What’s with smokers then?

By | March 24, 2012

It’s a classic image, the bee keeper in big space man suit, with smoking can in hand.

But what’s in the can? Some kind of smokey bee rohypnol?

It’s actually only normal smoking embers.

The idea is a mini smoke out of the bees. A few puffs of cool smoke into the hive makes the bees freak out a bit, and think its time to evacuate the hive. So they all pop inside and feed up on honey to prepare for the evacuation, and the flight to pastures new.

We are all familiar with the post ┬álunch food coma’, and bees are no different. The big feed makes the hive quite docile, and easier to work with while you poke around inside to check the hive health.
Also, with a full honey stomach, bees find it more difficult to coil when trying to sting a their stomach gets in the way, reducing their ability to sting.
(I’m familiar with this, when trying to tie my shoe laces).

What this also means is that a bee swarm outside a hive is likely also quite harmless and placid. They are well fed on their honey stores, and simply looking around for a new home, not hunting en mass.

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