Bees and Smoke
From: T & M Weatherhead
Date: Sunday, 9 February 2003 5:15 PM
Whilst working my cell builders this morning, I got to thinking about smoke and bees. Bee-L has had a lot of discussion on what fuel to use in the smoker but why does it work?
I have heard the old story we tell young children of how smoke makes the bees think it is a bush fire and they gore honey, are full and cannot move properly and hence are quiet.
Most logical is that smoke disrupts the pheromone communication within the hive by the bees. But then we use all sorts of fuel in our smokers so it would seem that it does not matter what the source of the smoke is but that it is smoke. So can we use something that will stir the bees up enough so as to overcome the disruptive nature of the pheromone communication?
From: Peter Borst
Date: Monday, 10 February 2003 1:15 AM
Having worked with bees for almost 30 years, I have reached the following conslusion: Smoke intoxicates the honey bee. The symptoms appear very similar to alcohol intoxication in humans. Sure, it affects communication, but I think this is a secondary effect due to their fuzzied responses.
I think the primary effect is that it dulls their awareness, which accounts for the lack of defensive response — and lowers their inhibitions, which causes them to gorge on honey.
Normally the bees protect the hive and its honey stores with great vigilance, except when it’s very warm and they are on a serious honey flow. Then, they seem to be too concerned about their work too worry about anything else.
But what about drumming? I wonder how THAT works? (for anyone who does not know it, if you drum rhythmically on a hive they will eventually pour out of it)
Australia made. 4″ Diameter, stainless steel. Choice of sizes, Standard, Jumbo.