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Author Topic: Vinegar-water spray instead of smoking  (Read 7387 times)
luvin honey
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« on: June 18, 2009, 10:42:06 AM »

After reading about this on another forum, I recently tried using a dilute vinegar-water spray instead of smoking the bees when I went in last night. It really worked great! It was about 1 part vinegar to 8 parts water in a 1-quart spray bottle. I directed a fine mist at them when trying to close up my topbars.

It seems counterintuitive to me to be adding moisture to their hive, but it did make them move back down the combs better than smoke has worked for me.

Wondering what everybody thinks about different ways of working the bees, calming them or moving them out of the way?
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dragonfly
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« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2009, 01:32:29 PM »

My personal opinion is that I would avoid using vinegar, but would intead use a diluted sugar water with Honey-B-Healthy in it. This distracts the bees somewhat while they groom, and they love HBH.

The reason I have reservations about vinegar is because it is acidic enough to treat topical infections at a 1:10 strength (ie swimmer's ear, yeast infections, etc). If I were going to use vinegar, it would be apple cider vinegar at a weaker dilution.

That being said, it's not a technique I am familiar with, so this is purely a personal opinion not based on experience.
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lotsobees
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« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2009, 01:54:17 PM »

I used vinegar last year on a top-bar and it did indeed push the bees down when working the frames. However, I found it simply put too much moisture into the hive... and being in the Northwest that's something we struggle to prevent as much possible. So, I smoke 'em when I need to even though it takes 3-4 more minutes to light up as opposed to grabbing a bottle of spray.

FWIW,
John
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doak
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« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2009, 08:22:00 PM »

Vinegar is an acid, so be careful.
doak Smiley
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fermentedhiker
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« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2009, 09:02:03 PM »

I know of some topbar guys who use it.  They like it better than sugar syrup because the bees don't linger on the topbars to clean it up making putting the hive back together much easier.
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Scadsobees
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« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2009, 08:44:47 AM »

And there was that one vinegar fogger that proclaimed wonderful hive health benefits!!

Vinegar is also supposed to be good for chalkbrood.

If it works, and the hives still seem healthy, go for it!  I can't imagine that it would be too detrimental to a hive.

Rick
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danno
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« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2009, 08:53:10 AM »

I have a Friend that has used the acetic acid (vinegar) vaporizer for a couple of years with great success.  His only treatment and his bee's are healthy.  This is not white vinegar that is available at the store.  Its much stronger at 25% but still wont burn the skin like formic or oxalic
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2009, 09:12:11 PM »

There is a reason that people have been smoking bees for at least 10,000 years...
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Michael Bush
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luvin honey
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« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2009, 01:02:11 AM »

Which is.......Huh They didn't have spray bottles until plastic was invented?  cool
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bakerboy
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« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2009, 09:38:28 PM »

A little digging around here on the internets will show several studies where acetic acid is used to dissolve chitin. Chitin is what insects (including bees) are made of. Acetic acid is the active ingredient in vinegar, usually 5%.

I am sure dissolving the outer layers of their bodies, eyes and antennae will get them to move, I'd move too if you sprayed acid in my eyes.

I don't know where the anti-smoke sentiments have come from, but I use smoke on my hives and it just plain works.
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Bee-Bop
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« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2009, 08:59:50 AM »

a little digging around here on the internets will show several studies where acetic acid is used to dissolve chitin. Chitin is what insects (including bees) are made of. Acetic acid is the active ingredient in vinegar, usually 5%.

I am sure dissolving the outer layers of their bodies, eyes and antennae will get them to move, I'd move too if you sprayed acid in my eyes.

I don't know where the anti-smoke sentiments have come from, but I use smoke on my hives and it just plain works.

I think a lot of the "anti-smoke sentiments" are from people to lazy to learn how to keep a smoker lit, and are looking for the Eeeesay way. [ And yeah it does take practice ]

And I repeat take information you find on inter-net forums with a grain or two of salt !

Bee-Bop
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2009, 07:27:35 PM »

I think most of the anti smokers have oversmoked them or used too hot of smoke and concluded that it upsets them.  Which of course both of these techniques do.
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Michael Bush
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annette
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« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2009, 10:30:27 PM »

The vinegar really sounds terrible if it can actually burn the bees.  Please be careful what you are spraying onto the bees.  The smoke seems to be what works the best for many years and if you are careful with the smoke, I think the bees reaction will be calmer.

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luvin honey
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« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2009, 12:08:46 AM »

Well, I'm not too lazy to learn how to use a smoker. I've been using baler twine and it works great. The smoke is not hot--feels completely fine when I smoke my hands right up close. I use 1 puff in the entrance, then go in a few minutes later. I try to keep only about 6" of my topbars open at once, everything behind and in front closed up tight.

Tonight I took 20+ stings. The smoke seriously was not working, or if it was I would have hated to see how many stings I would have gotten without it.

One hive was queenless, but the first one was not, just a booming hive.

I've seen smoke work great for others, but it really does not work well for me at all. Could the topbar setup be one reason for this difference? I will try water spray (without vinegar) and see how it does on these present hives at this present time.

I can't find anything negative on vinegar and bees. Bakerboy, do you have any links? If you use the logic of "spray acid in my eyes and I'll move," I guess you could also say, "Blast smoke in my eyes and I'll move."

I really would like to learn more about both smoke and acid. Unfortunately, nobody seems to have much information on the effects of smoke on the bees, just how it changes their behavior. I want to understand what it does to the bees to have any of these methods used...
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The pedigree of honey
Does not concern the bee;
A clover, any time, to him
Is aristocracy.
---Emily Dickinson
Hethen57
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« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2009, 01:09:09 PM »

The whole acid thing makes sense....also consider the "dose-response" issue of this acid concentration on such a small organism.  All of those books that taut the great uses for vinegar say that it will repel ants and they won't come back to a spot where you have sprayed vinegar...seems like the same may hold true for bees...depending upon the concentration.  If it is just to be "natural"...chose your poison...many natural things are also harmful, poisonous, and deadly.  The desired bee response to smoke doesn't appear to be the chemical response when used responsibly, but rather the instinctive response (flee fire, gorge honey).  I'm sure you could smoke them to death, but probably not out in the open air...however spraying with vinegar, it is going to coat things and they are going to ingest it trying to get it off.
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-Mike
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« Reply #15 on: July 14, 2009, 01:25:49 PM »

Lot's of info. on vinegar acid on the inter-net. Do a Google !

For you ladies I'm sure you know;

2 tablespoons of white vinegar with one qt. of water makes a good douche to kill yeast infections !
Use no more than once a week. source, AMA    rolleyes

This may work on the bees [ as they are mostly female ] if you notice them standing around itching.

Also used as a organic weed killer !    shocked

Bee-Bop
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bakerboy
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« Reply #16 on: July 15, 2009, 07:20:51 PM »

Quote
Tonight I took 20+ stings. The smoke seriously was not working

Bees don't normally cotton to being worked at night. I'm not surprised you got stung. Were you by any chance wearing any protective gear ?

Quote
Bakerboy, do you have any links?

I can't post links here, do a google search +chitin +acetic +acid +dissolve . Read the studies listed.
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luvin honey
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« Reply #17 on: July 15, 2009, 11:48:47 PM »

Unfortunately, sometimes that's the only time I can get out there. I started about 7 p.m., a good 2 1/2 hours before sunset with the bees actively foraging. I think the queenlessness of the one hive has really changed its "personality" for now  Undecided
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The pedigree of honey
Does not concern the bee;
A clover, any time, to him
Is aristocracy.
---Emily Dickinson
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