There is so much to know about beekeeping. But it is all worth learning.
You will need all the help that you can get to manage a beehive properly. From hive installation to maintenance, every bit of information is important when it comes to learning about how to take care of bees.
It is like learning about how to take care of a newborn baby. You have to get the room prepared, get the proper furniture and bedding. You have to buy pampers and other baby supplies and then when the baby comes, there is so much more to learn about actually taking care of the baby.
The same principles apply to beekeeping. After the setup, you need to know about managing them, feeding them and having the right location for them to forage for food.
And you do need to know about bee smokers, for when and if you choose to use it.
Let’s Talk About Bee Smokers
A lot of beekeeping theories mention the relevance of using smokers for bees to calm them down. There are two common ones to consider.
Photo credit to Wonderopolis
The Pheromones Theory
Bees use a specific hormone, pheromones, to communicate.
At any time that they sense an unwanted intrusion on their beehive, they release an alarm pheromone. It is also released if they are wounded or troubled.
The pheromones will alert the other bees and they will be ready to attack an intruder quite aggressively. So within a few minutes, you will see the beehive swarming
What the bee hive smoker does is mask the pheromone scent.
This will allow you to do a hive inspection or whatever maintenance task necessary, without being aggressively bothered by angry bees.
The Fire Drill Theory on Bee Smokers
Photo credit to BEEKeeping
Now this theory means what the name suggests. The cool smoke is putting the bees through a fire drill.
What they do when they sense the smoke is starting to consume as much honey as they can, thinking that a fire is in the hive and it will be necessary.
Because their tummies will be filled up, they won’t be aggressive and ready to launch an attack. But the honey will give them the energy to launch out, find a new home and build a new hive.
Again, you will be free to do some work on the hive without many problems.
So you can see why many beekeepers think that this is a great tool to help you harvest honey or do any number of tasks that are necessary.
Additionally, the prevalence of the varroa mites, which is a bee pest, is also deterred by smokers for bees with some amount of non-lethal or non-toxic smoker fuel.
How to Use Bee Smoker
Photo credit to Flow Hive
The first rule never goes at your beehive from the front. You want to come to the hive from either the back or the sides.
Now if you are using a bee smoker, understand that you won’t need a lot of smoke. Whether you choose to puff the smoke for a few seconds or a minute, longer won’t matter.
Give it about thirty seconds after you release a few puffs of smoke, then start working. Again, remember, never go at your beehive from the front.
whilst doing a complete inspection of the box, if some frames are uncovered, just release several smoke puffs from your beehive smoker and let the bees transfer to the untouched frames.
You are less likely to hurt your bees if you do this.
A few short-lived puffs are all that necessary to calm your bees down. If you use too much smoke, your bees can choke and die.
So once they calm down, let thirty seconds pass then begin your work.
Handling a Bee Smoker
Photo credit to AnimalSake
How you use this tool will affect how calm your bees get. To learn about the beehive smoker as much as you can.
First off, there is a difference between the smoker fuel, kindling, and starter. Understand their purposes and how to operate them.
Make use of the starter fuel to illuminate the hive smoker. After which you can apply some kindle fuel ahead of finally throwing in the smoking fuel. You light it from the bottom and then add fuel to the top. At all times begin with an unfilled as well as an unsoiled bee smoker.
To keep the smoker lit, use bellows. Compress enough air each time that you are lighting and putting in more fuel. An intermittent gust from the bellows ought to maintain a burning smoker.
Do not use too little fuel or too much fuel. This will only make it burn too quickly or squander your supply. Ultimately start off with the right amount of smoker fuel. And keep monitoring the levels to make sure it will keep burning.
Also, keep in mind that your bee smoker will get quite hot. So hold it at the hook on the front or at the bellows. Also be alert to where you are resting it. Not on or near anything flammable or that will burn easily.
After you are through with it, clean it and store it safely in a dry place.