As a beekeeper, one of the most exciting times is the harvesting season. This is where you get to see all your hard work pay off through the golden sweet awesomeness that is honey.
However, harvesting isn’t all fun and sticky games. It is important for you to use methods that not only ensure that you get all the honey but also guarantee the bee’s safety as well as the harvester’s.
In this case, the most important tool is the bee smoker. Below is a guide that should come in especially handy for beginners. It will cover the "whys and hows" of bee smoking for successful harvesting.
Before we get into details about how to use a bee smoker, it is important to understand why you would need one in the first place. Bee smokers are used to
sedate bees in a hive or a bee box. This makes it easy for you as the bee keeper to carry out certain activities without having to worry about getting injured or
having the bees escape. Some of these activities include:
It is also very important for you as the bee farmer to understand exactly how smokers work. The devices release basic carbon smoke into the hive.
This smoke acts by masking special pheromones that bees produce when they feel threatened. These are usually produced by soldier and guard bees in the hive.
With these pheromones masked, the other bees in the colony remain calm and do not feel the need to defend themselves.
This makes it easy for the beekeeper to go about their business in the hive without getting attacked.
Another way smokers work is by initiating the bees’ feeding response to danger. When bees sense that their hive is in danger of ruin from fire, they usually respond by binge eating honey.
They do this in order to have reserves for survival before setting up shop elsewhere. This overfeeding makes it impossible for their weak wings to carry them making it difficult for them to fly away.
This mechanism of action comes in handy for beekeepers when the priority is to prevent the bees from escaping when the hive is open.