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Author Topic: Smoker alternatives ??????/  (Read 2805 times)
dsj21
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« on: June 25, 2004, 12:20:40 PM »

The thread the other day on smoking/not smoking the hive got me to thinking. Tommorow's inspection will be the 9th, and like some of you my bees(Italian) don't seem to be calmed by the smoke,. They not angry either, more annoyed than calm. This is my first year so I have no point of reference, just watching several videos. But I really try to just lightly smoke them, not choke them into submission.
  Two options to smoking I've been reading about are:
  #1 -  spraying them with sugar water with "Honey B Healthy" essential oils added to it. The Honey B Healthy claims to have a calming effect on the bees. Here's a blurb from the ad that came with the product "In addition using 4 teaspoons in a quart of 1-1 sugar water of Honey B Healthy as a spray instead of smoke helps calm the bees."
  #2 - Liquid Bee Smoke - http://www.bee-commerce.com/search_results.asp?txtsearchParamTxt=liquid+smoke&txtsearchParamCat=ALL&txtsearchParamType=ALL&iLevel=1&txtsearchParamMan=ALL&txtsearchParamVen=ALL&txtFromSearch=fromSearch  

  Do any of you have experience with these types of products? I would like to try them. I'd really appreciate any advice on these options. My bees are so gentle, I want to treat them in a way that will cause them the least amount of discomfort when I invade their home. Thanks.
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Ross
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« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2004, 04:59:08 PM »

Try using just a little smoke.  I have started giving just a puff or two at the entrance and waiting several minutes, then one puff across the frames if I need to when I raise the lid.  After that, I try to use sugar water or HBH.  It seems to work fine and with less disruption than smoking them heavily.
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dcwilliams_29id
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« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2004, 05:15:49 PM »

I think it depends on your bees.  My bees are very gently, and I have only been stung once this year because I accidentally squished one with my hand while picking up the hive top.  I don't wear any gloves, and most of the time wear shorts, a t-shirt, and no veil for short inspections - and I may put on my jacket, which has a hooded veil on it, if I am going to be inspecting all of my brood boxes, but i still wear no gloves and don't smoke.  smoking seems to excite the hive more than just going in carefully, and gloves just get in my way.  A good alternative to smoking is using cover cloths, I use these ever time I inspect.  The bees don't get excited by the smoking, and as long as you are careful and methodical, they won't get too excited.  The cloths can be placed on top of the hive if they start to "boil up". and it kind of forces them back down into the hive.  Or if you are about to put the hive back together and want to clear the top bars, and sides of the super so that you can set the next super down you can put the cloth on top, let it sit for a minute, pull it off and quickly put the super on.  If you are inspecting frames, you can use two cloths, and roll one up and the other out so that only one or two frames are exposed at a time during the inspection as well.  This keeps the bees very calm, and doesn't allow too many bees to become airborne, which in my limited experience is when the trouble starts.  When lots of bees get in the air its hard to keep tabs on where they are landing or which ones are potentially PO'd at you.  I learned about the cloth covers from one of David Eyres videos, and aparently it is used in Europe more than in the US.  Here is a picture of the cloths: http://www.beeworks.com/images/Cover_Cloths.JPG  It is made out of vinyl with what feels like a wooden rod sewed into each end of the cloth (like the kind in the bottom of the cheap mini-blinds).

Chris
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« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2004, 06:08:50 PM »

I have not used any smoke this year, instead, I have used sugar syrup in a spray bottle and the manipulation cloth Chris mentioned.  So far all has worked well.  

I started off the year with sugar syrup and homebrewed HBH, but when that ran out, I was in too much of a rush to make more so I just used sugar syrup and it seems to work just fine.  

When I take the outer cover off, I give them a little squirt thru the inner cover hole.  Then remove the inner cover and give a couple sprays along the top bars. When I pull out a frame, I give each side a quick mist/fog.  The use of the manipulation cloth keeps all the other bees calm.  If they get worked up, I give a spray down between the cloths onto the adjacent frames and they calm right down.
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Agility Mom
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« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2004, 10:10:55 PM »

Do you think it is better to use the special cloths? What are they made of? I have used dampish terry cloth and that does seem to keep the supers I have removed peaceful. I've never used one on the super or hive body I am working in.
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Judy
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« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2004, 08:10:39 AM »

Judy,

I think any type of cover will work.  These are made out of some type of vinyl porbably since it is easier to wipe down.  They also have some type of weight sewn into the opposite ends of the cloths to keep them in place.  
There are two ov these cloths and you put one on each side of the frame you plan on pulling, so only than frame is exposed.  As you move down the line inspecting more frames, just move the cloths along.
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Agility Mom
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« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2004, 08:16:28 PM »

That appears easy enough. Seems to mimic the top bar hives in keeping the rest of the hive in the dark while you are working. Wonder how my "angry" hive (which I have recently requeened but have not yet checked for acceptance) would be impacted by this method. When I check out the queen (hope she is alive and doing well) I am going to give this method a shot. Anything to try to calm them down.
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Judy
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« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2004, 09:17:21 PM »

Quote from: Judy Frey
Seems to mimic the top bar hives in keeping the rest of the hive in the dark while you are working.


I never really though about it like that.  I guess I need to add that as a pro to TBH Cheesy
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