Archives for posts with tag: smoker

As a relatively new beekeeper, I have not yet developed a great way to light a smoker consistently and keep it lit during my inspections. The FatBeeMan provides a great video showing how he lights a smoker and keeps it puffing nice white, cool smoke in this video:

 

A photo of a vee hive smoker on black background

I was testing out my smoker tonight to make sure it was ready for when my bees arrive, and I thought I should explain one of the most basic concepts of keeping bees.

Just about everyone has seen pictures of beekeepers using smokers to smoke the hive while doing inspections, but what is the purpose of using smoke on bees? There are two main reasons beekeepers use smoke on their bees:

Bees assume that the smoke means there is a fire nearby. When the bees sense a fire, they start consuming honey because they think they’ll have to leave their home and find a new place to live. However, similar to humans that have consumed a large turkey dinner, bees become calm and lethargic after gorging on honey.

Smoke masks bee pheromones. Honeybees rely heavily on pheromones to communicate throughout the hive. When bees think their hive is under attack, they release an alarm pheromone to alert other bees which agitates the entire hive. Smoke masks these pheromones and confuses the bees. This allows the beekeeper to work in the hive and keeps the bees calm.

Now you know. (And knowing is half the battle).

I recently placed an internet order for some beekeeping supplies. I decided to order online rather than buying from a local beekeeping shop because the prices online were much cheaper, even after shipping.

I placed the order from http://www.beemaidbeestore.com/ for two jackets (with veils), a smoker and a bee brush. The complete order, after tax and shipping was $138.98. Here is an “unboxing” video of the package I received from BeeMaid:

 

I did miss one thing in the video that I wanted to note here. The smoker actually came with 3 “KwikStart” smoker pellets to use as samples. I don’t really know much about them, but the instructions say “Simply light with a flame, blow it out and watch the smoke roll.”