What Does a Bee Smoker Do? Why it’s Necessary for Beekeepers

A bee smoker is a beekeeping tool that is required. Whenever you need to do hive inspections, it is particularly useful. So what is a bee smoker exactly? Simply put, a bee smoker is a tool used when you’re checking on the hives to relax bees (so they won’t sting you). It is made out of the smoldering of different fuels to create smoke. They are the

So Why do I Need to Smoke Bees?

To relax the honey bees, the smoke that the bee smoker emits is used, keeping them from being too aggressive towards the beekeeper. If not treated with care, bees can be dangerous insects, so extra precautions must be taken.

With the bee smoker in hand, the beekeeper can perform frequent routine hive inspection without fear of being viciously attacked by the bees. Compared to other conventional approaches, using the bee smoker is also safer for the bees, such as the use of fire that can kill them and may permanently force them away from the hive.

Other studies also show that beekeepers using smokers do not scare the bees away as they are placed into a cooperative mood by the smoke. Another benefit of using a smoker is that bees are not going to bite, and their chances of dying are minimized because they are not going to bite.

How Does the See Smoker Work?

By means of a smell that activates a reactionary reflex, bees normally sense the presence of people near their hives, which makes them ready to move from the hive. Through eating the nectar and honey, they get ready to go, so they have enough resources while they search for a new place to settle in. In that state of uncertainty, they also focus on securing the queen of the bees.

A safe place, however, is also created for the beekeeper to operate easily, whether it is honey harvesting or simply routine inspection of the beehive. While there is no guarantee that a beekeeper won’t get stung, the risk is dramatically reduced.

What the bee smoker does, when they detect a hive intrusion, is to break up the pheromone signals used by the bees to communicate with each other. Under normal circumstances, if the hive is opened without the bee smoker, the worker bees can warn the other bees by using pheromones to launch attacks after detecting the intrusion. Through concealing their pheromones, the bee smoker works, thereby hampering their form of communication.

There is also the case that if an enemy is stung by a bee, it sends the same pheromones to other bees to come and attack, but it confuses the other bees when a smoker is used. What this actually suggests is that due to stinging, not many bees would be destroyed.

The bee smoker can also be used on yourself to mask your human scent so that when you enter the hive, the bees will be less likely to get irritated.

Bee Smoker Fuel

It needs fuel for the bee smoker to function correctly. There are different items that you can use as fuel, and if you know where to look, they are all very freely obtainable. Some common smoker fuels include:

  • Hay or dry long grass
  • Dry grass mowings
  • Wood or bark chippings
  • Egg trays
  • Touchwood

The fuel types have their own unique features, in that some can burn out faster than others, and others won’t smoke as much. Owing to the sap content that makes it have a rich and smoky fire, I highly recommend dried pine.

How to Use the Bee Smoker

You will close the lid once you have ignited the smoker and the fire is burning. Closing the lid causes the airflow to be restricted, making the fire smolder, thus generating heavy smoke. The bellows are then squeezed and the air is forced out of the nozzle hole that feeds the fire. Upon opening the bellows, the air is sucked back into them.

With a lit hot smoker, it is important to be careful as it gets too hot in a short time and then there can be accidental burning. Wearing beekeeping gloves is strongly advisable.

When you’re done with the bee smoker, first put out the fuel, then clear it.

Safe Bee Smoking

When you use a smoker on bees, you have to bear in mind that you’re not going to fight them out there. You can only offer a few puffs as you open the entrance of the hive to allow you to get ahead with your business there. This interference would be sufficient to agitate the bees, but it should not scare you, as the smoke would help you safely do your job there. In intervals of 5 minutes, you are to release the puffs to warn the bees that the fire danger remains around. Slowly, you release the puffs and hold them about 8 to 10 inches away from the hive.

In addition, when you check on the hive, you must always wear a beekeeper suit for optimum protection.

Final Thoughts

Indeed, the bee smoker is a very important beekeeping tool, particularly where it involves hive inspection and honey harvesting. As discussed above, learning about bee communication is also vital because it helps to understand how the bee smoker functions by masking pheromones used by bees to connect with each other. The correct type of bee smoker fuel that will not harm the bees must also be chosen.

Also, See The Best Beekeeping Starter Kits – Buying Guide 2020