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Author Topic: The good, bad, and ugly of smoking.  (Read 5216 times)

Offline BjornBee

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The good, bad, and ugly of smoking.
« on: November 04, 2008, 08:58:00 AM »
Beyond the traditional explanation of what smoking does to hives (fools the bees into thinking there is a fire and so they are busy consuming honey, and the masking of the alarm pheromones) there are other considerations of what smoke does.

Have you ever heard someone say they smoke with tobacco, walnut leaves, sumac pods, or some other material and suggest that this somehow kills mites right off the backs of bees? Or how about the crowd that suggests that nothing good can come about by smoking bees and that it's cruel to the bees? I think there is something to consider on both ends of the spectrum.

Killing mites by smoking them:
I have used just about everything suggested. And I smoke the crap out of my bees when testing a material. I have found nothing that will kill mites off the bodies of bees. And if you are killing mites off bees, your probably doing damage to the bees.

Here is something to consider. Smoke your hand or wrist this morning. Smoke it real good. I bet, unless you wash your hands, you will be able to smell the residue from the smoke this evening. And it's this residue that is in conflict with the bees natural smell, pheromones from the queen, and interferes with the communications of the hive, which much is controlled by smell.

So what do the bees do? They go into a hyper active period of cleaning, grooming, ridding themselves of this left behind smoke residue. This is when mites are groomed at an increased level and an increase in mite drop can be seen. (This action can be also seen and proved in studies, that merely opening a hive, with no smoke used, and doing a brief inspection will cause bees to groom and "correct" any disturbances within the hive.)  I will not argue that mites are not jumping off if they smell smoke...as it probably has not been studied and many insects react to fire or smoke in different ways. But certainly they are not being killed off the backs of bees, and since a spike in mite fall can be seen for up to 24 hours after a good smoking, one could only assume that bees are still grooming mites off long after the mites are done taking any notion of suicidal jumps to their death.

Smoking is cruel to bees:
If one thinks of the benefits to bees from the above comments, and the lessening of the mite load, I can see no cruelty from smoking bees. This same benefit of smoking is seen from those that use sprays with thymol, etc. However it should be noted that for the best results in mite drop on an occasional basis, that long term exposure to these smells should be avoided. (Laced patties, etc.)

Obviously bees that are hygienic, are great groomer, and deal with mites on a constant basis is a good thing. But blasting them with a good smoke that triggers some hyper house cleaning activity is not a bad thing to consider.

Just some random thoughts this morning.....  :-D
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Offline bmacior

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Re: The good, bad, and ugly of smoking.
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2008, 09:23:52 AM »
food for thought. 

Offline Cindi

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Re: The good, bad, and ugly of smoking.
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2008, 11:13:35 AM »
BjornBee.  OK, you be that thinking man, that is cool.  It is always great to have some food for thought as Bamacior said.  I like to read things, I like to hear opinions, these are all good, thanks for doing those random thoughts.  And, by the way, I think the word "random" is a great word, there are some words that I just like the sound of -- and random is one of those.  Have a wonderful day and life, live life and love it.  Cindi
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Offline Bee-Bop

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Re: The good, bad, and ugly of smoking.
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2008, 11:27:05 AM »
I believe I read that there are several different studies saying;

"any disturbance to a hive, such as checking frames, etc., will increase the mite drop "

Bee-Bop
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Offline JP

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Re: The good, bad, and ugly of smoking.
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2008, 11:46:33 AM »
What you do is remove about 3-4 thousand bees from a hive and smoke the rest with wacky tobaccy, then put the designated bees back in, everyone in the hive is wacked out including the mites, which can easily be removed by the sober bees at this time.

Just make sure you don't "inhale" or you will get sidetracked, wind up at Mcdonald's or burger king eating burger after burger, fry after fry, and before you know it, you've wasted your entire day.

I have two relatives BTW that got completely whacked out one evening on the wacky stuff and wound up ordering 1 dozen ice cream cones at the drive thru! There was ice cream everywhere so I am told.


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Offline Frantz

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Re: The good, bad, and ugly of smoking.
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2008, 07:20:41 PM »
JP, lets not get started on stories of past experiences with canabus!!!
Trust me lets just not even go there
F
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: The good, bad, and ugly of smoking.
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2008, 08:38:39 PM »
I only really tried the tobacco for the mites.  I came to the same conclusion.  In order to kill the mites with it you would have to kill the bees with it.  :)  I agree I think it causes more grooming.  Tobacco smoke probably lingers longer...
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Offline beemaster

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Re: The good, bad, and ugly of smoking.
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2008, 01:21:18 AM »
BJORN:

I've always smoked a hive with 4 or 5 good puffs in the front entrance, wait 5 minutes and repeat, no matter how many hives you work. Then I make sure I leave the smoker lit and near the front of the hive I'm working on. This has worked for 35 years for me as a hobbyist. This buys me 45 minutes to an hour to work a hive in minimal clothing and quiet reactions from the hives.

Also, I don't know if you ever saw my Installing a nuc video?  Here is the link to my Youtube collection, I'd like to hear your input to the way I install a shipped cage of bees. Here is the main page, about 12 videos there, the most viewed is the Install @ - hope you like, any feedback would be nice :)

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Offline danno

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Re: The good, bad, and ugly of smoking.
« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2008, 09:25:06 AM »
Michigan just passed the Medical Marijuana law.  I wonder if this would include pest removal

Offline beemaster

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Re: The good, bad, and ugly of smoking.
« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2008, 02:11:38 PM »
JP:

Leave it up to you to equil or top your halloween avatar :)

And a Happy Thanksgiving to all, God bless us everyone! Long as I get extra baked beens or baby peas :)

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Please enjoy the forum, and if it has helped you in any way, we hope that a small donation can be made to support our FULLY member supported forum. You will never see advertisements here, and that is because of the generous members who have made our forum possible. We are in our second decade as a beekeeping forum and all thanks to member support. At the top right of every page is a donations link. Please help if you can.

Offline BjornBee

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Re: The good, bad, and ugly of smoking.
« Reply #10 on: November 05, 2008, 02:44:34 PM »
beemaster,
I hope you know I'm not ignoring you. I'm having some computor issues with my sound. The video looks good with your ballcap and all, but I do not read lips.  :-D If I can not get this worked out, I'll see about watching the video from another computor and location.
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Offline Acebird

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Re: The good, bad, and ugly of smoking.
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2011, 05:54:13 PM »
Quote
Tobacco smoke probably lingers longer...

Tabacco has more toxic additives than gasolene.  I sure as heck wouldn"t use that on my bees.
Never thought I would do it!

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: The good, bad, and ugly of smoking.
« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2011, 03:58:06 AM »
>Tabacco has more toxic additives than gasolene.

Cigarettes do.  Typically Propylene glycol (for moisture), strychnine (to accentuate the effects of the nicotine and make it more addictive), arsenic (to keep the bugs out of something that is already an insecticide...) etc.  Tobacco does not necessarily.  Most pipe tobacco and rolling tobacco does not.

I'm not suggesting using it for smoking bees or humans, just pointing out the difference.
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Offline bee-nuts

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Re: The good, bad, and ugly of smoking.
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2011, 08:09:55 AM »
Michigan just passed the Medical Marijuana law.  I wonder if this would include pest removal
 

Yeah!  Maybe your VET can prescribe Marijuana to improve the health of your bees by the bale.  Lite twenty or thirty smokers and leave lit all around your apiary. This should buy you a full afternoon of sting free work in the yard.  Make sure you bring your own ice cream, and a barrel of sugar syrup to open feed the bees.
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Offline Acebird

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Re: The good, bad, and ugly of smoking.
« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2011, 09:55:31 AM »
Quote
Tobacco does not necessarily.

Yes, I agree.  I said it was an additive not in the tobacco itself.
Never thought I would do it!

Online deknow

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Re: The good, bad, and ugly of smoking.
« Reply #15 on: January 08, 2011, 11:23:51 AM »
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And if you are killing mites off bees, your probably doing damage to the bees.
imagine that!

deknow

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: The good, bad, and ugly of smoking.
« Reply #16 on: January 09, 2011, 04:22:55 AM »
>Yes, I agree.  I said it was an additive not in the tobacco itself.

People using tobacco to smoke bees are very unlikely to buy much more expensive cigarettes when they can buy much cheaper tobacco.
Michael Bush
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Offline fish_stix

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Re: The good, bad, and ugly of smoking.
« Reply #17 on: January 09, 2011, 11:51:48 AM »
I don't know about using "expensive" cigarettes but I'm a cigar smoker and my bees seem to prefer the more expensive stogies! Montecristos, Gurkhas and Rocky Patels all seem to elicit a stronger response than the el cheapos. I know I'm using a good cigar butt in the smoker when they all come out and crawl up on top and kick back with a teeny little glass of Crown Royal. Then they kind of buzz out the words "Bring on the good stuff Boss! Puff away!" Seriously though, it doesn't seem to make a bit of difference; whether you're burning pine needles or hay or those silly pellets, plus tobacco, it's all just smoke to the bees. Mean bees are still mean bees, tobacco or no!

Offline backyard warrior

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Re: The good, bad, and ugly of smoking.
« Reply #18 on: January 18, 2011, 01:07:39 AM »
Beemaster,  I saw your video last year and thats the way i installed my bees id have to say its much better to dump them threw the side then threw the top hole i liked it :)

Offline Acebird

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Re: The good, bad, and ugly of smoking.
« Reply #19 on: January 18, 2011, 11:53:44 AM »
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Here is the main page, about 12 videos there, the most viewed is the Install


Hi John, I viewed this video again and at the end you mentioned that all you had to do was move the hive into its final resting place.  It looked to me to be around 10-12 feet from the other hive which I assume that is where you would put it.  If you did can you move it in one step or would it take a series of two feet increments?
Never thought I would do it!