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Skyhook 

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(Quoted from Susbees)- Sugar water is what we use for spraying hives but not all over the gloves. If it's hot they like a plain water spray with a couple of drops of chamomile oil. I don't like to clart my gloves in sugar water...increases the risk of bee squish.[/QUOTE]

I'm probably a bit slow on the uptake but could you clarify- do you use a sugar water sprayer instead of a smoker to calm the hive during a routine inspection, or just in particular circumstances? I've seen mentions of using sugar water, but never a description. Basically, A) when, B) where, C) how, D) why, and E) what strength- but any other details would also be welcome!

Many thanks

I posted this earlier as a response on another thread, but seems to have kept a low profile- hope its OK to re-start it.
 

Heather 

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No- I only spray if I am joining two different small colonies so that they dont fight. Never on inspection. 1lb to 1 pint
 

susbees 

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We don't like to smoke hives so restrict its use for times when we have to do stuff when they would prefer we didn't. With the top bar hives we never smoke, with the commercials if they are narky we do if it's sensible, but on a nice day when the hives are chilled we don't.

This week did three commercials without even taking the smoker out of the shed. Pollen going in = new queens laying...checked for brood/eggs, sorted out an interesting arrangement on some foundationless frames and took a bit of honey off. Happy bees...well except the poor sod who felt the need to get stuck in the elbow fold of my suit and stung me through the suit.

So yes, ordinary 1:1 sugar syrup if they start to fly up, the water spray they seem to enjoy on a hot day.

Smoke is one reason why beekeepers miss the queen when they need to find her. Smoke means their home is about to vanish and best fuel up (they use their stores AND laze about the rest of the day working it off ;)). So with careful handling and sugar water we're happier and so are they.
 

Heather 

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Hallelujah, another beekeeper that doesnt send guffs of smoke into a peaceful hive . :cheers2:
I have to remind myself to find my smoker -just in case- I really dont see the need.
I only use when I have a colony that is racing about and being 'rude'.

I use a clean cover towel for each hive and it works fine. But some beeks make me feel that I am a poor beek for not smoking the hive before I open, as I open and during the examination...and they teach that to new people. Poor bees
 

Greenbeast 

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I've not used a smoker yet (don't actually own one), but with the top bar, inspection isn't as intrusive.

I use a water spray to coax them back down between the combs though, so they don't get squished by the bars
 

justme 

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Hallelujah, another beekeeper that doesnt send guffs of smoke into a peaceful hive . :cheers2:
I have to remind myself to find my smoker -just in case- I really dont see the need.
I only use when I have a colony that is racing about and being 'rude'.

I use a clean cover towel for each hive and it works fine. But some beeks make me feel that I am a poor beek for not smoking the hive before I open, as I open and during the examination...and they teach that to new people. Poor bees
Hi. I also dont use the smoker if at all possible, which is most of the time, just not necessary. probably just as well cos even when I light it it seems to go out before I would be likely to need it:.)

Have to learn how to keep it going at some point though , even if just for my basic in a few months:.) Di.
 

tony350i 

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I all ways use a smoker even when checking a apiary site with say 10 or 15 nucs in, I position the smoker in such a way that just a little smoke drifts across the top of the frames every now and then but doesn’t make the bees run and hide, but it is there if a very strong hive has a of day.

Tony
 

Skyhook 

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So yes, ordinary 1:1 sugar syrup if they start to fly up, the water spray they seem to enjoy on a hot day.

Just to confirm, Susbees- are you saying syrup on some occasions, plain water on others- or do you mean syrup on a hot day as well?
 

tazbee 

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Hi Skyhook

I don't use smoke, just 1:1 sugar water with a splash of vanilla extract, girls seem to like it, plus it smells nice.

Only took 2 stings last season, none this year, so far. bee-smillie


John D
 

Mike a 

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I find it varies between colonies.

TBH's no smoke - I think its because the nest heat is kept in, the colony barely reacts when I open to inspect. As I manoeuvre the bars back in place I some times need a fine mist spray of water but not always.

Nationals - depends on the size of the colony. If they are strong then a little smoke helps move the bees which otherwise would be crushed but one of my nationals needs a lot more than all the others as they are pretty feisty to say the least and not suitable for a novice as they are very defensive but hard workers and will draw new frames out much quicker than any other hives and have the highest yields. I wouldn't open this hive without smoke. :ack2:

I judge each hive on the day.
 

Poly Hive 

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A huge amount depends on location here.

Your weather is massively better on average Heather given your location compared to most of the UK so possibly not best placed to generalise from.

If a colony is calm then yes fine do not smoke. If they are liable to fly up and have a go then yes smoke.

The trick of course is knowing which is which. ;)

I light my smoker. Whiles I use it and whiles I don't but it is on stand by.

PH
 

susbees 

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So yes, ordinary 1:1 sugar syrup if they start to fly up, the water spray they seem to enjoy on a hot day.

Just to confirm, Susbees- are you saying syrup on some occasions, plain water on others- or do you mean syrup on a hot day as well?
Yep, water when it's hot and needed to keep them down at the same time. A light syrup spray at other times when it's needed (chilled bees is obviously not a good idea). Obviously spraying it all over the landing board wouldn't be great as it might encourage unwelcome attention from wasps etc, likewise avoid your gloves as one sure way to get stung is to have a panicking bee glued to your glove by honey or syrup.

Bees stay down better if you brush the frames with a goose feather rather than shaking them off but that's really only needed if you're moving a frame between hives or have layers of bees and are looking for that sneaky QC that'll lose you a prime swarm as soon as your back's turned ;). And always do your snottiest hive last....they really do seem to pass on their grouchiness a bit if you do them first.
 

SixFooter 

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I a colony that really objects to smoke and will get very worked up if I use the smoker. They are quite calm if I just use a water spray. I have another colony which doesnt react at all to water spray, but is easily controlled with smoke.
I use both because I was told to not use smoke on small colonies in nucs.
 

Heather 

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Seems only the English football players use smoke..... thought they were athletes.. Ah, No - I remember....:party:
 

MJBee 

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If I have a colony that objects to smoke I use a sprayer with water and a dash of cider vinegar.

Ive heard that they are bringing a new film out starring John Terry and Wayne Rooney it's called



wait for it





OUT OF AFRICA

sorry I'll get my coat
 

Oakbear 

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I haven't much experience, and my bees are nice and docile, but my observation is as follows:
Smoke = run and hide + some fly up and around, and can sound annoyed
Whereas...
Water and sugar = flying bees land and start cleaning.

Surely then the water is better if you have aggresive bees?

I had a guard buzzing around today (not bombing or anything, but sounded tetchy. Quick squirt, problem gone.
 

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