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Author Topic: 2 smoke or not?  (Read 1504 times)

Offline GaDavid

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2 smoke or not?
« on: June 10, 2008, 07:47:51 PM »
1st season with the ladies and I'm ready to do a little robbing.  From what I've read the process of smoking the bee's calms them but also starts them on an eating frenzy.  I've tried to limit smoking the bees at all this season to avoid setting them back.  With a full suit and gloves it is a bit easier to deal with their wrath and they do get a bit miffed.  So first, does smoking actually set them back a week?  And second if I smoke when robbing them am I potentially losing a weeks worth of their/my final product?

Offline Moonshae

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Re: 2 smoke or not?
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2008, 11:46:01 PM »
Opening the hive sets them back, because it's a disturbance, just like smoke. If they can afford to lose the honey you're going to rob, maybe don't use smoke at all, to avoid contaminating the honey. Just stick with an escape, or a brush and a suit. Bees *really* hate being brushed, FYI.

Just because they have excess now, which may be during your flow, doesn't mean that they won't need the honey to get through a dry spell in the late summer/early fall. Think forward before you rob. Is the taste worth having to feed a month early? Maybe, maybe not.
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Offline JP

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Re: 2 smoke or not?
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2008, 11:51:08 PM »
1st season with the ladies and I'm ready to do a little robbing.  From what I've read the process of smoking the bee's calms them but also starts them on an eating frenzy.  I've tried to limit smoking the bees at all this season to avoid setting them back.  With a full suit and gloves it is a bit easier to deal with their wrath and they do get a bit miffed.  So first, does smoking actually set them back a week?  And second if I smoke when robbing them am I potentially losing a weeks worth of their/my final product?

They really don't eat that much when you smoke them, its such a small amount I wouldn't worry about it.


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Offline Dick Allen

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Re: 2 smoke or not?
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2008, 01:13:11 PM »
Quote
does smoking actually set them back a week?

probably not a week. from what i've heard it's maybe considered a couple of days loss of production. but, in my opinion, even that may be suspect. some of what gets passed around in beekeeping is hear-say or someone's opinion that has taken on the aura of an estabished universal truth. has anyone ever seen any studies comparing production of bees that were occasionally smoked versus those that had no smoke introduced into their hives? the practice of disturbing bees in itself probably decreases production a bit, and it seems reasonable to me to think that bees calmed by a small amount of smoke will be less disturbed than having the bees go on a rampage when their hive is opened without smoke.

Offline Scadsobees

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Re: 2 smoke or not?
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2008, 02:10:18 PM »
Yeah, I've heard that about full inspections, not smoking.  Maybe an hour or two, have you seen how fast 30,000 bees (the hive force) can do a clean up job???

I can guarantee you that smoking the bees will set them back FAR less than killing the queen in nervous bumbling because the bees are agitated because you didn't use enough smoke.

Smoke away.  I like my smoker billowing, then I only need to smoke them once.  I've been helping some newbees out and they really didn't know how to get a smoker going, and they were amazed at how calm my bees are (because I smoked 'em good).  Non-aggressive bees, easy inspections are really worth the smoke, especially starting out.

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Offline Shawn

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Re: 2 smoke or not?
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2008, 07:25:47 PM »
When I first came to the forums I asked the same thing because I got stung 18 times for not smoking when taking the supers off. Now that I have my own hive I do exactly how John told me and nothing else. By the way thanks John for the info. My son and I work the bees and have yet to get sstung, we do wear suits. The bees usually go about their business and dont seem to get their stingers in a pinch. Just having the smoker setting beside us on the ground does wonders.

Offline Jerrymac

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Re: 2 smoke or not?
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2008, 07:41:59 PM »
Here's what you do. Go out one day at a set time and watch the bees for a while. The next day at the same time smoke and go into the hive for what ever reason, close the hive and watch the bees. Then the next day at that time go watch the bees again. It would help if the weather was the same each day. But see if you notice any difference. Probably will see pretty much the same activity. So how do you think it sits them back?
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Offline JP

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Re: 2 smoke or not?
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2008, 08:11:18 PM »
Just to re-emphasize, I really never, ever see bees bellying up to the honey buffet bar after they are smoked, I smoke 'em, some need a little, some need a little more, but I would not work them without a smoker, ever.


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Offline GaDavid

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Re: 2 smoke or not?
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2008, 10:13:19 PM »
Thanks for the responces folks.  It was originally my understanding that the smoke kicked in a survival/the hives in trouble type of response which resulted in the bees gorging themselves on honey stores in case the hive was destroyed or had to be abandoned.  If this isn't the case to the extent that it will result in a significant loss of honey then I will smoke away.  When I first started I smoked and after stopping there was a noticable difference in the aggressiveness of the bee's whenever I would open the hive.  Suprisingly I never had a problem getting my smoker going and keeping it so, must be the firebug in me.  Look out bee's, here comes ol smokey.

Offline Greg Peck

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Re: 2 smoke or not?
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2008, 08:00:11 AM »
I am pretty sure that the bees put the honey back after they realize there is not an impending fire. So there is no actual loss of honey. The only thing that might be a problem would be if you had a full capped super of comb honey (cut comb) and you smoked them a lot and they happened to uncap some of it. They would just recap it after you let them alone anyway.
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Offline Jerrymac

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Re: 2 smoke or not?
« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2008, 12:21:30 PM »
Also there are probably a lot of foragers outside the hive somewhere. And then think of how many bees are left, how much can a bee hold? Perhaps the whole hive can only empty out a few cells of honey, and they would probably grab the open stuff first.
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