Honey bees need a good residence to flourish and they never bear any offensive conduct. If you are new to the...
Why Do Beekeepers Use Smoke
It is the practice used by the beekeepers when they have to complete some tasks like harvesting the honey while they are surrounded by the bees. Smoking of the hives is done to keep bees calm and save beekeepers from getting stung. You might have seen people using smoke for getting rid of bees from beehives constructed around the house or below a tree which may create havoc in the near future. Have you ever wondered why only smoke has been used? If a beekeeper tries to trespass the beehive, bees tend to sting him, therefore, smoking is used as a method of self-defense. Furthermore, it also keeps the bees safe.
How Does Smoke Work?
Whenever a trouble is suspected by the bees, they release an alarm pheromone to send the message, therefore, making others of their kind, alert and upset at the same time. This alarm pheromone is the way, by which, bees communicate with each other. Smoking helps to break this line of communication, thus saving beekeepers from getting stung by the bees at the same spot again and again. It also saves the bees as it is a better-known fact that they die after stinging. If somehow you get stung by the bees, it is necessary to wash the clothes before approaching the hives as pheromones left on the clothes can be sensed by the bees again.
Effect Of Smoke
When bees smell the smoke, they acquire defensive mode as the smell of the smoke gives them a false indication that the hive is going to get burned. Therefore they try to save as much honey as they can as it will be used in making a new hive. It requires 8 pounds of honey to synthesis one pound of wax and this wax is used by the bees for the construction of hive at a different spot. Thus smoking makes it difficult for bees to sting as they are overloaded with honey.
If you are thinking about the damage caused by smoke and its impact on long term health of the bees, then let me tell you the interruption caused by the smoke is just temporary. Once smoke vanishes from air bees tend to recover their pheromone sensitivity within 10 to 20 minutes. Now let us look into the correct way to smoke a hive.
How To Smoke A Hive?
Even today, the traditional method of smoking is used by beekeepers. It consists of a cone lid covered metal can with an outlet on the bottom and bellows attached with it. In order to use it, first, fill and not overfill it with the material to be burned. It can be wooden chips or dead pine needles or pet bedding and burn it till required heat and smoke have been produced. Puff the smoke and keep it at a safe place when not in use, make sure it doesn’t catch fire unnecessarily.
Tips To Smoke A Hive
It is important to take slow steps while approaching the beehive with the smoker in hand. The best time to smoke the hive is in between morning and afternoon because this is the perfect time when busy bees are out, looking for pollen and nectar. Too much smoke may cause bees to drive away and eat up more honey, therefore, use smoke in moderation.
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