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Author Topic: Sugar spray vs smoker  (Read 5839 times)
Paynesgrey
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« on: April 13, 2010, 07:35:09 AM »

We've been reading Langstroth. He reported that he used sugar water primarily with his bees to keep them calm when working with them. Does anyone here use just sugar water to calm bees when working the hives, as opposed, or in preference to smoking them? Anyone try that? Thanks.
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JP
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« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2010, 09:01:20 AM »

Most people who try it use something like spearment oil along with a lil sugar water.

I watched some good ole boys try to use it on an external colony they were trying to remove in the french quarter. Even made the news, three nights in a row.

Got their butts all stung up and several people around the area, including the camera man.

I use my smoker for many reasons. It masks alarm pheremone and puts off a cool heat that can be used to direct bees where you want them and can be used to teach aggressive bees to mind their manners.

You may get by without smoke on a small hive, but you are putting yourself in harms way with a large colony that decides they are boss that day.

At the very least, if you try the sugar water, have the smoker lit and waiting if you need it. It could save you or someone else some day from a severe attack.


...JP
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kathyp
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« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2010, 10:00:24 AM »

i'm with JP.  sugar water has it's uses, but smoke works better most of the time. 

while i can be lazy about using smoke for quick checks, nothing beats it for really getting into a hive. 
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luvin honey
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« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2010, 12:58:11 PM »

I tried sugar water, but it was a real pain closing back up the hive (not necessarily an issue with a Langstroth--I have topbars), as they bees were too busy lapping it up on top of the bars to be coaxed into going back down into the hive...
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Paynesgrey
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« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2010, 11:13:04 PM »

That's about what I thought - All my instincts and reason agree that no matter what Langstoth might have been able to do with his bees, it would be still be a really, very, bad idea to NOT have a smoker kept on ready for the guards, and in case the bees were not impressed by the sugar that day Smiley

Also kinda suspected/worried that sugar would work better with only a hive or few, rather than a yard full. Visions of 1 really happy hive being worked on, and the rest of the yard diving into robbing mode....

And the alarm pherenomes - that is a good enough reason to have a smoker at hand whenever working or checking the bees. Yep. Probably save sugar spray for hiving the packages.... Smiley

On related, if powdered sugar shaken into the hive encourages bees to clean mites off, and helps cause the mites to fall off, what effect would sugar water spray have? Would the liquid loosen the mites, or is it mainly the powdery-ness that makes them lose grip? - Thanks
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KeyBeeper
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« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2010, 07:25:58 PM »

I've read that the particle size of powdered sugar fits nicely into the foot of a mite, making it hard for them to get a grip.  So yes, it is the particles that make it hard for the mites to hold on.
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bluegrass
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« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2010, 11:05:44 AM »

I carry a spray bottle of 1.1 when removing swarms... Hard for a wet swarm to fly off. But I use smoke when working hives. Like said before, sugar water does not clear a super or the tops of the bars like smoke does. Will it put the bees in a better mood? Sure if they are hungry enough.

I think it was Micheal Bush who said that there is a reason that every culture in the world that ever harvested wild honey used smoke. Even if it was a tribe in Africa that had never seen a European beekeeper, if they were hunting wild African Honey Bees they were smoking them and have been for 1000s of years.   
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« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2010, 03:14:22 PM »

I agree...  sugar water is good for swarms, but I don't open up hives without the smoker
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2010, 03:13:36 AM »

I've seen too many dying sticky bees to view sugar syrup sprayed on bees as natural or healthy...
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