Using a mister instead of a smoker????

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jenny 

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Hi,
This is my first posting and it may sound like an odd question - we are working in the Gambia with rural beekeepers where one of the biggest problems is bush fires created by irresponsible use of fire. A Peace Corps leader has told us that they have used a fine mist from a house-hold sprayer to subdue the bees - has anyone any experience of such a thing? Thanks.
 

Somerford 

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yes - misted water spray on bees does subdue them, although I have no experience of using this technique on any other bees other than in the UK - no reason why they wouldn't react in the same way though !
 

oliver90owner 

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irresponsible use of fire

Never tried the liquid smoke available (but that is, presumably, not an option anyway). Sounds like you need some responsible beekeepers and there will be no problem!!

Probably a weak sugar solution might keep them busy for a little while.

Regards, RAB
 

victor meldrew 

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A water mist works fine, I've used it many a time , adding a few drops of lemon oil works even better. (DON'T MAKE THE MISTAKE OF USING CITRONELLA :ack2:)

John Wilkinson
 

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I know someone who puts a drop of cider vinegar in the water. Not sure how much, but very little.

They have brought in a law in I think Portugal that all smokers have to be fitted with an internal mesh to stop sparks being blown out of the end. This was after research found a significant number of fires were caused by beekeepers.
 

victor meldrew 

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I know someone who puts a drop of cider vinegar in the water. Not sure how much, but very little.

They have brought in a law in I think Portugal that all smokers have to be fitted with an internal mesh to stop sparks being blown out of the end. This was after research found a significant number of fires were caused by beekeepers.
A bunch of green grass has the same effect :) plus it produces cool white smoke !

John Wilkinson
 

RoofTops 

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Until it dries out, then it would make a good fire lighter.
 

Poly Hive 

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Household sprayer with very dilute syrup works a treat.

And no please do not take me to task for affecting the honey... far too dilute for that.

PH
 

jenny 

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thanks

thank you everyone, what a great forum:) - a few comments - if it works so well, why doesn't everyone do it? Does the fact that we are working with Kenyan topbar hives change things? The topbars all but up against each other, only leaving escape space where you remove individual bars. We have to operate at night as the African bee is more aggressive. The temperature rarely drops below 16 degrees c, day or night.

Thanks again
 

BKF Admin 

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Dont use chemical smoke!
I have about 200 packs of the stuff in a 60lb plastic bucket that I keep the lid on,the stuff stinks like the remains of a house fire,I really should throw them away.

I think the reason water is not used over smoke is because smoke is better,but water is better than nothing.
 

oliver90owner 

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The reason for using smoke: In natural surroundings, bees would generally live in trees. Trees burn in forest fires which would occur naturally. Smoke travels with the wind. Bees smell smoke and are alarmed to possibility of having to decamp or be frazzled, so gorge themselves on stores ready to do the houdini bit, to escape the advancing forest fire.

Bees full of honey are less likely to sting because they are gorged with honey and in survival mode - they are less likely to care about the remaining stores. A similar situation to a swarm. A bee stinging you is not helping the survival of the colony as it's honey store (small as it is) will be of no use if that bee is dead. Workers alwaysoperate for the benefit of the colony.

That is why one smokes the hive and waits a while (few minutes) before opening the hive.

When danger has passed, the honey will be re-deposited and life will go on as per the norm.

RAB
 

SixFooter 

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A first year beekeeper I know decided her bees were so "nice" she didnt need to use smoke. She read about using water in a mister and opted for this instead. She also decided that the suit and veil were unnecessary. Everything went well for several weeks and then on one of her inspections, for no apparent reason, the bees went ballistic. The mister didnt work at all and she was stung 9 times in quick succession. Needless to say, she now smokes the bees and wears a full suit.

Maybe if you have lots of experience or you just need a quick peek into the hive, then a water spray is OK. Otherwise, I think I'd stick to using a smoker.
 

victor meldrew 

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If the bees are so aggressive it has been suggested that the puffball fungi in a smoker will stun honeybees for a period . I've never tried it but then again I can afford to cull aggressive colonies :).

John Wilkinson.
Ps I've only had to do this twice in 25 years!
 

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Do you think the old queen had been superceded or worse lost?
Or maybe a flow had ended/weather changed,that would of caused the bees to turn nasty.

If you want to get stung then dont bother suiting up or lighting the smoker for a quick peek,9 times out of ten you may get away with it,but one day you will pay the price.
 

victor meldrew 

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Lots of reasons for bees to get stroppy (nature and all that) but it's usually a temporary thing if not then suspect the breeding . I don't mess about requeening as I feel sure the drones of the aggressive colony can spoil a supercedure in other colonies !.

John Wilkinson
 

SixFooter 

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I might try a mister next year, but I think I'll keep a smoker on hand wen I do.
 

Hombre 

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Jenny, out of interest, when operating at night, do you use white light, no light or red light?
 

Brosville 

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It's something much used amongst the "natural beekeeping brigade", and a fairly common mix is cider vinegar (50ml) to a litre of water, although other things like a few drops of peppermint oil can be used instead of the vinegar.
I use it, and have had no problems so far, but have always had a lit smoker to hand "just in case"........ the proponents suggest that it causes far less upset than smoke, and I've seen nothing to suggest otherwise.
(if you come to think of it, someone yelling "fire" is going to be more upsetting than the cry of "rain"):)
 

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It depends what kind of smoke you use. It gives much white smoke, it makes tar and bad odor inside the hive and honey.

I prefer blue, faint smoke .

I never use cones, needle or dry hay. Bees go into panic with that and tar glues the smoker tightly.

If the fire has burning beewax, it makes bees alarmed.
 

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