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What is a smoker



What is a smoker?

The smoker can be a bee keeper’s friend when it is used correctly. The smoker can be the saving grace on those days when the girls are just not wanting you to be inside their hive but you feel you really need to invade their privacy. It can create a blissful atmosphere with you and your honey bee hive. It’s important for beginner bee keepers to understand why to use a smoker, and more importantly how to properly use it.


The modern smoker we use today, the metal canister with the side bellows, can be attributed to Moses Quinby of St. Johnsville, NY in 1875. He is remembered as the Father of practical Beekeeping and the Father of commercial beekeeping in America. He is best known as the inventor of the Bee smoker with bellows.


Why Smoke Bees?


Bee stings can be dangerous, even to someone who has been stung before. It’s important to keep your honey bees as calm as possible to assist in preventing your honeybees from becoming too aggressive.


Bees that are more at ease will help the new beekeeper feel more at ease as well and more thoroughly enjoy the times then do get to spend inspecting their honey bee colonies. It encourages more routine inspections and keeps bee keeping an enjoyable experience.


A beekeeper who is calm has less reactionary movement so it’s also safer for the bees. As a Beekeeper you need to learn to move more slowly and deliberately, taking time to really learn about your hive, study its activity and care for it in an educated way.


Why Does Smoking Work?


When a bee detects smoke near the hive it triggers a reactionary instinct, that it may be needing to move the colony to a new home. Part of this preparation is the honey bees begin consuming honey and nectar so they will have ample stores when they begin searching for a new home.


They also focus their attention on caring for the queen bee. They are concentrating more on preparing to save the colony and collecting honey, rather than what the beekeeper is doing. It isn’t guarantee you won’t get stung, but it can greatly decrease the chances.


The smoke also appears to break up the pheromone signals that the bees send to each other inside the hive.


If the beekeeper was a little too aggressive when he opens the beehive without smoke, the worker bees would sense the vibrations of the components being pried apart as well as the atmosphere inside the beehive being disturbed as he is removing the lids too quickly and they could send signals to the other bees to attack! The smoke helps to mask those pheromones and confuses the bees.


You can always use the smoker should you get stung to mask these same alarm signals. When a honey bee stings, it sends those same attack signals to let the other bees know that there’s an intruder. They follow suit and attack as well. The smoker stops that communication and prevents multiple stings and multiple bee losses. Since the majority of the time a bee dies after it stings.


Be sure to check out our other bits of info on:


Agressive Honey Bees


False Things People Say or Believe About Honey Bees

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