?
Smoking bees only hide the alarm pheromone emitted by guard bees, allowing beekeepers to securely inspect hives. No amount of smoke will convince the bees to leave their colony.
Q. How to calm bees without smoke?
If you do not use smoker, make certain that you inspect your hives at the best time of day and weather conditions. The best time to inspect your hives is between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. on a calm, warm, sunny day. Instead of guarding the hive, the forager bees will be out working.
You should wear light-colored protective clothing to ensure that any alarm pheromones left over from previous tests are gone. Do not block the hive entrance, and inspect your hives calmly, gently, and deliberately. Finally, avoid crushing bees as this can increase the production of alarm hormones and stinging.
Sprays in many forms are an alternative to smoking. Beekeepers will utilize ordinary water, sugar water, or lemon grass oil infused with spearmint. Beekeepers use a gentle spray to clean the inside walls of the hive. We are not sure how effective this strategy is, although some beekeepers swear by it.
For years, beekeepers have used smoke to soothe bees. There have been no long-term consequences on the health of the bees, and smoke shields a colony from excessive levels of stress and aggression. Smokers are only bad when beekeepers misuse them. Before utilizing a smoker, make sure you know how to handle it correctly so you do not accidentally melt or shock bees.
Bee smokers are essential equipment for beekeepers of all levels. It is critical that you do everything possible to safeguard not just yourself, but also your colony.