> Well, the smoker calms the bees because they become
> preoccupied with eating honey out of the cells.
This is an old wives' tale. If it were true, bees would
notice a forest fire, and always escape the area.
They don't. They stay and protect their brood,
sometimes to the death.
What smoke does is mask alarm pheromones, which
suppresses the problem of one bee "setting off"
a bunch of others who fly out the entrance or off
the top bars and sting you.
> When I spray 1:1 sugar water on them they start
> cleaning it up and get preoccupied with eating it.
> It also gets them all sticky and makes it difficult for
> them to fly....
That's fine for the bees on the top bars, but what
do you do about the guard bees at the entrance
and all the bees down between the combs?
> and let them eat the sugar water instead of eating
> oney they've already worked to produce, which is
> what the smoker makes them do.
Nope, the smoker does not make them do that.
I know that there are lots of old books that say so,
and I know that these stories have been repeated
over and over, but it is still misinformation.
But, if you find that sugar water works for you,
it follows that plain water would work just as
well for your (clearly very gentle) hives. The
sugar really only presents the risk of contaminating
your honey crop. You don't really need to spray
the bees with something sweet.