i try not to use a smoker when working the bees but since their mood changes with the weather and foraging conditions, it's good to have a lit smoker on standby just in case you suddenly need it. i've found to my dismay a very gentle colony can suddenly become very defensive. a strong honeyflow usually doesn't make them defensive. i've found the periods of dearth to be deadlier in terms of aggression. maybe because during a honeyflow many of the foragers are out gathering and the rest are busy doing other stuff not like in a dearth, more bees stay home and they want to defend what food they have knowing it's hard to come by.