Bee Smoker

How To Properly Operate A Bee Smoker

A bee smoker is one of the most important pieces of equipment you can buy.  It is extremely important to beekeeping and while you can be successful without other tools, a smoker is a necessity for safety.  Proper use of one makes it much easier for you to control your hives because you put the bees into a docile state when you open the hive.  Not using one of these devices is pretty much an open invitation for plenty of stings because the colony is substantially more aggressive without the smoke.

Applying Smoke

Before you even think about opening the top cover, you have to use your bee smoker to release puffs into the hive's entrance.  This will calm your bees down while you are tending to the hive.  While you want to apply several puffs into the entrance, you also want to make sure that you do not burn the bees either so don't overdo it.  Additionally, releasing too much smoke could also cause contents to fall out of the smoker into the hive.  Give the smoke about 30 seconds to work before you remove the top cover.  You want to make sure that the smoke has time to travel into the brood box.

Proper use of the bee smoker will mask alarm pheromone that the guard bees secrete who are positioned at the entrance.  This will reduce the risk of the rest of the colony reacting and attacking to sting.  Also, smoke drives the bees toward their comb to quickly feed on honey because they think their home is burning down and they will have to find a new one.  Bees that are full of honey are less likely to sting you.

Lighting The Smoker

Lighting a bee smoker is not nearly as easy as you may imagine.  In fact, there are quite a few steps and a lot of work involved.

Caution

Never attempt to light a smoker that has been left to smolder overnight.  The embers will burn holes in your bellows and your smoker will become useless.