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Author Topic: Smoke or No smoke  (Read 3911 times)
Mklangelo
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« Reply #20 on: May 11, 2007, 07:36:56 AM »

Smoke.

But in defense of blowing on em'.  I have found that GENTLY blowing on them to expose a specific part of the comb or the bees underneath, does work. The bees just slowly move away and it doesn't agitate them at all.
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« Reply #21 on: May 11, 2007, 12:34:26 PM »

This post is sure interesting, in the fact of "Which belt do you wear today, the blue one or the black one?" It really is apples and oranges and relates to three things: EXPERIENCE and COMFORT and CONDITIONS.

Put it all together and you should always know what to do every time.

Experience

The adage "with age comes wisdom is often true - but only if you learn from your mistakes and pay close attention to details.

* Experience will tell you when it is safe or not safe to even go near the hives. It tells you how to approach the job in a logic and least damaging and intrusive way. The net result determines when to suit up and when not to.

* Smoke though is something I never mind using, even if only pulling frames and replacing them or checking on a queen.

* Be prepared is the best advice, have a place to set stuff down, have tools (all tools ready) and approach the hive from the side or back as much as possible.

* Experience should teach you that a confident you can handle a happy hive with minimal protection, but our FRIEND smoke is what makes for happy bees.


Conditions DICTATE everything:

* Clear and low winds allow minor manipulation without any smoke unless you have aggressive bees.

* Nasty weather ALWAYS dictates smoke and clothing protection unless you enjoy rolling the dice.

* Having to get a job done quick should always call for protection and I believe smoke. But if you are rushing, all the smoke in the world won't save you from agitated bees.

* Bad comb build-up, natural comb, long time since uninspecting hive, etc needs all the smoke and protection you need - this is hack job stuff and causes lots of harm to a hive if things start going wrong.

* Conclusion to Conditions: weather and hive conditions dictate your need for just smoke or protection, but it only makes sense to have both.


COMFORT:

* This is the one I like most, if you are not comfortable dressing down, and you are protected from head to toe - the worse you get is nasty bees banging and trying to get into your suit - the main point is THEY REALLY ARE GOOD AT GETTING IN YOUR SUIT, but not very good at getting out - so chances are ONCE IN, you are getting stung.

* If you are comfortable handling frames dressed down, bare-handed and without head protection, then your BEST FRIEND is smoke. It becomes a hand-shake between you and the bees. They sense your comfort and relaxed attitude, your sense of assurance at the hive and they react accordingly. by doing BEE STUFF while you do BEEKEEPER STUFF. This is really ideal, you just need confidence - doing so comes with spending time with the bees and KEEPING MENTAL TRACK of their reaction to their reaction.

* Wearing a suit is a double edged sword - they bring you comfort, but make you sloppy (less attentive may be a better word) look to see what you are doing that agitates them and don't do it next time - but ALWAYS USE SMOKE when learning to shred the protection.

* Once you get a comfort level where you think you did well and feel that IF YOU HADN'T had all that clumsy garb on, you sure can start removing anything that you feel like shedding. Take your time, don't push your anxiety level and keep the smoker lit and near the entrance.

* It is much easier to handle frames with the two hands you were born with, without gloves - although if you have weaker hands and need frame grippers, they are handy to have around. Don't freak when bees walk on you, they do that - a lot. They are curious little things and likely checking you out as much as you are checking out them.

* Remember lastly, workers give their lives to defend the hive - so it is you job to make them feel that their hive is NOT being attacked. You are smarter, all they have are instincts and knowing their instincts and your brainpower HIGHLY OUTWAYS their instincts alone.


So I always use my smoker - I make sure the burlap is DONE burning and cooler smoke is coming out. I give them sever good puffs (don't over smoke - 3 to 5 puffs if the wind is cooperating should be fine) then I go away 5 minutes. If I think I need to, I'll hit them again and again wait 5 minutes. By then, I'm ready for most in hive stuff.

BUT REMEMBER - as soon as you hit a snag, take a break, grab what protection you think you'll need to get the job done and get back in there. No sense ever pushing yourself if you are out of your comfort zone. But, if you see that everything is going smooth, be ZEN, take your time it isn't a race against the clock and enjoy the magically interaction you have playing out before your eyes.

Here is MY Tai Chi OF BEEKEEPING PAGE -  http://www.beemaster.com/honeybee/taichi.html give it a read if you haven't. And remember SMOKE IS THE BEEKEEPERS BEST TOOL - hands down!
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winginit
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« Reply #22 on: May 28, 2010, 10:41:08 AM »

I am brand new to beekeeping this year and love this site! My first package is very quiet and calm. I sit next to it and just watch. I have gone in many times just to check/add feed without smoke and often in shorts and flip flops. But just got a second package and it seems more stressed than the first. Was wondering if I should smoke to change feed. After reading this, I'll not smoke but I'll wear protective gear to check feed.

Luckily, my second package is 200 yards from from the house, in a fairly wild and lonely valley. The first package is in the backyard next to a patio/firepit and bird feeders. Everyone seems happy at that first pacakge. The packages came from different suppliers. Thoughts?
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caticind
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« Reply #23 on: May 28, 2010, 02:44:38 PM »

No harm in always lighting your smoker and bringing it along.  If you see that the bees are especially chill, then you don't have to use it.

Best protection is to know your bees and pay attention to them.  Are they calm? Agitated on a particular day? Always hot?

Second best protection is your behavior.  Be calm, move slowly, think through what you're going to do before you do it.

Third best protection is protective gear.  If you have to move fast, or if you'd be too worried otherwise, then wear the suit.  Better to be a little clumsy wearing gloves than to drop a frame barehanded and get stung because you're nervous and let it slip.
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« Reply #24 on: May 28, 2010, 03:17:53 PM »

Using smoke is like muzzeling a pet tiger. You don't know you need it until that one time you don't have it and they don't give a warning. Then it's too late.

Use smoke every time, then there's no unpleasant surprises.
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« Reply #25 on: May 28, 2010, 04:10:47 PM »

I fool with bees roughly 10 and a half months of the year. I remove a ton of them from structures and work my own as well as other peoples. I would probably be dead if I didn't use the smoker.


...JP
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« Reply #26 on: May 28, 2010, 06:56:59 PM »

DO you need to smoke every time you open the hive? Yesterday I went to put on a super,thats it. It should only take less than 1 minute to add a super wright. I was suited up with 1 shirt tucked in with a thick long sleeve shirt over it, the vail and long gloves. When i opened the hive all was well for about 5 seconds then it was like someone told them the thick shirt was not tucked in. I got 2 stings on belly and side. while i was trying to walk away they stayed with me for about 30 yards then i had one find  a way into my vail and got me on the chin. I got in the truck drove to the house about 500 yards away. When I got out and remove the vail and golves then the long sleeve shirt there were about a dozen out of the shirt after me. I managed to get away without ant more stings.  So do i need to smoke every time or was something else going on?
 


 No not every time the one time you don't have it then you need it is too late and they don't give a warning.


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SMOKE IS THE  BEST TOOL of the beekeeper                

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« Reply #27 on: May 28, 2010, 10:03:42 PM »

>I'm a novice to this myself but have found that when I use smoke it seems to make them more agitated.  Maybe I'm overdoing it.

If the smoke is agitating them, you are overdoing it, or the smoke is too hot (think flame thrower).  It only takes one puff from a well lit smoker in the door and another on top after you open the lid.  Then the smoke drifting in the air helps a lot.

> I think my next inspection I'll try it without smoke but have the smoker ready just in case.

I'd always have oen lit if you intend to do much.

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sarafina
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« Reply #28 on: May 28, 2010, 10:48:53 PM »

I always light my smoker and give a puff at the entrance and a puff under the hood and then set it down next to the hive and a little out in front so the smoke can drift over the entrance if the wind is blowing right.  I've seen videos of beeks using smoke to move the bees out of the way but I don't usually do that. 
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« Reply #29 on: May 29, 2010, 09:47:44 AM »

Just out of curiosity, when smoking bees, Are they hard to light. lol
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JP
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« Reply #30 on: May 29, 2010, 11:18:06 AM »

Just out of curiosity, when smoking bees, Are they hard to light. lol

They are quite easy to light, if, you use the wrong kind of fuel. Pine bark would be a bad choice, unless, you want to light them.  shocked


...JP
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sarafina
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« Reply #31 on: May 29, 2010, 11:25:57 AM »

I also smoke myself before I head over to the hives......
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« Reply #32 on: May 29, 2010, 11:59:24 AM »

On lighting the smoker, now just how much lighter fluid are you suppose to use?    Hee hee........
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« Reply #33 on: May 29, 2010, 01:51:13 PM »



I also smoke myself before I head over to the hives......

hmmmm Smoked Sarafina dose it get you high  huh grin Wink
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« Reply #34 on: May 29, 2010, 04:29:45 PM »

I have one hive I'd feel safe to open without smoke, but I'd have the smoker handy anyway; they could be in a bad mood, or I could be clumsy and put them in one.
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« Reply #35 on: May 29, 2010, 04:35:58 PM »

I have one hive I'd feel safe to open without smoke, but I'd have the smoker handy anyway; they could be in a bad mood, or I could be clumsy and put them in one.

Coming from a man who knows because he's been there. The smoker is the bee keeper's best friend.


...JP
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